To my mother,
I love you so much. We have always been so close and have had such a good relationship over the years, but it seems now with Baby Girl’s arrival in this world, that has now changed. And I’m not totally sure I can clearly articulate or understand the reasons why.
I thought perhaps I should make clear to you some of the issues where misunderstandings have occurred – perhaps I am missing something? I don’t know. What I do know is that I miss our closeness, and I miss having you to rely on. You’re simply not available to help and assist with Baby Girl like I thought you would be. In fact, hubby and I used to joke that we’d have to hide and pretend we’re not home because we thought you’d practically move in with us. Alas, the opposite has happened. Yet, when my brother and his then wife had their kids, they used to sit outside drinking coffee and having a cigarette while you fed, bathed and put to bed their three children. I know that you say you didn’t have a choice, but you did. And yet, with Baby Girl, you resist feeding her, you resist bathing her – you come over for five minutes to play with her and then leave. How will that build a lasting relationship with her? I just don’t understand.
It is very important to me that you and Baby Girl have a good relationship. Perhaps because I didn’t have a good relationship with my only Granny that I knew – she always saw me as the black sheep of the family. And I know the yearning I had for a Granny I could turn to. Is it asking too much for you to be part of Baby Girl’s life so that she can have what I feel like I missed out on?
I know that you think I just say the opposite of what you want to do to be difficult, but that isn’t even close to the truth. I thought I’d cite some examples:
Yesterday, you took Baby Girl’s shirt off because it was so hot. I didn’t say anything because I actually didn’t have the energy for another confrontation with you. And I am glad that when Hubby got home, he did say something. You see, Baby Girl has been chesty for a while now and we don’t want her running around without a shirt on. I’m not saying this against what you want to do, but because it is the best for Baby Girl.
You keep taking her dummy and taggy away from her – seriously, she is only 20 months old. If it offers her some sort of comfort, both Hubby and I are actually quite pleased for her to have it. If by the time she turns three or four, she still has it, well, we will do something about it then. I know you don’t agree, but she is ONLY 20 months old – she too young to have your comfort taken away from her like that.
When you do come over, you immediately open every single window and door in our house, because you’re hot. But, the thing is this – we have the doors closed because I like to feed Baby Girl BEFORE she goes out to play. Once she has had her supper, she can play outside for three hours for all I care (well, okay, maybe not quite, but at least until bath time). If she goes outside before she’s eaten, we have a screaming match to get her inside again. Yes, I know I am the mommy, but I really don’t want to face a screaming match everyday to feed her. Its easier for me this way. Is it really that difficult to wait half an hour or so, just so that I can feed her and then open the sliding door?
I know that the cleanliness of our house is not up to your standard – you keep reminding us of that all the time. Here’s the thing – we will always have dogs and they will always be part of the family and will always be allowed inside. I think it is extremely healthy for kids to grow up with animals. And whilst I know you don’t approve, this just simply isn’t going to change.
You keep saying “I know you guys like to do things your way, but when I was raising my kids I did this and this”. Here’s the thing – I will never do things your way. Why? Well, because simply I am not you. I cannot think like you or work like you, just like you cannot think like me or work like me. We are two unique individuals and I have to raise Baby Girl in a way that works for me. I know that you suggested to Hubby that we put the mattress down in front of the TV on a Saturday afternoon for Baby Girl to take her nap, because that is what you used to do. But, the thing is this – Baby Girl will nap for maybe 30 minutes and I seriously don’t want her watching that much TV or get into the habit of falling asleep in front of the TV. If I put Baby Girl in her cot, she’ll nap for an hour or two, and wake up ready to face the rest of the day and play with her toys. Once again, why is this even an issue?
I discussed via Skype a little while ago about getting a professional baby sitter in – your response really surprised me. I did not expect a simple “okay”. And yes, I know you live a full life and I know it is unfair to expect one person to handle all our baby sitting requirements, so from that point of view, it’s probably a good idea to get someone in that we can trust to help with Baby Girl.
But, it has been incredibly unfair on me. You refuse to come while Baby Girl is still awake or to help feed and bath her and put her down. The result is that I have to do everything, plus still get ready and still try be on time for whatever function we’re going to. A little while ago, we were invited to a restaurant to celebrate a friend’s 40th. You didn’t want us to go when the invite stated, because you wanted me to put Baby Girl down first. The result was that Hubby and I were almost 45 minutes late with everyone waiting for us before the first course could be served? Why – what is the issue with helping with Baby Girl so that I can get ready and be on time for an event we’ve been invited to? Seriously, we go out perhaps twice a month at the most – this is not an every weekend thing that we want you to look after Baby Girl. Once again, am I missing something here? I just don’t understand.
Is it too much to ask for you to support me in raising my one and only little girl – even if you don’t agree? Is it too much to ask that you help me have a little bit of a social life and enjoy some time with Hubby when you’ve agreed to baby sit? I absolutely freak out at the idea of having a stranger look after Baby Girl, but what choice to we have? On Saturday night, we were over an hour late for our function, because you didn’t want to feed or bath Baby Girl – in fact, you only arrived after she had gone down. Then I still had to get ready and still try make it on time. I know that you said it was stupid to have a dinner at 18:30 but I don’t agree. We’re being invited out – it’s not up to us to dictate what time someone else must hold their function. So, perhaps a stranger looking after Baby Girl will help – someone who could feed and bath, while I get ready, someone who could help put her down so Hubby and I can be on time and actually enjoy a stress-free time away.
I know you keep saying that you raised your three children on your own, but you actually didn’t, did you? You worked morning’s only for the first part, had a live-in nanny that worked for you three days a week and your mother was around and living with us to help. And while I don’t want to compare because each situation is so very different, Hubby and I are really battling financially at the moment. We can’t afford a nanny, in fact, we can barely afford Baby Girl’s school fees, never mind the potty she needs or the bedside bars to get her into a big bed. We’re working around the clock to try make additional income and we have no support.
I really had hoped things would be different, but remember, no matter what happens or has happened, or whatever confusion or misunderstandings there may be, I love you very, very much. I really do.
The Baby Mama