Thursday, December 10, 2009

I mean well.. but..

Oohh, I feel as if I could curl up in a corner and die. When will I realize that I really can't get so involved in my "childrens" lives. It's no good, I start out with the best of intentions, and then I get carried away. I think I really can help and try to put things right if possible, and then I find myself in the wrong again. And actually, that's spot on. Why should I think I know best in any situation? I haven't had much success with relationships after all: married twice and divorced twice, who's going to take relationship advice from me? I've just got to let them get on with their own lives and get on with mine - but that's a big part of my problem. I have always put my children, and their needs, first. I didn't see that as wrong, and in the circumstances in which I found myself, it was the safest route really. And of course it brought rewards in that we had a very close family unit, just the three of us. That's fine as far as it goes, but it's not exactly a template for a balanced family life is it? What they had was a very devoted single mother, who was immensely proud of them and supported them in everything. OK, but I worry that it has meant that they don't have a model to follow in their adult relationships. That is a debate that could go on forever of course, and I guess that many people have far worse disadvantages to overcome.

I know that we all have our crosses to bear. Mine, at the moment, is that I feel sick and unhappy because I have caused both of my children a certain degree of unhappiness, simply by thinking that I know what's best. I need to either get on with supporting them in a way that's not intrusive, or get out and get on with my own life. Or, better still, find a healthy balance between the two. My Daughter has made her own choice of partner. She is happy with this, and it's not my place to interfere. My Son has a busy life and is fiercely protective of his private life. He doesn't really need me either. It really is taking me a long old time to get used to that state of affairs. If they have problems, I always think it's my job to try and solve them. But what I may see as concern and support, they see as intereference. The fact that everything I say, do or feel is motivated by wanting the best for them, isn't good enough, in fact that's mostly the problem. "Butt out" is what I should do. It hurts, of course, but that's what I have to do. And stop being so pathetic about it.

So, enough of the soul-searching for one night. What else have I been doing? Well, I've done more gardening for my Therapist. Luckily it was a perfect day on Tuesday, and I managed four hours work - two hours digging and the rest planting bulbs. I must say that I couldn't move afterwards, and came back home to a lovely hot bath which helped to soak and soothe the aching muscles. Then yesterday I went up to London to see Rufus Wainwright at the Royal Albert Hall. First of all I caught the bus from Victoria to Peter Jones, my favourite store. It's a very Christmas heaven at the moment, with glorious decorations hanging down through the central stairwell, and strings of lights decorating the restaurant windows. There was a very elegant lady playing Christmas music on a harp, and the displays were wonderful. I spent a couple of happy hours there, choosing what I would buy for everyone, in my dreams!

Then I took another bus up to the Albert Hall, meeting one of my London BFs there. We had a quick slurp of wine and then sat down to Rufus Wainwright and family in their Christmas Concert - lovely. It was nice to see the rest of the Wainwright family (Martha Wainwright, his sister, and Kate McGarrigle, his mother) and friends, but personally I could have done with more of Rufus. He is so extraordinary and has a magical voice coupled with great talent and a wicked sense of humour. It's a fabulous combination.

Finally, thanks to my BFs best friend, I had a lift to Victoria after the concert, and so was home and tucked up in my bed by 12.30. Busy, busy, busybody, that's me!


aims said...

I don't know if what you describes just comes with motherhood because I've been told I can't help everybody or take on their problems and to butt out.

But you're right. It hurts. And it is terribly frustrating when you know you could help or that in fact you are right and you know they are going to screw it up when they don't have to if they just listened to you.

The answer lies in keeping yourself so busy that you don't have time to notice their problems. Only when asked.

Hard one to do I know but people often need to learn the hard way. All of us do I guess.

auntiegwen said...

I send my empathy as I am exactly the same, no one knows what they need except me. I know that as they live with me they accept it but in the next decade they will move out and grow up but my default setting is mummy knows best and like you, I will find it hard to let them get on with it. x

Donna said...

tap....tap...tap....(my foot)LOL...
You know what to do, it's just Doing it...
Travel to Egypt's deserts...Ride the Orient Express...have an Adventure!!
I would SO BE DOING THESE THINGS...if I could!

Expat mum said...

My mother tends to do this and it often causes squabbles. Why don't you tell them you're sorry (which you clearly are) and then do as you say you should - try to learn to butt out. I can't imagine your situation as mine are all still at home and one is very little but it sounds hard.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Dear aims, your wisdom shines through, as always, and it would seem you're right in that it's not just confined to mothers!! I'm going to keep in mind your advice "only when asked" - that's the best way forward, I think. Thank you, and love M xxx

Dear auntie gwen, oh it is so hard, but essential it seems. The hardest part is owning up to the fact that they don't need you to solve their problems.. Love as always, M xxx

Dear Donna, I'm laughing as I read your comments, because you have been saying this all along! You're a wise old bird, as we say over here. Ha ha. I'll get the hang of it in the next couple of years, I expect! Hugs and love M xx

Dear Expat Mum - more good advice, and I'm quite proud to say that I did just that before even reading your comments - it was the only way to stop feeling sick and worried about it. I've also just had them all here for the weekend, and it was fine! Ho hum.. Love, M xx

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I've often been guilty of telling my mum to "stop worrying about it" when I know underneath that she's just trying to help. I love her so much and would hate to think I had hurt her feelings. I am sure your children don't want to hurt yours either. I'm sorry, I'm no help at all am I.

I know you're a lovely, kind person, and I also know you care. As I do about you.
CJ xx

Donna said...

If you get an email that says I'm in London and needing to have money sent to be so I can get home, don't worry...I've been hacked!!! Just trash it!!!

Rob Clack said...

The whole tone of your post tells me you know exactly what to do, just that it's really difficult. I can't really relate, having never had any kids, but I think I understand. As an outsider, I think I just have to say "Grind your teeth and get on with it. You have to let them learn their own lessons."

Not easy, I know.

Donna said...

Happy New Year!!! hughugs

Lexy said...

I don't know if any mother ever learns to leave well enough alone. We are worriers, most of us, by design. Especially when it comes to our children.

As they say, you can lead a horse to water... But EVEN that horses mother can't make them drink.
All we can do is equip them with the knowledge it takes to make good decisions, and hope with all our hearts that they use it!