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Ruby Tuesday
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I have an absent father and a NPD, alcoholic mother. I hate the phrase they did the best they could. I agree it is trite. I also took some comfort from this when I was younger. I used it to excuse their lack of parenting and bad decisions. If I thought they just couldn't do any better, then their mistreatment didn't hurt so much. I have three children and I am doing my best. Doing my best has meant some very challenging moments. I went to therapy before having kids to get some of the fundamental tools for living that I had not been given by my parents. I learned everything I could on attached parenting and other modes so that I could develop the ability to give my children the love, care and emotional support that I never had. When I have parenting moments that make me cringe, or make me think I am like her, I do the repair work of talking to my kids, I assess how I might have handled it better without shaming myself and I try to put things into play so I will recognize what went wrong and avoid it the next time. When my relationship with my mother was making me feel unstable, distracted and angry, I spent the money and the time on weekly therapy and reading everything I could get my hands on to make sure that I was present for my kids. I did not medicate my feelings even though I really wanted to and I worked through(still working) on taking care of myself and setting boundaries with my mother. I don't do everything right and I know that my children will have their own hurts. But if and when they come to me and need me to acknowledge them, I will say: First, What do you need from me? What can I do? Then, I did the best I could with the tools I had and I actively went to acquire the ones I didn't. I had some successes, some failures. I went through some very difficult times with my parents and I am so sorry that I wasn't always there for you, or I was anxious, distracted, demanding...I never looked at any of the three of you and thought, good enough. I saw the most important reasons to do better and I worked at it everyday. I will probably change my mind on this about a hundred times as I learn more but even this is a million miles away from how my parents did it.
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Jul 18, 2011