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daughterissues
A really long time ago, when I was very, very young, I remember Saturday afternoon chats with my dad in the basement bathroom.

He was constantly working (both career-work and home-type-work) so that was one of the only times he ever seemed available to me.

Initially I think it caught him off guard when I wandered into his concrete sanctuary, but he humored me.

He humored me long enough that I remember our talks as a “habit” or custom.

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An Offer I Had to Refuse

An Offer I Had to Refuse

My mom was in town over Indigenous People’s Day weekend.

All in all, things were uneventful and we had a decent enough time.

Red Rocks Park
At Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

She brought a friend with who had a problem with her mouth filter, especially as she became more tired. That made our final day together a little more biting challenging than I would have preferred.

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Being a Mom: Finances and Fatherhood

Being a Mom: Finances and Fatherhood

mother_daughter_fight

Last Thursday evening, Thing #2 and I got into a lovely row.

It started with her defending Doom-n-Gloom. For the first few minutes it was mostly civil: I have no problem with her standing up for her father, when she’s being reasonable.

I remember how I used to get when I was 17: entitled, presumptuous, a total know-it-all…

She was being all of that.

Then she said, “You’re taking an unreasonable amount of money from Dad every month. He can’t save money for anything.”

I stood up and looked her directly in the eye and said, “Your father pays me $200 a month and buys 80% of our groceries. He reimburses me for the $3,000+ in expenses it takes for me to maintain this household. Don’t tell me how I am being when you have no idea.”

“But I don’t know what’s going on, Mom. You never tell me how much you make or how much the bills are.”

“That’s because it’s none of your business and, if you wanted to know, this is not the way to ask. Please don’t assume that I am being the ‘bad guy’ here.” Then I got out the financial statements that we have prepared showing our individual incomes and our expenses. (To be honest, when I filled mine out, I was actually blown away at the amount I pay as opposed to the amount that he does. But, he carries their insurance… And I am divorcing him…)

I handed those financial statements to her and told her to look them over. When she refused, I sat down with her and I went over every single item I pay for and how much it actually costs me. Then his. It blew her mind. It blew my mind. So much that I was totally on the verge of breaking…

Which is what happened when Thing #2 brought up how Thing #1 treats their father/Doom-n-Gloom. At first, I explained as calmly as I could that it is IN FACT her father’s responsibility to treat both of his daughter’s civilly and with respect. I am a stickler for fairness between the two when it comes to my children.

Thing #2 was telling me that I didn’t know what I was talking about. That Thing #1 needs to be nicer to her father and I have to stop making excuses for her all the time.

I completely lost it. I was already angry, but that presumptuous child had no place telling me how an daughter/father relationship dynamic should work. I don’t talk about it much on my blog, but my father doesn’t talk to me unless he absolutely has to. Period. He will never make initial contact. My mother is the tie that binds. My brother is cool but busy trying to keep up with his best friends ↓

Here’s an example of how my father feels about me:

My mother had a heart attack 6 years ago, 2 years after we moved to Denver. My brother called to tell me Mom was in the hospital.

He also told me what Dad had said to him earlier that day:

Don’t bother calling your sister to tell her. She doesn’t care anyway.

My brother might be a fake Christian and a wanna be, but he doesn’t lie and he’s not intentionally cruel like my father.

I was grateful he told me.

Back to present time… There was a lot of yelling after this. Doom-n-Gloom finally came in and changed the subject back to the original: money.

He explained to Thing #2 that he doesn’t have a problem with the amount of money that he has to pay. It’s perfectly reasonable.

I thanked him for deflecting her. Then she proceeded to yell at him for 30 minutes. When she was done, she called her ex-boyfriend-now-best-friend so she could yell at him for another 30 minutes.

This entire time, Thing #1 was cleaning the kitchen to stay out of the entire ordeal.

Once Thing #2 was done with me and moved on to her father, I came upstairs and unloaded on a friend (who I will be telling you about tomorrow). We chatted. He was supportive. I felt better and went to sleep after that. I didn’t want to talk to Thing #2 again before bed. I was calm enough to fall asleep and I didn’t want to ruin that…

Selfish. I know.

The next morning I apologized to Thing #2. I was mean and said things I shouldn’t have said. I acted in an unmotherly way.

“I’m sorry for being so mean to you last night.”

“I forgive you, Mom. But you know that doesn’t make it right.” Then, she mumbled under her breath,“I’m sorry, too.” I barely heard her.

“Please could you repeat that last part? I didn’t quite hear you.”

“I’m sorry, too, Mom.”

I held my tongue in regards to her flippant comment in regards to “making it right” and told her I accepted her apology as well.

She walked to school that morning.

When I got home, she apologized for being such a bitch that morning when she accepted my apology.

I wish I were…

I wish I were…

If things were different…

They just wouldn’t be the same…

My father used to say that all the time. I totally hated it!

Of course I wish things were different. Pretty much I wish that every day! Doesn’t everyone? But I don’t think that I can just wish away all the things that I don’t like. Some of the choices that I regret have turned me into the person that I love now! It would also mean that some of the things I enjoy and appreciate wouldn’t be the same – in fact, they might just cease to exist for me. And, although I won’t remember (because those things would not have happened), I might wish things were different then, too. Who can say what paradoxes I will create in my imagination trying to make things ideal?

“The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma.” Patrick Star, SpongeBob Squarepants

If things were different, would I still love SpongeBob Squarepants? Would he still be my hero? Or, would I be voting for Mitt Romney in this year’s election instead? (I know they seem drastically different, but in my mind if I don’t like the one, I must be a “fan” of the other.)

If things were different, my two perfect daughters would be different. Maybe they would still be perfect, but they would be different. I would be different, too… How would I still know that they’re perfect? Heck, would I even have two daughters?

If things were different, my husband would take care of himself (or would he?). He would take responsibility for his actions and clean up after himself. He would act like an adult and treat me like his wife and not his mother. Or, maybe I would have gone through with that divorce 10 years ago. That sure would have changed things! I probably wouldn’t have moved to the lovely place where I live now, far from the repression of family and old memories. I would still be fat and unhappy. I would still be sealed inside my shell of self-protection – shielded from reality… And I would never have met all of these wonderful new people who care about me.

  • I wish I were richer. Then I would be able to take my daughters to Disneyland.
  • I wish I were taller. I don’t know why, I just think it would be more fun for me that way 😉
  • I wish I were sexier. Then I would have more self-confidence.
  • I wish my husband and I were divorced. Then I would have more freedom for myself, and I would be able to teach my daughters about healthy relationships. Really, I think I just wish that I had chosen someone else with whom to spend eternity.
  • I wish I never found out that my father drowns squirrels in a barrel in the garage every summer and then buries them all over the yard! In 2011 he killed 42. The last I heard this year, he was up to 39! What are they doing?! Keeping score?! Well, umm, you’re winning, you can stop already! FYI – squirrels mate for f***ing life, A**-holes!!!!!
  • I wish my mother had never told me that she wished I was more like my little brother and that she likes him better and always has.
  • I wish my parents were Democrats. Then they would just be completely different people than they are right now 😉 and that would be a good thing for everyone!

But some of those wishes are things that I cannot change (but if I keep wishing for it, maybe they will!) and will always be completely beyond my control.

“If wishes were horses, we’d all be eating steak” – Jayne Cobb, Firefly

I wish I had made different choices for my future a long, long time ago. But none of that matters now. I love the person that I have become, the things I have been forced to learn about myself and all of the world around me. If I had made different choices, I would be different too.

I don’t know what it would be like if all the things I wished for came true. All I know is that — things would definitely not be the same. I guess my father was right.

So, I guess the short version is: I wish I were exactly the same as I am right now!

(My attempt at this week’s DPChallenge: “I Wish I Were”)

Act like an adult? How?

Act like an adult? How?

 

I don’t know how to complain about the shithead husband any more. I have started this post several times and had to go back and re-write it. Maybe it’s because I am just getting sick of the way he acts and I have no time or energy for it any more. Plus, talking about it makes me so angry and lately I have been trying too hard to maintain a peaceful happiness. Maybe I am just not willing to let him fuck that up.

The husband is acting like a butt-hurt teenage girl again. Frankly, I am totally sick of it! I don’t understand how a 43-year-old man can justify acting like that… Slamming doors, sulking, responding to anything with one-syllable grunts, stomping and storming through the apartment until someone asks him what’s wrong so then he can grunt and slam some more.

It all started Sunday afternoon. I was watching a program on TV with Thing #2. It was Virgin Diaries and there was this dude on there wearing a shirt that said “Virginity Rocks!” and his mom was his “Wing-mom” (she wore a t-shirt, too!). His mom would pick out girls for him to talk to and he would approach them. It was hilarious and I HAD to share this with Thing #1. So, I got her and told her to come and watch this show with us so she would know what kind of guy to avoid completely.

As we’re sitting there laughing our pretty little arses off, Mr. Gloom-n-Doom comes in to say, “So, Thing #1, are you planning on ignoring me and the dishes all day again today?” (this seems to be his preferred way of starting conversations with Thing #1 and myself. It wasn’t said in a playful way either — it was said like fightin’ words.)

Thing #1: That’s how you’re going to ask me to do the dishes?

Mr. Gloom-n-Doom: If you’re going to keep disrespecting me and my wishes I will ask you however I want.

Thing #1 attempted to say something else about how she would do it, but Mr. Gloom-n-Doom just kept talking over her and not listening.

This is where I interrupted and stopped him because I can’t stand the way he talks to her. “I am sorry, but I asked her to come up here and watch this stupid show with me. I didn’t know you wanted her to do the dishes. As soon as this is over I will have her go down and do the dishes.”

Mr. Gloom-n-Doom: but I am sick of her ignoring me.

Me: Do you think it could be because of the way you keep talking to her?

He stood there in front of me huffing and puffing in his butt-hurt little way for about 20 seconds and then stormed off and slammed his bedroom door. I do know that what I did was wrong. Parents are not supposed to contradict the other when the children are present, but I am SO SICK of the way he condescends to her while Thing #2 gets all the sunshine and roses. I had to call him out on his behavior. (But, also, I am pretty sure that parents aren’t supposed to huff-n-puff, storm off and slam a door. Is that how you want your daughters to act when they’re angry or hurt or feeling defensive???)

She did the dishes.

He completely antagonizes our oldest daughter to the point where she doesn’t even want to be in the same room as him. And then goes on to favor the other daughter to the utmost extreme. AND HE THINKS THAT THEY DON’T NOTICE IT. Well, I do! That’s for sure. And so does Thing #1!

Just last night she was complaining to me that when she came home from school and tried to start a conversation with him he grunted at her then left the room. How is that supposed to make her feel?

I couldn’t see them before, but I’m starting to see similarities between my husband and my father: the coldness, the distance, the not-being-good-enough. He doesn’t hug her or tell her he loves her — she brought that up to me later Sunday. My 17-year-old baby is afraid to grow up but even more she’s afraid that her father doesn’t love her.

Last night I told him that Thing #1 thinks that she’s not good enough for her father to love her. That she constantly sees him talking and laughing with Thing #2, but she feels left out.

Mr. Gloom-n-Doom defended himself, saying that he wouldn’t talk to her like that if she would just do as he says. I tried to remind him that she is a teenager soon to be an adult. I pointed out to him that she will be moving away soon — out of his life. And if he continues to treat her like he is, she’s not going to want to have anything more to do with him after she’s moved out. I asked him to look at my relationship with my father (my father won’t speak to me. He’s butt-hurt about my choice for a husband to the point where he won’t even talk to his two grand-daughters – what an asshole! I guess Mr. Gloom-n-D00m is turning out to be more like my dad than I thought when I picked him. Who knew I could see into the future to what an asshole my husband would be to HIS daughter?). Does he want his relationship with his daughter to be strained and uncomfortable?

His response was sad. He defended his actions again stating that if she would be nicer to him, he would be nicer to her. At this point, it took everything in my power NOT to roll my eyes. Was he serious? These words were coming out of a 43-year-old-man’s mouth! Can you believe it? I looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Negativity begets negativity and it has to stop somewhere. Why can’t YOU be the adult here and make things better?”

He just stared blankly at me, grunted, brushed past me and went to his room.

How do I get him to take responsibility for the way he treats his daughters (or people, for that matter)? How do I show him that he is favoring one daughter over the other – to the extreme? I don’t think it’s fair that he treats his oldest daughter like shit because she reminds him of me. How do I convince him that he is 50% of every relationship he has? How do I get him to understand that 43-year-olds don’t say “I will if she will”?