Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Mom to Mother Dynamic

I was thrilled to become a mom, well underneath the fear of the unknown. I knew it would be a life changing experience in ways I couldn't even imagine. What I didn't expect was how becoming a mom would change my relationship with my Mother.

Here's a little back story. I had a pretty normal middle-class childhood. No overly traumatic experiences, (unless I've blocked them out) and my parents genuinely cared about me. Overall I was a pretty good kid. However, I would not consider my relationship with my parents to be close. I look more like my mom, but I am probably more like my dad. Both of us are chocoholics, cheap thrifty, sarcastic, cynical, and sing and hum to ourselves. My Mother, on the other hand, is the odd one out in the family. She is ditzy and forgetful, emotional, and sometimes spiteful. We get along fine (though living together again has tested this) but we are very different in our personalities, priorities, and views on life. I avoid in depth conversations with her, because they never end up anywhere good since we differ on things so much. I think you get the picture.

Then The First Mate was born. For the first time I became a mom and my Mother became a Grandmother. I suppose, for some, this would be a time to bond more closely with the woman who raised you from a little baby. It seemed that all it did was magnify the polarity of our views on motherhood and child-rearing. I find myself judging her for every parenting decision she had made. I blame my inability to fall asleep as an adult on the fact that as a baby, I was repeatedly left to cry until I vomited. My poor eating habits and weight get blamed on the fact that she rarely cooked and often chose a quick meal instead. I have analyzed every childhood story I know and thought about how I would make another decision for my child. I feel almost competitive with her about my son. It is as if I want to prove her wrong and that I will do a better job. This is kind of a funny thought when you realize the "job" she did turned into me. Even her formerly endearing qualities of being a ditzy blonde have now turned into a reason she isn't suited to watch The First Mate.

Rivalry by Christian Paparcuri CC by 2.0

On my Mother's end she is just as competitive. She wants my son to favor her over me and even said so out loud. She insists on holding him even if he cries to get down or be held by someone else. My Mother teaches him bad habits and ignores my notes when I leave him in her care. She undermines my parenting decisions often and it seems as though she is determined to win in the parenting game.

As part of my New Years resolutions I want to be more positive. I would love to let all of this go, but that is easier said than done. Seeing as I wasn't prepared for this mother to mother "rivalry" I don't really know how to end it. Not to mention we have all been cooped up in the same house for 4 months, so tensions are running high. Your advice is welcome.

Have you noticed a change in your relationship with your parents after becoming a parent yourself?

How did you "get over it"?

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