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Do you think you're a better mum than your own mum? How do you feel about that?

(98 Posts)
dreamingbohemian Mon 30-Jan-12 13:00:50

My mum is currently staying with us for 2 weeks (not by choice really, got guilted into it). She's taking care of DS (21 months) while I work from home and DH is away.

We've always had a fraught relationship (long story of course!) but it wasn't until my 30s really that I started to think it's not really all my fault, and that in the end she just has not been a very good mother.

She was not abusive, I know she loves me and in some ways over the years has been helpful. But she is emotionally manipulative, melodramatic, chaotic, bitter, angry, handled her divorce very badly and just generally makes no sense to me. I left home at 17 and never went back for more than a few days at a time.

When I was pregnant and thinking about what kind of mum I wanted to be, I realised everything I thought about was how I don't want to do this like my mum. I could only think of one thing I would copy from her (she always made sure I had lots of books). That is literally it. This realisation was heartbreaking to me sad

Having her here and seeing how she takes care of DS is giving me a lot of flashbacks and I'm struggling.

I don't think I'm super mum or anything but I do think in many ways I'm doing better than my mum.

I guess maybe this should make me happy but instead I just feel overwhelmingly sad. I wish with all my heart I had a great mum sad

Just wondering if anyone else feels this way and has any coping strategies. I feel like I could never say any of this in RL because it's such a taboo to think badly of your mum.

Sparklingbrook Mon 30-Jan-12 13:02:24

My Mum was great. I am rubbish in comparison. sad

Kayano Mon 30-Jan-12 13:06:20

If I am half the mum my own mum is then I will be happy.

She is amazing grin

Bramshott Mon 30-Jan-12 13:08:34

I am a luckier mum that my own mum as she was widowed when I was 5 months old and living in 1 room.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 30-Jan-12 13:08:56

Have a look at the stately homes thread on these pages. What you write is relevant and reading those threads could help you as well.

You are within your rights to ask her to leave early as its not working out and
she is only there anyway because she manipulated you into doing her bidding.

Many adults who were children of such toxic parents often have FOG towards their parents now - fear, obligation, guilt. You really have no obligation towards this woman even though she is your mother. You would not tolerate this from a friend, your mother is no different.

Do read Toxic Parents written by Susan Forward; that may help you as well.

Helltotheno Mon 30-Jan-12 13:09:51

I feel your pain op. A lot of the people I know in RL seem to have good relationships with their mothers and it saddens me that I'll never know what that's really like. I do talk to my mother but find I have to heavily control our meetings and keep conversations pretty neutral.

I do like that my kids have a relationship with her and she seems to behave differently with them but I won't fully be able to comment on that until they're teenagers.

Like you, she pretty much has shown me what I don't want to be as a mum and although that in itself is a negative thing, I've chosen to see it as a positive and use it to ensure that my kids feel they have a mum they can have a good relationship with.

That's pretty much my coping strategy. Sorry if not much help but I do see where you're coming from...

LisasCat Mon 30-Jan-12 13:10:05

OP, you sound similar to me. My relationship with my mum is crap, and I carry a lot of emotional baggage from my childhood. All of my child-raising decisions are influenced by a desire to do things totally differently to her.

About 10 years ago my uncle (her brother) said something to me that drastically changed the way I thought about her. I was bemoaning the fact that she never showed any pride in anything I did, was so critical, and really seemed unable to show that she actually loved me. So he said to me "your mother does love you, but you have to remember it was the 70s, she was married and, despite having a pretty good career, she was expected to have a baby, so she did. She's not naturally maternal, she doesn't know how to display her feelings, but she does love you, even if she doesn't show it."

I cut her a bit more slack now, but I still know I'm a better mother than her, and my DDs will never doubt that I love them.

foolonthehill Mon 30-Jan-12 13:10:33

My Mum did her best out of a difficult upbringing and personality traits....but yes although I understand, I still wish I had, had a "proper" relationship with her. She could do the physical caring but not much else. Still the same now...yet to see her play or talk with any of my many DCs on anything more than factual level.

But we have so many more resources to help us than them....

let's hope our DCs look back and think we redressed the balance!

Bramshott Mon 30-Jan-12 13:11:35

Sorry, that probably sounded smug and I didn't mean it to! I hope I am and will be a better mum than my mum was, but mostly that will be because the circumstances I am mothering in are easier than the circumstances she was in. My mum did okay, in the crap set of circumstances she was landed with, and we're very close now.

fiventhree Mon 30-Jan-12 13:12:39

I do think I am a better mum in lots of practical ways,and also I find time to talk to them- I am interested.

But I dont hate my now dead mum, not since I was 27, and thats a long time ago. I did come to see that she had a difficult life- my father died early leaving her with several children and a widows pension- and she wasnt either trained or cut out to be a domestic goddess, good organiser or take an interest in education issues.

Interestingly, I have found since my kids have got much older (teenagers) that I follow her in a few bad and good ways- i am up for a laugh with the kids, and also i shout pointlessly when they have driven me mad.

DurhamDurham Mon 30-Jan-12 13:13:24

Well I think I'm a better mum than my mother but not sure what my kids would say!!

bigTillyMint Mon 30-Jan-12 13:14:47

Although I hope I have taken some of the good parenting aspects of my DM, I have always wanted to be even half the mother my "aunty" (family friend rather than realation) was.

dreaming you will find many MNers are trying to do a different and better job with their own children than their mother/parents did. You are not alone in knowing that your mother wasn't that great at being a mother.

lubeybooby Mon 30-Jan-12 13:16:36

I do think I'm a far better mum than my own mum yes.

She was funny, and mostly kind, affectionate and I never doubted I was loved


She never set boundaries, moved the goalposts with behaviour all the time, slagged off my (absent) dad in front of me, actively tried to turn me against him, could never be arsed to cook so I made my own dinner 50% of the time from age only 7, left me home alone all day sick with D&V aged 8 while she went to work (I know she had to work but blardy hell) did the whole constant stream of 'uncles' thing with many boyfriends, and then she pretty much ignored me as a teen apart from contantly giving me tmi re: the boyfriends.

Kellamity Mon 30-Jan-12 13:17:26

I don't think I'm a super mum, I have many flaws and faults but yes I do think I am a better mum than my mum.

My mum had it tough, 3 dcs, no money, couldn't drive, lived fairly remotely, my dad worked away Mon - Fri and I think at times during my childhood she was depressed. She was very angry. We would come home from school and not know what mood she would be in. At times it was grim sad

SchrodingersMew Mon 30-Jan-12 13:19:45

I know for a fact I'm a better Mum.

Mines basically abandoned me after allowing me to be subjected to her bf "playing Doctor" with me when I was 3 years old at my Father's funeral! while she sat and watched...

She was so awful that I was one of her only children who wasn't put up for adoption as a baby and that is only because my amazing DGM took care of me most of the time and took care of me full time when my DF died.

She has physically and mentally scarred my brother for life and I very much wish it was her instead of my DF.

lostboysfallin Mon 30-Jan-12 13:25:09

no, mine is better than me

unless she just pretended she wasn't stressed and tired and made it look really easy

or maybe she was a happier person

this thread is really making me think now.

SchrodingersMew, that is horrendous, I'm so sorry

littlemisssarcastic Mon 30-Jan-12 13:26:47

Yes, absolutely. I feel I am a much better mum than my own mother was/is.

Although I now believe she did the best she felt she could at the time.

I feel my mum would have liked to be a different kind of mum, and has many regrets now, and I sort of feel sorry that she has these regrets.

I suppose what I'm saying is that my mum isn't a bad person, she just made bad choices and let her life be governed by fear, fear of the unknown as well as other things.

Unfortunately, she had DC at the time, and they were dragged along with her fears/hopes/feelings too.

Probably not making much sense, but it's not an easy question to answer fully.

BullieMama Mon 30-Jan-12 13:28:36

I think I do a reaonably good job at mothering, but I wish I could be half as good as my mam, she is so wise and sensible and always seems to know the right thing to do, I however wing from one crisis to the next mostly due to laziness sad

LisasCat Mon 30-Jan-12 13:29:14

Isn't it interested how anyone whose mother did a halfway decent job automatically feels they can't possibly live up to how great she was. Maybe some of your mums are sitting watching you thinking "wow, how did I raise my daughter to be such a brilliant mum? I'm sure I was never that good"!

TheSecondComing Mon 30-Jan-12 13:29:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheScarlettPimpernel Mon 30-Jan-12 13:30:21

My Mum is the dearest, wisest, most hard-working, loving, saintly, best human being I have ever met. I cannot imagine I will ever have a fraction of her patience and strength and goodness. I intend to try though <hopeful>

The one thing she would never do, though, is hug - way too British and buttoned-up and shy! THe most she could manage would be a rather awkward touch on the knee (which always meant so much, of course). I am way more touchy-feely so I guess we'd differ in that way....

Schrodinger I'm so very sorry sad

RealLifeIsForWimps Mon 30-Jan-12 13:31:35

I've only just begun to realise how amazing my mum was. Just the sheer effort she put into parenting was incredible- always thinking of really imaginative and fun things to do, helped with homework projects in a really constructive way, cooked everything from scratch, encouraged us in all our interests, is officially the best "out loud" story reader ever in the whole wide world, all without in any way being a helicopter parent. God knows where she got the energy.

MiladyGardenia Mon 30-Jan-12 13:33:32

I do think I'm a better mum, yes.

My mother has many issues, not least of which she still bitches about our father three decades after they got divorced. She was not above using her fists on occasion and said some incredibly hurtful and distressing things to me when I was young. There are 6 of us siblings and not one of us has escaped unharmed. One brother even had to move to the other sde of the world to free himself.

On a lesser scale, she took no interest in things like homework/schoolwork and I certainly couldn't talk to her as a teenager as my ds talks to me. The one time I trieed to talk to her about something (going on the pill to help my heavy periods), she accused me of being a whore.

In contrast, ds1 chats to me about all sorts, knows I take an interest in his schoolwork/friends/life in general. I don't bitch about his father to him and would never do so, because I learned from example how damaging that can be. Our household is far more relaxed and laughter-filled than my mother's household was.

Chestnutx3 Mon 30-Jan-12 13:36:12

Much better mother luckily. I feel like I am making up my own rules of parenting though as have no real guide about what to do. Struggled at the start but I am proud that my children are so well balanced given my own childhood.

Kellamity Mon 30-Jan-12 13:37:38

Reallife your mum sounds amazing!! grin I'm very envy

My mum was and still is very aware of what other people think of her. If we had guests then she was lovely but we knew once they had left the shouting or worse ignoring would start again!! As for help with homework or bedtime stories - none but in her defence I guess she was knackered!!

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