Sunday, February 24, 2008

Frustrations and triumphs

It was one of those kinds of days yesterday. I'm a little concerned because my mother is on my last nerve. As you might remember, my kids and I share a home with my parents. It's a large home, so that everyone has their own "wing." My folks have their first-floor living space and the kids and I have the upper floor. We share common areas, like a den, kitchen, and laundry room.

Generally, they stay out of my way as a parent. Lately, though, the controlling nature that dominated my childhood and my early adulthood has been showing its ugly face. Like yesterday.

We had housework to do. The kids' rooms had reached ridiculous levels of disarray. I needed to do some mail shredding. Anti-identity theft, you know. I also still have some moving boxes to unpack. I know, I know...I'm so bad about that....

But that was in our domain. As the kids were beginning to stir, so did my mother. "Granddaughter," she said. "Why don't I come up and help you clean your room?" All three of us know the sub-speak in that question. "Why don't I come up and reorganize it how I'm sure it should be?"

My daughter said, no, she could do it herself. But thanks.

"Grandson," my mother said. "Why don't I help clean your room?" Again, no, thanks.

And I knew it was coming.... "Daughter," she said. "Why don't I unpack those boxes in your room?" I had a brief nightmare image of my mother deciding what went where in my living space.

"No, Mom," I said. "I'll handle it."

"But they've been there too long." It should be noted here that this is my private space. No one else comes in contact with my space. It's mine.

"Mom, I'll handle it. It's my space and I'll decide what to do with them."

Oh, I'd done it. The martyr mask came up, and she uttered the line that I'm sure will be her epitaph. "I was only trying to help."

The thing is that it's not that simple. She doesn't want to help. She wants to take over. As a mom, I have lots of people I deal with at the kids' schools. Lately, my mother has taken it upon herself to not only be my talking "To Do" list, but she also feels the need to tell me each word I should say when communicating with these people. "You need to tell them....."

To which I say, "Mom, I know how to handle it."

But I really think she believes that no one else can do it without her telling them how. Her blood pressure would be so much lower if she wouldn't take other people's lives on as her responsibility. It's not even like she has a reason to do this with me. I'm the child who handles things, and well. My sister is the one with the trainwreck, but she lives two states away.

Oh, I knew I was in for a difficult day. With the comment about the boxes, I knew we were in Control and Criticize Mode. Soon enough, it made a full appearance.

"You know, last summer you gave Son too much freedom. He could have gotten into trouble. You can't do that again this summer. What are you going to do to keep him from having that much freedom?"

"I can't be here all day, every day. I can't monitor his every move, Mom. He'll be nearly seventeen years old."

"So you'll do nothing? He can just do whatever he wants? Whenever? With anyone?"

"I didn't say that." But this is the crux of the problem. She wants me to lay out all of my thoughts and plans as a parent, for her assessment and approval. I refuse to do that. I am the mom here. It drives her nuts.

That night, my son goes to the movies with his girlfriend, some friends, and girlfriend's mother. "How do you know the mother is with them?" mine asked. "We should go drive the theater parking lot and see if her car is there."

I had a momentary flashback. College. I was going to a recital at the Music department. As I looked for a parking place, I saw them. My parents. They were cruising the lot, too, but not for a parking space. They were looking for my car, to see if I was really going to the recital.

I was in college!

Instead, I took my mother and daughter to the mall. We went clothes shopping at a store we'd never visited before. They had a lot of styles that were very My Mother. She was delighted! Thank God!

She was a little crestfallen when I didn't want to try on the items that didn't work on her. My style is a little more....colorful. She likes "country" colors, and elementary-school-teacher styles. I like brightness and funk, that translate well in a professional setting or out on a date.

I found some adorable tops. Mom gave me a pinched look over one of them, thinking it was too low cut. It's actually a higher neckline than what I was wearing the day before....not that I'm big on showing cleavage at all. I like a guy to look at my face when he's talking to me.

But here's the big thing I got from the shopping trip. Everything that fit me was a size smaller than the last time I shopped.

How stoked am I over that?! You can't imagine!

All became right with the world.


Krissie said...

Sorry, it's all I can think about...

Sgt said...

Again... size does matter!

Blogget Jones said...

Krissie: Yes! WOO HOO!!

Sgt: Yes...and this time, smaller is better ;o)

Pixie said...

one of the pleasures I get from coming over to the States is the sizing is so different, and the joy I get at buying size 8 levi's knows no bounds!!!
So well done you.

Mum's they're awkward critters, at least that's the most polite version from my sons mouth!!!

Blogget Jones said...

So, if I go over there, I'll get larger? Oh no!!

And that's hilarious from your son! Mine would certainly agree.

And thank you :o)