growling at our mothers
My 5-year-old is feeling unsettled. Life is not right. Daddy is ill. And he has started rolling his eyes when I talk to him. It makes me feel cross and frustrated. Respect me, I think, I’m your mother! I’m your friend, I wheedle, I’m just trying to help! I explain myself more. To which he mutters under his breath and rolls them some more. I am his mother. I am the font of all his problems. Of course! This is all a little scary… imagine when he is 14… And I have two girls. Girls and their mothers…oh-oh!
I am 31. I still roll my eyes when my mother talks. Well, she didn’t know this till now (sorry Mummy!) But I do… I just do it so she can’t see!
And she was 59 yesterday. And she still grumbles at her Mum’s general failings. Rolling her eyes at her lack of this and that… Even though she’s been dead for 15 years.
It means “Whatever, talk all you wan’t, I’m not listening, I don’t care, yeah, yeah…”
Sometimes it means: “Oh God, stop, stop, you’re so embarrassing!”
Sometimes: “Here we go again!”
Sometimes it means: “Get off my case!”
And others: “Why do I have to tell you… why don’t you just KNOW?”
Sometimes: “Why do you always have to be right?”
And others: “Why can’t you just be perfect?”
I know, from having seen brothers and friends growl at their mothers that this is in fact an act of love. No really! We feel safe enough to communicate our frustration at our mothers that we dare not communicate to others. She is our safe harbour. We trust that she will still love us, even though we growl: something we cannot be sure of with others. She was our soother when we were babies, our everything, we growl because we realise that she is all too human, she has her flaws and failings, she can no longer magic everything better, and sometimes she makes everything worse.
But the thing is, we don’t mean it. I may do it. But another part of my brain is listening carefully. Taking it in. And then, when I let my guard down a little, I do what she says. The thing I rejected and yeah- yeahed. It has become a part of me, slipping in under the radar. The thing I once rejected is the thing I now cherish… Sorry Mummy! And thank you!
So now I wear colourful tights
Draw labyrinths on the beach
I want pictures of “all of my children together”
I get cross at my children, and then immediately beg their forgiveness and tell them how much I love them.
I clear up as I go along when I cook… more than I used to!
I soak dishes so they don’t get “welded to the sides”
I take it easy on myself when I’m tired
And have a grey streak in my hair
I go to women’s group
And read many “odd” books
I even celebrate the pagan festivals.
So maybe, just maybe my voice is going into his head too… With every roll of his eyes he is processing a little bit subconsciously.