Mum and Me: changing roles when a baby is born
As I was driving home from my parents yesterday, I was thinking back about my relationship with my Mum. I thought about all the times I had taken her for granted, had been annoyed with her, had said horrible things to her, when I was a child and a terrible teenager. My Mum has always been there for me despite all of these things. And now I have my little girl, I am thinking about all of these things that I will have to experience too. I will need to be prepared for my little girl to love me, hate me, make fun of me, be annoyed at me. It is only now I can appreciate my Mum, and everything she has ever done for me. I feel terribly guilty that I used to be so blase, that I used to treat my Mum so indifferently. When I was pregnant, my Mum was very excited, too excited some may say, and it really, really annoyed me. I know I upset my Mum at this time, and I now feel very bad about it indeed. The fact was I was too scared something would go wrong to enjoy my pregnancy the way my Mum wanted to, and I took it out on her. Despite all of these things, My Mum is always there at the end of the phone, and would come and see me whatever time of the day, if I really needed her. She is a great support to me.
Throughout my life, there have been things that have happened in my family, like all families, and we have our ups and downs, fallouts and make-ups, mistakes made and repercussions faced. Some of these things over the years I have found hard to let go and forget. I held onto some things for so long, and felt so bitter about them, that one day I wondered why I was doing this. I love my Mum and Dad, and we have a very good relationship nowadays. I think a part of growing up is learning to accept people’s faults, and not holding it against them forever. I still have a few things I think I need to let go, but I am working on this. However I realise this is the past, and I don’t let this cloud the way I feel about certain people now and in the future. I certainly wouldn’t let it affect their relationship with Nancy, for example.
I think it takes a long time to realise your parents are not infallible, they don’t know everything and they are figuring it out as they go along, just as you are.
I have also been thinking of my little girl’s relationship with my parents. This is the week of the 2 year anniversary of my Nan’s death, and it made me think of how I think about my Nan (someone I adored, and loved, and was very close to). Nancy will think this way of my parents, I hope. I hope they have the same close bond that I had with my Nan and Grandad. My parents have made mistakes, they have done strange things, there have been highs and lows in my life and my relationship with them – but none of that will matter to Nancy. She will love them for who they are today, she is not burdened with the knowledge of the past, as I wasn’t with my grandparents. My Mum and Dad adore Nancy, and they are falling over themselves to do things for her, to make her smile, to be the grandparents. They live an hour away from me, and so I have been going down there to stay for a bit so that they can get to know Nancy. To start with, when Nancy was born, I felt like they should come to me, and I waited for them to come, and wouldn’t go down to them. They visited a few times, and I was pleased about this. Hopefully they will visit us again soon, but my Mum is not well, and can’t travel well due to mobility issues, and so in the end I went down to them. It wasn’t fair to hold them to ransom like that. My Mum and Dad, are my Mum and Dad, and they may not be very good at visiting me, but if I go down to them, they are very happy, and Nancy gets to see them, and build a relationship with them. I can’t stop that from happening just because we live apart.
A friend once told me that your relationship with a Grandparent is very different to that of a parent, the issues you have with parents are removed, and you have a relationship of conspiratorially eating of chocolates, staying up late, watching things on TV that your Mum would never let you. It’s a relationship free from the stresses and strains of parenthood. In my eyes, my Nan could do no wrong. She was a confidante, a conspirator, and most importantly, a friend. I know my Mum probably had a very different relationship with her, especially growing up. I know my Mum will be the same as my Nan was to me, and I will do all I can to support her, and Nancy, to have this, despite the distance between us.
For me, I realise my Mum has sacrificed a lot for me, put up with a lot from me, and relies on me as a daughter and as a friend. I love her more now I see what she sacrificed for me, now I am a Mum too. All the things I scoffed at, and pooh-poohed, and dismissed, I now realise she was right. All the things she instinctively knew and I used to scowl at her for knowing, all the times I ignored her advice, or just got annoyed at her. And I want to say now that Mum, I am sorry I did that to you. But you knew that I would, and you knew I would realise this in the end. Because that’s what Mums do. x