I am not like the mother I had.
I remember a little girl.
A girl who would pretend to be sleeping while her drunken mom would assault her with awful verbal abuse. “Wake up you little bitch. Get the f*ck out of my house, “ her mom would say.
I remember how strong she was.
Lying under her blankets remaining silent. Choking back the tears, not from fear, but sadness. Hoping that this night her mom would finish her verbal attack and pass out, but it rarely ended that way.
Instead, that little girl's mother would rip the blankets off her, kick her to wake her up and then begin the physical assault.
This was my childhood.
Though I was beaten daily and crushed with verbal hate, I somehow managed to have a positive outlook on life. Always kind and loyal to others, but I was also quick to react. I would yell when mad, even push boyfriends…and then I would beat myself up.
“There she is! That was my mom coming out in me!”
I went on to do my best to be nothing like my mother. I married someone and over the 4 years we were together our relationship began to fall apart. I tried to maintain communication and strengthen our relationship. That was until our separation. I was angry and incentive. Screaming and yelling.
And there she was once again! There was my mom coming out in me! Leading the charge in one ugly divorce.
When I met my husband I knew immediately that this was what a healthy relationship was supposed to be like. (6 years later and still going strong ya’ll) We knew that we wanted to start a family soon. And that’s what we did. Five months after getting married we were pregnant! I was happy but scared.
What if I became a mother like the one I had?
As an adult, I still had a codependent relationship with my mother and continued to help her financially but would rarely see her outside of that.
When I was six months pregnant with my first son I called her to wish her happy birthday. She was expecting gifts and when realized there were none she went on a verbal attack declaring that she “should have had an abortion.”
Don’t be shocked. That was not the first time I heard that I should have been aborted.
But hearing it while pregnant hurt SO MUCH. Maybe it was the hormones. Maybe it was because I loved someone I never met so much and didn’t understand how she couldn’t love me with an ounce of this maternal love.
Then those old thoughts came back…
What if I became a bad mom like my mother?
Three years later and I’m here to say that just because I had a bad mom does not mean that I am one.
Many people say that those who have been abused continue the cycle. Bad parents make bad children and those children become bad parents. And well maybe that is true in some cases. It was for my mother. But it does not have to be every person's story.
Do I yell at my kids? Well, yeah. I’ve even spanked.
But I am nothing like my mother.
My son has never wondered if he was loved or not. He has never been beaten out of anger or had his character crushed by his mother.
My sons are loved immensely and protected fiercely.
I have given them everything that I never had and always wanted: love.
So maybe you are pregnant with your first child or you just had your first baby and the postpartum hormones have you questioning your abilities to parent. Fear is creeping in and the question, “Will I be a bad mom like my own” begins to linger in your thoughts.
I’m here to remind you that you won’t. You may raise your voice or even your hand at your child. All parents will, but you can be nothing like your mother and everything for your children.