My Mother Taught Me How Not To Be A Mother

I never want to see you again. I am ashamed to call you my mother. That is what you are because you gave birth to me and you taught me how to cook (better than you, might I add). There is a point though, at which I believe it is okay to relinquish you of that title. I did reach that point. But here I want to thank you for all the things you have brought to my life. The pieces of you that fit into my life.

When we were living outside of town in that old house, the one with no lights anywhere but the kitchen, you taught me that bringing a new guy home from the bar every night was not something I aspired to do. And when you kicked my little brother out that night because he wouldn’t take a bath, you taught me that one argument with your child should not turn into abandonment on a doorstep in the middle of the night. Oh, and I really appreciate that you taught me buying gallons of alcohol instead of paying rent and phone bills is completely unacceptable. It’s also a sure-fire way of ending up homeless with a 12 year-old daughter.

So I stayed with my best friend and her family. I don’t know where you were or what you were doing. To be honest, I didn’t really care. But that taught me that one is not always best fit to take care of one’s own child. Sometimes someone else can take care of them better than you can.

You envied her mother after you admired her. So you took me back and we lived in some of the worst places I’ve ever been in my life. One home, after the next, and the next. We stayed with people I had never met. You told me to trust you, that they were good people that cared for us. I learned not to trust you. These were the people that stole your car, that gave you diseases, that wanted to put me into a prostitution ring. There were some who choked you, who stole our things to sell for meth. I met all different kinds of people.

The nice people thought I was stealing their things, that I was the one who couldn’t be trusted. You were sleeping with their boyfriends and husbands. We’d get kicked out. I slept on couches and floors. We moved to California. I slept on piles of magazines. We moved back home to Oregon and I don’t really remember what happened in what order. All of that though, taught me that a car is the most important thing a person can own. Take care of your car and you will always have a place to sleep. Also, hope your car doesn’t get stolen.

Then you made an alright life for us. You met a great guy who had a house. The first thing he did was buy me a bed. Things were good, he wanted to marry you. Then one day we left. I still don’t know why you made that decision. But we were off again. We slept at the shelter, in a tent, in the car again. Then we house-sat for a co-worker of yours. You met a guy at the lake and we moved in with him. You got pregnant. Then we had a wedding and I went to school with kids doing meth. After that I went to school with kids who bullied me for no other reason than, well, I don’t really know why they bullied me. You had a baby boy, a second brother. I got a boyfriend who made me happy and you hated him immediately. I told you I was an atheist and you hated both him and me. I still loved you. I wanted to help you be a happier person.

I did everything to make you happy. I may not have had a job but I was still in high school, on track to graduate on time. I always told you I loved you, I never went out and hung out with friends. I didn’t party. I made great grades in school. I cleaned the house, cooked dinner, and took care of my baby brother, all while you consumed excessive amounts of wine. Every night you would tell me how stupid I was and how I was needed to believe in god and it was sad that I was ‘that way.’ And you told me it was my boyfriend’s fault. You wouldn’t understand that it was my decision I made when I was 13. You wouldn’t respect me. My pity for you soon faded alongside the respect I once had for you. I started doing things to spite you, like getting grades just good enough to pass. Ds and Cs when I was fully capable of As. When you wanted me to clean out your stupid candle jars, I shoved them in the dishwasher instead. You said be home by 11 so I would have sex in my boyfriend’s car, in the driveway, until 3am.

You said wouldn’t respect me because I didn’t have a job. So I never wanted to be home. I left for good the night I wanted to punch you in the face. Not because I hated you and was angry but because I was so frustrated that my own mother still wouldn’t respect my opinions and choices. You wouldn’t allow me to express one of the most crucial yet unimportant aspects of my personality. Just because I do not believe in god, you declare me a terrible person.

I might not believe in a higher power but I do believe that life is meant to be lived happily. That is the overall consensus, am I wrong? I wasn’t making you happy and you certainly were not making me happy in any way. So I want to say thank you mother, for the screwed up youth; and for teaching me that I am completely alone. Thank you for teaching me to let go of frustration and disappointment and pity. Thank you for being the person I strive to never be. Thanks for Led Zeppelin. And thanks for being you. TC mark

featured image – publik16

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