I met with my psychologist yesterday. As usual, she seems concerned about me. It cracks me up, in a macabre way, that a few months ago, she was praising my progress. Lately, she keeps asking me “What has changed?” I spent most of my time, yesterday, talking about my struggles as a Mom. She noted that my kids know exactly how to override me.
I realized that my guilt continues to be a struggle. It is infuriating to me that I can understand myself so well, yet change is so slow in process. She even noted that their lives as they are now, gives them drive, passion, creativity, because they have something to overcome. What mother, though, can be happy about the struggles I’ve given to my children? Even from a hereditary standpoint, I’ve “given” my children mental illness?
Ahh, those words. We come back to my core beliefs. “I am Crazy” and “I am Worthless” and “I am not worthy of love” I guess, too, while we’re at it “I am Fat” I realized a few days ago, that I am once again filling a hole-y cup. As long as those core beliefs exist, I will struggle, and I predict I will struggle as a Mother. My kids do not respect me right now. They trample over the rules, they argue, they say hateful things, and so on. They are, in so many ways, 3 versions of me. My psychologist pointed out, though, that she thinks they manifest the things that upset me most.
This point has been turning in my brain since I left her office. It had me so troubled; I ended up sleeping most of the day. When the kids came home, I decided we should go to a park. It seems like I can only think fruitfully if I am wandering around staring at the sky and birds. I have always understood love. To me, love is a contract that you make with people – subject to renewal, modification, etc. The contract itself remains unchanged, but life will modify it as needed. To me, love is a constant, people are the variable. I’ve said so many times, “Love is not currency. It’s not mine to give or take. Love just is.” I’ve accepted, to me, that when I love someone, it will never go away – the volume may increase or decrease, but it’s always here. Love is the contract, the terms and conditions are the relationship. The contract never goes away.
When I was first married, our rule was so simple, it baffles me how it was forgotten. “Do not go to bed angry” We would stay up until all hours until our issues were resolved, and we’d cuddle up to each other after a round of glorious make up sex, and snooze. I think, in many ways, having kids took that ability away, because a 6AM wake up is no fun when you’ve been up talking until 2AM. As we started to go to bed angry every night, we’d wake up angry, and the fight never ended.
Love is my trigger. When you are a person who gives all or nothing, love is not a game. Love is not a four letter word. The scariest 3 words I can say are “I love you”, because every time I have, empirically speaking, they come back to bite me in the ass. That is what my core beliefs dictate. If I believe that I cannot be loved, of course I cannot be loved. My ex boyfriend drove me crazy. I have never lost my mind as I did with him. He never once told me he loved me; paradoxically, I have never felt so much love towards a person, except my kids. I am not surprised that my kids are acting as they are, because they need to understand love; it is my job to teach them. I also need to follow my own rules and self love is the most important form of love.
Everything began changing for me when my ex stopped speaking to me. Until dating him, I generally thought I was fine. Now, though, I look around and all I see is unrest. I’m not surprised, because all I feel is unrest. I have become like him. I have drowned in the ocean and lost my sense of self. It’s insane; I haven’t spoken to him in months. There was a time this realization pained me, but now I think it’s fascinating. Unrequited love made me lose myself completely. If I do not know who I am, then could I not be anything? Does it not afford me the opportunity to forget my core beliefs? I don’t believe I am crazy, I don’t believe I am weak, I don’t believe I am fat, and I know for a fact I am worthy of love – as long as I continue to stay in the right kind of love.
Last night, I sent my daughter to bed for refusing to do her homework, and I put myself in bed to relax and calm myself. She came to me and started arguing, and I calmly pointed out her illogic. Ultimately, the mountain of me versus the mountain of her met a valley of calm. She went and did her homework. I allowed her to write her book. This sounds like parenting 101, I’m sure, but internally, for me, I was wrought with “I’m the worst mother ever!” As my son screamed “you hate me”, I wanted to argue with him and profess my love. Last night, I didn’t accept this nonsense. I have to accept nothing less than respect. They need to see that I will not clean up all of their messes, nor will I be their slave. My life does not revolve around them, even if my purpose is to raise them. I will not tolerate a love that hurts from anyone – including the three most precious people in my world.
As my mind argued with me while I meditated quietly, I realized tough love is absolutely a form of love, and it is one that I have to adopt. When my ex stopped talking to me, I realized that I had pushed things too far, and I sought change. I told the kids that me doing fun things with them will only persist if the behavior changes. Perfection does not exist, but their treatment of me lately is unacceptable. I am not upset with them; I am upset with myself for allowing it to get to this point.
My oldest said last night, “Mom, I love you.”
“I love you too baby”
“We’re like weights on you, Mom. You are really strong.”
“You are right. I just think you need to remember there is only one of me.”
“I’m trying Mom, I know you hate it when I scream at you.”
“I love you, Baby. Get your homework done.”
The sun came up today, so it’s a new day. Every day gives me the chance to change everything. Every day is a chance to overwrite old bullshit that makes me miserable. Every day is a calling to seize my life, own my shortcomings, and transform. If I cannot be love, I will never receive love. Sometimes, love has to be tough, and I am very, very, very good at being tough. I am also a very, very, very, very good Mom, and I always have been.