The imperfect mother

It can’t be easy being a parent. I’m a quasi step parent (we don’t like the term in our house and I haven’t found a decent replacement term) and that’s very hard, but perhaps often for different reasons to being a parent. (A subject for another time…)

I think we’re often hardest on our mothers. We expect so much from them. Mothers and non-mothers alike expect so much from mothers.

Last night when tending to one of my charges, she said to me in a very quiet voice ‘I miss Mum’. It has been nearly two weeks since she has seen her Mum but it made me think of a much deeper ‘missing’.

I remembered very clearly a time when I was about seven or eight when I decided my actual mother had been replaced by an alien.

No, I don’t think I was reading science fiction at the time.

In fact, I think it must have come about the time when her attention for me changed, lapsed. I’m guessing it was about the time my brother was first hospitalised as a baby for serious asthma and her focus and care shifted in her desperation and worry.

Sadly, I don’t believe I ever got her attention back in the same way I had it before I was about seven years old. She changed irrevocably as a woman, as a wife and as a mother because of my brother’s ongoing sicknesses.

However, I’ve looked into all of this in my adult years in therapy and I can live with it now. I still get annoyed and frustrated but I can live with her limitations most of the time.

But now I have three children in my life whose natural mother is perhaps not fulfilling her children’s needs. And it’s reminding me what it felt like.

And not for the first time I’m wondering if the universe has placed me here in this family for a reason other than I met and fell in love with their father?

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2 responses to “The imperfect mother

  1. Mothering isn’t an easy road, but your tenderness and sensitivity will guide you. Best wishes from a fellow traveler.

  2. Thank you again Rachael for your always sensitively chosen words. They are appreciated!

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