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To worry I'm not doing enough

(27 Posts)
Bananaxsmoothiex Fri 19-Jun-20 14:59:02

I'm abit nervous about writing this because as adults we are no longer allowed to blame our parents for our choices.

I was feeling abit low this morning. So I was over the moon when my sister called who is usually always too busy to chat. I answered and we had a nice catch up. Then we got on the subject of our mum. She is hard to please. Our kids are either too loud or too quiet. Don't have enough or have too much. She was abit useless with us as we grew up and didn't give us alot of encouragement. She never worked. But my dad worked full time and no benefits were claimed. She was always cleaning up, reading books or just doing the days routine. She wasn't spontaneous. She didn't even take us for random walks.... I know things have changed in the parenting world. I'm 32 now. But it's kind of hitting me in lockdown that I failed at life at certain points because of my upbringing.

It started when I was a teen. Not being able to get a hug or talk to my mum. She would tell us to get on with it or not be pathetic etc. No warmth. No support. Leaving school I knew I was very interested in working in a hospital. My mum didn't have any interest in boosting us. Telling us what we could do. I remember her saying I needed a job or to go to college. She had no further suggestions than that. So I got a job in a highstreet shop. I could have made a bunch of memories and friends that lasted a life time. But I had never been out for a meal or socialised much. My mum and dad used to tell us to sit and behave at family gatherings. All my cousin's would be up dancing and we would just sit and watch. Then my mum's started commenting on my legs being chunky. I was a size 10 but had always had runners legs. Her words never left me. I believed I couldn't wear the dresses others wore. I was pale and had ugly legs in my mind. So I declined all the invites. Then I tried to learn to drive. I failed three times. On the third it was because I went at 50 on a country lane. They failed me because I didn't get to 60. It didn't feel necessary to go that fast. But I failed on that. My dad said you may aswel pack it up now. So I gave up!

I then got a job in pharmacy for two years. I was really interested in medicine. It was just unforunate our boss was a horrible bitchy women. So I left for my own happiness. I did home care for a year and did my nvq. My mum didn't believe I could do homecare. She thought i would be useless. But I loved it.

I fell pregnant with my first baby in 2014 and stopped working. We planned two children and agreed I'd stay home with the kids until my youngest starts childcare. Then I would love to look Into working and driving.

Me and my sister were both agreeing this morning that we have no ambition. It's like we think we don't belong. We would be crap at everything. Neither of us got a career or learned to drive. Neither of us has travelled or been abroad. Although we've had UK holidays. I go every year. Our kids have eaten out and already have done lots of things.

I don't know if lockdown is getting to me. Just as spring began we were locked down. So I've not had chance to meet the school mums At the park. Or make new mum friends as it's my DD first year at school. I have not seen anyone since lockdown has loosened.

Does anyone else wish they had had more confidence when they were younger?

OP’s posts: |
Windyatthebeach Fri 19-Jun-20 15:04:08

Maybe you and dsis can start a hobby together and spur each other on?. My dm had zero aspirations for me. She didn't care if I went to school or not either. Achieved nothing academically..
She was very critical when I became a dm despite - imo-not being 'qualified' to. Been nc for many years.
Cut her down every negative conversation op. Or reduce contact.

GreenTulips Fri 19-Jun-20 15:05:00

There’s nothing to stop you doing what you want now.

Yes learn to drive

Start looking into careers - it’s amazing what added value motherhood can be to a nursing degree

Stop regretting and start living

ssd Fri 19-Jun-20 15:10:36

I think somewhere along the lines personal responsibility has to come into it. That and realising not everyone has a great career or lifestyle. Most people trundle along trying to pay the bills and anything else is a bonus. I know mn has everyone in a top career but that's not real life.
You weren't encouraged by your parents. I wasn't either, although I knew they loved me. I left school at 15.
Anyways what I mean is, sometimes you just have to get on with the cards you're dealt.

Tatty101 Fri 19-Jun-20 15:10:45

Sounds tough.

My focus would be on what you can do now. There's nothing sadder in my eyes than someone who continues to define themselves through their upbringing when they have kids of their own. If you need counselling, get counselling. If you want to travel the world, or start a new career you have that power now. Make the most of it rather than focusing on what your parents did.

Bananaxsmoothiex Fri 19-Jun-20 15:21:46

Yes I understand it's never too late. But I am not equipped with the confidence. I'm heaps better though. I just feel the parts are missing in me. I am happy enough in my life as a whole. I guess it's wasted energy to think of the past and how I didn't know then what I know now. I envy people who have children, a car, a busy social life, always going out and have a career. They all seem to have the support and huge circle of friends. I definitely take responsibility for myself now but some of it is down to how my mum raised me.

Thanks for the replies.

OP’s posts: |
ssd Fri 19-Jun-20 15:25:07

I hope I didn't sound harsh
What I meant as well, is some people are OK with not having a busy social life loads of friends, big career etc etc

For everyone who has all this, there's loads of sales assistants, bus drivers, hospital porters, bin men, all getting on with it.
Don't beat yourself up so much.

Bananaxsmoothiex Fri 19-Jun-20 15:29:09

Hi. No not at all smile you are absolutely right.

It could be lockdown. looking out the window at life and it feels I'm not living at the moment. My driving friends or Facebook friends are taking the kids out and about all over. People are still working. Busy all the time. I know I'm so lucky to be tucked away safe at home when others are out at risk. But it's quite lonely right now. It's definitely making me reflect. I suppose it's the typical I wish I could go back to school and do it with the knowledge I have now.

I think I will end up learning to drive when my son starts school. I just need the time if that makes sense when I have a few hours to myself a day.

OP’s posts: |
Fairyliz Fri 19-Jun-20 15:35:00

Tbh that sounds like a normal upbringing for someone like me who was a child in the 60’s. Nobody expected to have a wonderful career or life most of us expected to be ordinary.
But there’s nothing to stop you doing what you want to now. (Obviously when we get past CV).
I for example always wanted to travel. I’ve not been for long periods but I have had some wonderful holidays.
So sit down and think about what you really want and go for it. You are not a child anymore you can’t keep blaming your parents.

gluteustothemaximus Fri 19-Jun-20 15:35:02

My confidence only improved as I went no contact with my parents.

I still have issues with self esteem. Maybe I always will.

However, what helps me is having a partner who is extremely supportive, and also reminding myself what I have achieved as oppose to what I haven't.

You won't ever forget words and emotional abuse, but you can learn and teach yourself how to deal with it. Might be worth reading some books on how to improve confidence and self esteem?

Self care is important, and you can share with your sister, that might help?

The best part of all of this is, you break the cycle. You won't be the same with your children, and that has to count for something flowers

ssd Fri 19-Jun-20 15:36:07

Totally makes sense to me! You'll do it when your mind isn't full of caring for him, when you can actually think of yourself for once. And it isn't cheap either, that's another hurdle. So give yourself a break, I bet you're a great mum who does her best. Things will work out flowers

Pugsrus Fri 19-Jun-20 15:37:25

I understand op
I’ve just got some counselling through talking space to work things through,my parents we’re dreadful,but I’m just coming round to the fact they most probably had Autism ,as doi .but it does impact on you ,your parents ,mine really fucked my head up.

thaegumathteth Fri 19-Jun-20 15:40:40

I grew up with similar attitude from my parents. I failed my first driving test - it was the only thing I had ever failed at. My dad told me 'you always bugger everything up and disappoint me' .

Tbh it made me more determined to pass next time and I did.

Yes your childhood affects you but you can't not accept responsibility for yourself now.

Cam2020 Fri 19-Jun-20 15:41:11

It's never too late! We all come into our own when the time is right and we're ready. Lockdown has really given you the chance to reflect upon what you feel is missing in your life and it's a great time to make plans, take it one step at a time and your confidence will grow.

Samtsirch Fri 19-Jun-20 15:43:24

I do believe that a person’s formative years have a massive impact on self esteem and ‘mental make up ‘.
However that doesn’t mean it has to define you completely and affect the rest of your life.
I agree with you OP that lockdown has given us all too much time on our hands, too much time to dwell on things, without the normal distractions.

Magicbabywaves Fri 19-Jun-20 15:45:31

My mum was like this, I remember my dad saying she didn’t have any ambition which I thought was harsh at the time, but I understood what he meant. She went to work, came home, put tea on then watched telly. Never really went out, didn’t really like holidays, no one ever came over and certainly no warmth. I didn’t have it too bad as I went to uni, but I was discouraged from doing what I wanted to study and the focus was on what was safe. I always felt like I was living in a never ending Sunday afternoon.

You’re still young, you can change things if you want. Focus on one thing at a time and take comfort from the fact you won’t be like this.

Wasabiprawns Fri 19-Jun-20 15:53:23

Sounds so much like my mum. I feel like I wasted my 20’s. Once you realize this, make up the time with doing everything you want and not holding back. I got away at 18 and rarely went back but my mindset was still there and is harder to change. Make up for lost time and break the cycle with your own children.

foodtoorder Fri 19-Jun-20 15:54:41

If I were you I would use this time to plan how you are going to go back to work in a job you are interested in and love. If you plan it out you would easily be working in a hospital I. The future.
Maybe start back in care work, maybe reach out to get a pharmacy job again, get som qualifications and apply for hospital work.
If your children are at a point where you feel you can be away longer the utilise it to your benefit.
The world is your oyster OP and the only person who can make it happen is you. Do not listen to the niggles from your childhood. You can absolutely do it!

My niggles from childhood are very similar to yours, I fact I could have wrote the bit about your parents myself. But I knew what I wanted and it took be a few years of being outside of my parents home to realise they were clueless about life and knew nothing about me as a person.
The things you wanted to do weren't unreachable and still aren't. Just draw a line under it and start fresh with your driving and work plans.

Good luck

Wearywithteens Fri 19-Jun-20 15:58:48

I had a similar upbringing in the 70s/80s - I was fed and loved (by my dad) but apart from that it was just arbitrary rules about not pissing my mother off and they had no interest in my education or career. I was just told to get a job.

I was a complete gormless idiot in my 20s and because of low esteem made bad choices.

It could’ve wrecked my life but I took responsibility for my own progression and was fortunate to meet a wonderful empowering man who became my husband. My life is more or less on track now.

What’s that famous poem? ‘They Fuck You Up Your Mum and Dad....’

You will be ok. smile

Villanemme Fri 19-Jun-20 16:01:17

I think a lot of us may have had parents with mental health problems that weren't talked about or treated. My mum was very much like yours op. Looking back objectively, my mum's schooling was cut short because of the war, she lost close family, my dad worked 7 days a week to get us a place of our own so my mum was lonely, fearful, emotionless and tight-lipped, her best friend had been sectioned and had electrical shock treatment as she had tipped over the edge and this stayed with my mum all her life. She didn't want it to happen to her so she bottled everything up. My brother and I are products of this although he has happier memories. Since hitting 50, 15 years ago, these have been the happiest times for me, I've stopped blaming her, she was a victim and still is in a way. Very negative and holds grudges for decades. Feel sorry for her really. Hope you and your sister find more positivity in the future.

crimsonlake Fri 19-Jun-20 16:03:34

Without sounding harsh I think you need to stop blaming your upbringing for what you feel is lacking in your life. Look to the here and now and the future, stop looking back and dwelling.
My parent's left me to it when it came to schooling and choices in my future career, I went on to become a teacher, I pushed myself.

icansmellburningleaves Fri 19-Jun-20 16:08:16

I had very similar experiences which also included physical and emotional abuse from my father and stepmother. My best advice to you would be to go and have counselling. It helped me realise that you can’t change someone else’s behaviour but you can change the way you react. You totally don’t deserve to have this inadequate mother figure dictate your future and your progress in life. You are better and smarter than to let this continue impacting on your life. I wish you all the best in moving forward 💐

howdidigettobe50something Fri 19-Jun-20 16:33:15

I feel for you OP. Your early relationships and experiences have a massive impact upon you and your future life experiences and it is not easy to move on from this. That said, anyone is able to do this and find the confidence to achieve what they want in life. I suggest that you take some time to think carefully about your future goals. Write them down and then think about the small steps you need to take to achieve them. Don't just think about the big goals like learning to drive and having your dream job either but the small ones too. Is there anything you can do to develop your social life for example. Do you have an interest you would like to explore once lock down is over or is there a group you have always wanted to join. Sometimes it's taking that first step that is the most difficult. I also recommend ticking off these small steps as you achieve them so you can see your progress towards meeting your goals.

People have always described me as confident but inside I'm not! I have learnt to present myself in that way by telling myself I can do it and after a while it becomes more comfortable and later you realise there was nothing to worry about! Good luck OP. You can definitely make changes and I'm sure you will. And also remember that not everyone else is always having the exciting life that you think they are.

Rubychard Sat 20-Jun-20 09:05:58

Much of your post resonates with me.

In one of our wedding photos, people are throwing confetti over us. My parents are watching others throwing confetti , not doing it themselves. And that sums them up. They'll watch others, but not do it themselves. I want to say to them sometimes that life isn't a dress rehearsal, you need to live it.

We are all.shaped by our upbringing, as were our parents. But you dont have to let your experiencd define you. You can do whatever you want. Find out what job you really want. Establish what skills and experience you need to acquire. Make plans as to how to do that and how you can progress.

You're still really young - fulfill your potential. Best of luck with this OP.

MontanaSky Sat 20-Jun-20 09:15:07

If you're lacking in confidence, start small and work your way up.
Everything you want to do is achievable and you don't need your DMs permission to do it.
Good luck!

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