Hang On, This Is Gonna Be Bad

Posted on February 11th, 2010 in Emotional Angst, Featured, Polyamory, Three's Company


My mother has been threatening…err, talking about coming out for a visit for several months now, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised when she phoned me last night to let me know that she was booking a flight.

A flight for next Wednesday.

And she’s not going home until the Wednesday after that.

A whole week.

With my mother.

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry or just get so terribly drunk that I no longer care.

She knows that Aiden is living here by the way, under the guise of being our roommate of course.  Fortunately this does not seem particularly unusual to anyone, as we had V living with us for an entire year.  Everyone in my family (except my mum of course) thinks that it’s lovely that we have someone renting a room here, because they aren’t judgmental old fusspots.

It’s also fortunate I suppose that she’s coming during a time when we didn’t have anything special planned.

Less fortunately…well, there’s the fact that for an entire week Aiden and I are going to have to act as though we are merely acquaintances.  Any affection towards him on my part (or vice versa) will only serve to earn me a prolonged lecture on the finer points of behaving “properly”, and further fuel her feelings of utter failure as a parent.  That might not bother me so much if she didn’t channel all of that negativity into criticizing me, or my friends, or my parenting, or my choice of toilet paper.  If she can find fault with something, she is quick to point it out, with little to no regard for the feelings of others.

In a way, I am kind of excited for Aiden to meet one of my parents.   I just wish she wasn’t so…disapproving.  Of EVERYTHING!

When I told her that one of our friends had moved in, she got that tone.  The tone that she gets when she wants to convey to me (or anyone else) that she disagrees and STRONGLY DISAPPROVES of whatever it is I might be doing or saying, or even thinking about doing.

Then she remarked, in that tone, that having other people living here makes it hard for her to come and visit, because it’s uncomfortable.



Really, mother?  So we should never have people live here, because their presence offends you for the one week of the year that you darken our doorway?  How dare we be so inconsiderate of your comfort, to allow a NON-RELATIVE to stay under our roof.  The shame of it!

That’s exactly her attitude, and I’m not even using caps lock unnecessarily.  In fact, it is so necessary for me to talk VERY LOUDLY about my mother, that I debated writing this whole post in caps, just so that you could appreciate the magnitude of what I am dealing with here.

This is my mother, except minus all the cute.  And ramp up the disapproval about 700 notches.

Last night, after the phone call, Aiden and I were in the shower together, discussing the upcoming invasion…err, visit.

“Everybody got a good mother, except for me” I complained, resting my cheek against his chest.

I know it’s not true, but some days it seems like it.  V has a great mother, and so does Jack, and Aiden, and Nia, and most of the other people I know.  While I realize that none of them get along with their mothers 100% of the time, it does seem to me that in their adult years they have at least found a way to exist comfortably with one another.

My mother and I exist comfortably when she is 2,000 miles away.

I love my mum, honest I do.  I truly believe that she did the best she knew how when raising us, and that she went above and beyond the normal level of parental sacrifice to give us everything we needed, and often everything we wanted as well.  Some days she’s wonderful, and I greatly enjoy her company during those times.

I just wish she would understand that I am my own person, not a younger version of herself.  I think she knows it, but she doesn’t like or accept it.  She is so much like her own mother, and I am nothing like either of them, which makes her crazy.  She also hates that she and I are not best friends, but it’s impossible to have that level of trust with her because if she’s not criticizing whatever I happen to be sharing with her, she’s repeating everything I might tell her to the rest of our family!  She’s a terrible gossip, it’s one of her favorite past times.  Nothing is sacred if it’s uttered in her presence.  I’m sure that at least part of the reason she’s coming out here, is to find out who this person is who moved in with us, so that she can go back to Alberta and tell everyone else what she thinks about our living arrangements and choice of roommate.

During our brief exchange last night I mentioned that last time she was here, she seemed unhappy, which she immediately blamed on V.  Nothing is ever HER fault by the way.  Accountability?  Unheard of.

According to her, V was critical of the way she did things with the kids, and didn’t give us five minutes alone to visit.  Meanwhile, V spent most of her time in the basement, and only joined us for ONE outing the entire week that my mother was here.  She was NOT critical of the way my mother did things with the kids, and merely attempted to explain to my mother that we have certain routines and methods of doing things.  V was friendly and respectful about it, but since we don’t do things her way, she was deeply offended.  Sadly, my mum has disliked V since we were young, over an insignificant incident that occurred when we were merely 18.

Have I mentioned that my mother likes to hold a grudge?  FOREVER!?!?!?

V merely supported me during my application to obtain information on my birth parents (and joined me for the subsequent first meeting I had with my biological mother).  I didn’t involve my mum in the process at all, because I was an adult and felt that I needed to do this more or less on my own.  I doubt she will ever get over being excluded from it all, but rather than talk to me about it or place the blame where it belongs, she decided that it was all V’s fault and hasn’t cared for her since.

Over ten years and she hasn’t let it go, and she told me as much two summers ago when V was preparing to move out here.

She really loathes that I don’t include her in all major life decisions by the way.  She gets pissed off when she doesn’t get to decide how long we stay during the summer, or during which month we come to visit.  She hates that we decided to move out here without consulting her, and complains to my aunts that she “never would have done that to her kids or to her family”.  The list of things I’ve done that she disagrees with is loooooooong, but that should give you the gist of my most recent failings.

I could put up with most of those things, and even her personal attacks on my for my weight or tattoos or choice of hair style, if it were not for the fact that she seems to have a huge problem with Jack.

She is pleasant enough to his face, but as I live in a family full of gossips, I am privy to the things she says about him behind my back.

Like V, Jack did something that made her feel slighted, and she has never gotten over it.  This happened almost eight years ago of course, right after the birth of our first child.  She had come to stay with us when we brought Luke home, and being the overbearing bossy-pants that she is, she proceeded to try to railroad me into doing everything the way SHE thinks it should be done.  Now being a terrified 19-year old new mom, I didn’t want to argue with her, but Jack wouldn’t put up with it, and basically told her to back off a little, and that we needed to figure things out for ourselves, and so she left, with a huff, claiming she felt unwelcome.

And she’s never let it go.  I don’t think she really knows how.  She has passed judgement over Jack, and myself, and our marriage, ever since.

I have it from good authority that she disapproves of he and I having single friends.  She thinks I spend too much time gallivanting around, and how dare I have a life of my own.  It’s shameful, apparently, that I have friends or that I have interests aside from child rearing.  She believes that Jack and I should only associate with other couples.  Not just any other couples mind you, but couples with children.  Couples who are good Catholics (Christians will do in a pinch).  He and I should never do anything social separately, in her opinion, because that could possibly lead us to INFIDELITY!

A part of me wants so badly to tell her that it’s too late for that, heh.

“Are you really honestly happy?” she asked me one night, in such a way that I knew she was implying that my marriage might be in the toilet.  I had just come in after being out with some friends from high school, that I had run into while visiting her during the summer.  You see, even though I was 26, it was vastly inappropriate for me to be out late in mixed company.  She had called my phone and told me to “get home, NOW” and I had no choice but to comply, as she was babysitting the kids for me and I didn’t want to argue with her at that hour.  When I came in she was waiting for me, and she began grilling me at length, like I was 17 again and had rolled in late for curfew.

No, I didn’t take it like a bitch, I told her that I was an adult and that she needed to back off about ten paces, and that if it was an issue of my leaving the kids with her that had her so upset, I would gladly take them elsewhere to be babysat so that I could have five minutes to myself.  I wasn’t trying to threaten her, but I wasn’t going to put up with her bullshit either.  She shut up, and then asked me if I was happy.  She asked in such a way that it was obvious she really meant “Are you happy in your marriage?” and I looked her straight in the eyes and told her that of course I was, and then I went to bed.

In her defense, she had every right to be suspicious.  Less than an hour before this conversation occurred I was rolling around in bed with a guy I hadn’t seen since grade 12, whom I had always been interested in, and whom had always been interested in me.  We’d never gotten together because one of us was always dating someone.

That fact, however, did not negate me being happy in my marriage.

I can only speculate on what she will assume after spending a week here.  Aiden and I will do our best to remain inconspicuous.  Who knows how successful we will be.  If she corners me, I think rather than lie I will simply tell her not to ask questions unless she is certain that wants the answer.  Or perhaps I will just come right out of the poly closet and then she will really have something to gossip about when she gets home.


Thank you for bearing with me.  I really needed to unload, to get out all of the negative feelings towards my mum, and hopefully mentally prepare myself for her visit.

Published by Shasta

5 Responses to “Hang On, This Is Gonna Be Bad”

  1. PerakathNo Gravatar Says:

    Just come on out and spill it all! I may have told you this before, but: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyameva_Jayate

    Reply To The Above Comment

  2. padme amidalaNo Gravatar Says:

    “Everybody got a good mother, except for me”

    We have talked a few times about the similarities of our moms so you know that I can relate to you a lot. Our moms has always been one thing you and I have had in common. I do not have a very good mother. I was very happy when my mom lived in Florida and many miles away. Then she moved closer (half an hour away) and wants to see me every week and every time I see her it will affect me and I’ve been known to have mental breakdowns. I completely sympathize with you, Shasta. I don’t think I could spend a week with my mom. I can barely spend a few hours with mine without wanting to pull my hair out.
    Hopefully you can hang in there during her visit.

    Have you considered asking your mom to stay in a hotel when she comes to visit? I had to eventually do that when my mom lived in Florida and came for her visits. I couldn’t handle her being in my home criticizing so I asked her to stay in a hotel. She was in a bit of a huff at first but then respected Anakin and I’s wishes with that. I know how tough that can be dealing with a criticizing mother.

    *big hugs* Hang in there and know that I totally understand.

    Reply To The Above Comment

  3. LiteralmanNo Gravatar Says:

    Well, the problem is that you’re in the closet about Aiden, so you can’t call her bluff and tell all your extended family about the truth about your marriage. (I assume that your mother would *not* like that, but that’s her problem and it would probably shut her up for a long time.) And you’re not in the closet about Aiden because you’re embarrassed, but rather because you don’t want to hurt your kids, and nobody can fault you for that.

    So the only option is to start parenting your mother by setting mature limits: “mother, before you land, you should know that there are some lovely hotels nearby … the first time you criticize me, my family, or my beliefs in front of the kids, we will be happy to immediately help you move to the hotel. If you’re not happy with this, we’ll be happy to make arrangements for you to stay at the hotel for the week.”

    You did a good job negotiating with Aiden and Jack for your contract … you can send your mom an email detailing what’s not acceptable and the corresponding consequences. She should, however, know the rules before she flies.

    Good luck!

    Reply To The Above Comment

  4. KathyNo Gravatar Says:

    My mom has in the past been very judgemental of my life.

    Then one day I said to her,
    “I know you’ll always think of me as your child, but I am an adult now. As an adult, I get to make my own choices about how I want to live. I don’t expect you to love *my life*, but I do expect you to respect it.”

    Partway through the word respect she started to interupt me with a complaint, to which I told her, “This is MY life. If you’re not going to be respectful, you can leave at any time.”

    I suppose that’s when it sunk it that constantly judging my life based on what she would do wasn’t helping our relationship any. From time to time she will still state an opinion about something, but she’s treating me like a person now, and not a clone of herself.

    Reply To The Above Comment

  5. VNo Gravatar Says:

    First off – this “surprise” visit could be a great opportunity for having “fear of getting caught” sex. C’mon, there’s at least an element of fun there, right? ;)
    I concur with Literalman and the “mature limits”. Your mother needs to learn who she’s dealing with and the consequences of HER actions (for once). The power you give this woman is scary! Take your power back sweety and show her your worth. She may not like it, but she’ll have to deal with it to be involved in your life (and your kids lives for that matter). Draw the proverbial line in the sand and FACE it, face HER. She has been pulling the ’spoiled rotten brat’ card for WAY to fuckin long and deserves to be put in a place that YOU feel comfortable with, (yet again, for once). Love the idea of an “…email detailing what’s not acceptable and the corresponding consequences…”. She MUST learn to respect you and your boundaries (but she first must know them to comply or deny them).
    You are a powerful, intelligent, thoughtful, and strong woman. I trust that you will do *exactly* what is right for you right now.

    I love you and I support whatever you choose to do.


    Reply To The Above Comment

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