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Your relationship with your mum... does it afftect the way you relate to your daughter?

18 replies

bebejam · 13/10/2005 20:16

After reading some of the threads in this section over the last months, I know I don't have a lot to complain about.

My mum isn't a monster, she's not even a really bad mum.... she's just not, well, a good mum.. and my relationship with her is a constant source of sadness in my life.

My first baby, a little girl, is due in a few weeks... and my relationship with my mom is hanging over my head and making me nervous and depressed about having my own little girl.

Maybe I should count my blessings... some people on this site sound like they have real cows as mothers. My mom isn't evil- she has just never been very good at the maternal thing. For example I'm 35 weeks pregnant... I talk to my mom on the phone at least once a week for about 40 minutes. She's asked about my pregancy ONCE, and that was at about six months. She'll go on and on and on and on for 45 minutes about the curtains she found at the charity shop or what some nameless neighbor planted in their hedgerow, or complain about other family members...

She called the other day, I thought it was to see how our scan went as there was some concerns... didn't even mention it, but did tell me the story about the fabulous curtain bargain (again, I've heard it about five or six time now..)

I've just got off another 45 minute meaningless conversation with her (yes, she mentioned the curtains again) I'm trying- we just can't seem to connect. She always seems very happy when I call, but it is always the same useless conversation.

I know she is lonely, but she was the one who decided to walk out when I was 15. She's been hugely financially and personally irresponsible ever since, and several times we've had to bail her out (and will again in the future I'm sure). I've been the "parent" since I was 15, and the few times I really needed her to be there for me- it's been an absolute joke...

I know probably a big reason that it is hard to connect is that I have a lot of resentment towards her for these things.

I'm SO incredibly freaked out that I'm not going to have a good relationship with my daughter, or not be a good mother to her... I secretly wanted a boy as I'm that terrified of the whole mother-daughter thing. We've been TTC for 3 years, and now motherhood is upon me... and I feel overwhelmed by the idea of a baby daughter... and ME being the mum.

I mean, what if I can't do it? If being a "good mum" was easy... why are there so many rants on this site about people's crap mothers?

Can anyone relate? Or at least help me calm down? I feel slightly unhinged...

sorry for the long rant. probably just hormones!

OP posts:
HyperMama · 13/10/2005 20:50

I can say I had less then a perfect mother- in many ways much better than yours (ie financial responsible, loyal, keeps a good home etc.) BUT in many ways worst because she was depressed most of the time, would beat me up everyday when I was a child (this is what she had when she was growing up), she had an anger control problem, she would shout at me for ages for little things, and I grew up thinking she hated me. Cut a long story short I was terrified when I had my first daughter thinking I will be the same to her. At some point I see that I have an anger management problem like my mum but I try to handle it and hopefully I do a good job. I have been so conscious of my potential problem (like you are now) that it actually made me a better mother because I thinking about everything that I do and say etc. how how everything I do or say will affect my 2 little ones.. I still remember very painful times from my childhood and I don't want them to go through the same thing. Your situation with you mother is different, I know but I can relate to it. I wanted to say you have very different characters and obviously you have more positive character traits. Don't worry about it. You are very mature, level headed and will make a great mother.. Hope this will make you feel a bit better... All the best of luck with birth!

crazydazy · 13/10/2005 20:51

At least your Mum does ring!!! My mum texts me now not to ask how me and the kids are but just to say "you owe me money" for the store card she got for me!!!!

She will never, ever help out with the kids even though she has no life of her own, no partner nothing!!!!

It makes me so sad to think that my children are growing up so fast and their gran just doesn't care!! Especially when the in-laws see them EVERY SINGLE DAY.

She never rings to ask how they are so I just stopped going to see her, she never came to us.

I think she has become very bitter and blames me and my sisters for her crap life. My Dad left her when I was 4 came back when I was 11 and then left again when I was 12. She has never met anyone else as she is very shy and very fussy!!!!

Have washed my hands of her!!!

lynny70 · 13/10/2005 21:06

Message deleted

mumbee · 13/10/2005 21:16

you are a good mummy now because you really care.

It is difficult but you are on the right path to being one you know the pit holes and can approach them differently with confidence that you will not do the same. You have won half the battle. So relax enjoy your daughter when she arrives and do not try to be a yummy mummy be yourself with you daughter and look forward to wonderful conversations with her and great shopping trips in the years to come.

nooka · 13/10/2005 22:30

That you are thinking about it is hugely important, as it shows you have insight. If you are really concerned then you might want to consider a couple of sessions of councelling so you can come to terms with your entirely understandable feelings. Your relationship between you and your daughter should be just that, but I think that it is inevitable for all of us to be reminded of our own childhood. I went to a recent fantastic lecture on attachment, and there was a lot on the impact of such "reminders". I do think that if you are aware of your concern then it will probably be fine. Just try not to go overboard in compensating! The other thing is that at the moment your new daughter is a bit of a cipher. Once she is born she will be a real person, and she will force you to relate to her on her own terms. You may never have these concerns again! On another note your mother may turn out to be a much better granny thatn mother. I know mine has. Good luck!

laligo · 13/10/2005 22:54

i can relate bebejam, and i agree with a lot of what nooka says. i felt so like you in the later months of pregnancy - i had a v dysfunctional childhood and while my dad was a monster, my mum is like yours, not dreadful but not good either, unresolved issues, uses me (and dp!) as a parent, can be hurtful and is obsessed with meaningless twaddle (especially the slagging off other family members!). but it's true that when your baby is born, that baby's personality takes over and you do not feel as if you're repeating the same relationship. plus, i have found my mum to be better with my baby (who is a boy) than i expected - she's quite loving and sweet, not critical and manipulative like she was/is with me. i still wouldn't leave him alone with her but i feel a lot better about it than i did when 30-40 weeks pg. remember pregnancy hormones amplify all your emotions - i was a wreck, going over all kinds of bad family memories - but that stuff fades as you get on with creating your own new family. i remember that "unhinged" feeling well but i bet you will feel a lot stronger once you meet your lovely daughter and get into your stride.

unicorn · 13/10/2005 23:05

bebejam.. withoout going into my family saga I would just say my perceptions (take them or leave them)
You are looking for your Mum- quite rightly as you are at a highly vulnerable stage in your life.

But - your mum is not the mum you need/want... she is this person who holds the title but doesn't deserve it.
You need to let go - she won't change, she is by what you have said very selfish/self centred.
You need to find strength in You from somewhere (it is there) and don't expect anything from this person.
Concentrate on the life that you are bringing into the world - and how you can do the best you can for this new little being -
Don't expect anything from your 'mum' - let her go.

Counselling will help - when you are ready.

bebejam · 14/10/2005 16:43

Wow, you are so right.... I didn't realize it but I think that is what has been going on--that I'm craving some kind of maternal help figure to "get me through" the next few weeks.

Maybe I am in total denial here, but what makes it all the harder is that I really don't think my mum is selfish and self-centered, I think I could just dismiss her a lot easier if that were the case. She is just more thoughtless and completely unaware of how relationships are suppose to function. If she were completely evil (like some of the mum and MILs you hear about here) I would just stop contact with her.

and hypermama- I think that is what makes me really nervous... is that I see so much of my mom in me, watered down traits that I abhor. They say what annoys you about other people are the things you dislike about yourself.
For example- my mom is an incredible slothful slob. I mean, she makes those folks on that show where the two women come in to clean.. she makes them look tidy. The first time I brought my husband home to meet my mom I gave her weeks of warning, but when we walked in the door the smell of cat urine and feces was so bad in actually made your eyes sting. She hadn't bothered to empty the liter box for about a week and 1/2.. so her two cats just started crapping wherever they wanted in the basement.

I'm not nearly that bad, but I do strugly with keeping the house clean... it is usually messy (but not disgustingly so like my mum's house) but still, I can see a watered down version of her in my messy house (and I don't have kids to distract me at the moment- what happens to the house when a baby comes along...)

People keep asking me if I'm excited... and I feel doubly guilty when I smile and lie, not wanting to admit I mostly feel fear and trepidation. :-)

But what many of you gals have written here does make me feel better and gives me some hope.

OP posts:
HyperMama · 14/10/2005 19:13

bebejam- having so many of my mums traits (good and bad) made me realize that some people just can't help who they are so it has taught me to be easy on others and not so judgemental... It seems to me you have come to "accept" your mum and that is a good thing. But I would not blame her for what is not right in your life- you can make things better..
I am sure you will watch for any symptoms of baby blues, depression ect. in your first couple of weeks and onwards as you may need help if you have any issues with your health, bonding with the baby etc. But go with an open mind and enjoy the anticipation of seeing that tiny little baby- it is MUCH greater a joy than you can ever imagine...

nooka · 14/10/2005 21:01

bebejam, I do hope things go well for you, and that your relationship with your mother improves. I know mine did, as we have a much more equal relationship now (although it was her refusing to let me be an adult that was the problem for me). Are there other people around who can give you support? I would really recomend joining an NCT class, or other support for new mothers. I gained a lot of extra sisters that way, and the mutual support was (and still is 6 years later) fantastic.

magnolia1 · 14/10/2005 21:04

I have a fantastic mum, but she finds it very hard to show physical emotion such as cuddles etc... although she tries. I found that I was very similar with my 1st daughter although I very quickly made the effort and although I had to make myself do it I did eventually become the cuddly kind of person my mum isn't.
I went on to have twin girls and was the same again
I then had dd4 who is now 2 and I know it took a long time coming but I finally don't have to 'Make' myself into a come here and cuddle me kind of mum

My mum is always there for me and I see her everyday but I do believe that we can do some things the same as our mums but, you are so aware of what you don't want to end up like I think you will be a wonderful mum.

I am rambling sorry

Also wanted to say, dh has a shit father and has always insisted he will be different!!! HE IS the most wonderful caring dad to out 4 girls so it proves you don't always do as your parents did.

KBear · 14/10/2005 21:06

You be a mum YOUR way, you'll be fine. You have all her mistakes to learn from and can do things differently. Enjoy your baby girl when she gets here.


allhallows · 14/10/2005 21:06

but of course it does!

Gobbledispook · 14/10/2005 21:09

bebejam - I don't think you should worry about your own dd. You know what kind of mummy you'd have liked so you'll know how to go about it with your own child.

My Mum didn't have a bad relationship with her mother but they were not close at all - conversely she and I are very close, like friends. She is a fabulous mummy - very cuddly and loving and this is not what she had.

I'm sure you will have a fabulous relationship with your dd! Good luck!

chenin · 14/10/2005 21:24

bebejam you have to think that maybe what your mother has taught you is a valuable lesson. You now know how NOT to be. You will be a good mother - you have learnt some hard lessons and you will put them to good use.
I was in same position as you - my mother wasn't BAD but just hopeless - never tried to be interested in me or my life. Withdrew cuddles and love from about age 8 and was totally disinterested in my two DDs.
I just wrapped them in my own family - they did not NEED a granny, they needed a loving Mum and that is what they got. They are now 16 and 14 and we have the most fabulous relationship (plenty of teenage fights but still v good.) And that is what you will have - you know what to do and what not to do. Do not be nervous about having a DD - she will deserve you and will deserve her and you will make a fabulous job of it,

creepmonkey · 14/10/2005 22:24

bebejam, I grew up, feeling a little bit resentful of my mum. She wasn't supportive, she was always trying to mould me into the type of daughter she really wanted, told me I was "odd" when I was a shy billy-no-mates teenager. But I didn't dread the idea of having a daughter. I have always said that I would be a better mother to my daughter than she is to me. Trouble is, I have 3 sons, may never have a daughter, so can't prove myself right! I do think I am a better mum to my sons than she was to me but have yet to face the teenage years. My sister has a dd and I can see how good a mum she is to her, her dd can tell her anything and is growing up to be a lovely girl! And I think there isn't woman in the world who doesn't feel at some stage that she is turning into her mother but if we all did that there would be no such thing as evolution. By the way, I am naturally very untidy and have found flylady a big help.

bunny2 · 14/10/2005 22:30

I was scared to have a girl as my relationship with my mum is ok but not that brilliant (she has never told me she loves me, never ever hugs me, even when I have had miscarriages etc). Anyway, when I gave birth to my dd my initial split-second reaction was fear (I was sure she was going to be a boy), then I held her and fell so deeply in love with her. Our realtionship WILL NOT mirror that of me with my mother, I am a much warmer person than my mum and find it impossible to be near my daughter without smothering her with kisses and love. I love her as totally and unconditionally as I love my ds. I can understand your fears totally but I am sure they will prove to be totally unfounded.

whatamess · 18/10/2005 07:07

I'm determined to be (and am) more affectionate with my dd than my mum was with me. Just see your relationaship with your mum a a warning not to be like that yourself, as a prompt to make you work harder and I'm sure if you don't want to be like tat you won't


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