Nettles On My Heart: A Lackadaisical Mother

I’m starting a 6 part series that touches on my extremely codependent relationship with my mother, who passed away on May 20, 2019 of a “mystery” illness that was finally diagnosed (alas too late) with her digestive system.

nettles

In doing so, I’m hoping to promote some healing for myself. I am not doing this to badmouth my beautiful mother, who was a loving human being with faults, like all of us.

Due to the nature of these posts, if you have any sort of thoughts or similar experiences, I invite you to share them with me.


I remember the day that my mom called me a “lackadaisical mother” over the landline telephone that I still had. This was back in the early 2000’s before the whole cellphone craze hit.

I wasn’t positive what that word meant exactly, but I knew that it wasn’t a compliment.

In case you didn’t know, the word is an adjective meaning “lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy.”

Ouch. That stung like nettles on my heart. My own mom had basically just called me a lazy mother.

That judgement was doled out within the first year after I took my young daughter and ran away from her abusive father. I was working a full-time job at a nursing home as a dietary aid and also keeping the secret that I had fibromyalgia from my coworkers and boss, afraid that they would fire me or look at me differently if they knew the truth.

After I would pick her up from daycare, I’d make her a snack and then let her watch television while I took a nap on the couch. I was often exhausted after working all day. We ate a lot of take out food and at the age of 6, my daughter knew how to operate our donated microwave to cook herself something to eat.

Yes honey, 3 minutes for a Hot Pocket, be really careful, it’ll be hot.

I’ll admit that I didn’t always do her hair in the mornings, I just brushed it really fast and out the door we’d go, down the steps from our 3rd story one bedroom apartment. She was always the first kid that got dropped off at 6:30 am and I had mom guilt for that. I was the mom who’d let her eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and send her a slice of leftover pizza for lunch. I never ironed any of her clothing, nor did I always get them out of the dryer and hung up before they’d wrinkle.

I wasn’t a strict mother and I didn’t keep her on much of a schedule when it came to chores, although this backfired in my face and still causes issues to this day. I had a really hard time putting my foot down and keeping it there. She’d end up doing a half-ass job of it anyway and being the perfectionist that I was (mostly still am, but that’s for another post) I’d just end up doing it myself.

But when it came to life in general, I rarely ever told my daughter what to do, often just allowing her do her own thing. I’d taken some childcare classes in high school and I really liked the Montessori approach. That’s when I realized how many different ways you could treat a child and teach them the valuable life skill of independence.

I gave her options and a voice because I wanted her to be her own person. I didn’t want to raise her the way that my mother raised me. Micromanaging was not my style and it still isn’t.

I’m not a perfect mother and I have made many mistakes, but one thing is for damn certain…lackadaisical or not, I love my baby girl more than anything in this world and I continue to do my best by her.


It wouldn’t be the first time that my mom would say something hurtful to me about how I was raising my child (or other topics) and it sure wouldn’t be the last.

When you have a kid, they don’t give you a How-To manual when you leave the hospital with your bundle of joy. I know that the way my mom raised me and how our codependent relationship developed as I grew into an adult was not solely her fault. She did the best that she could at the time and I honestly do forgive her.

But now, within the almost six months since she’s passed away, I’m finding it arduous to find my own path in this world without hearing her in my head, often belittling and questioning my choices and decisions.

And I’m realizing now just how unhealthy our mother/daughter relationship really was.

CODEPENDENTS:

An invisible umbilical cord still connects mother and adult child, where daily phone calls, emails, and text messages define communication. Though the relationship looks close, it’s often unhealthy, with secret resentments and fears.

I must’ve appeared so lackadaisical because I was lax when it came to B deciding what she thought was best for her in any given situation. Did she feel well enough to go to school? Did she want to take those gifted classes in the 4th grade? Did she feel comfortable going to that sleepover knowing that the girl who didn’t seem to like her was going to be there?

I wanted her to make up her own mind about things. It didn’t mean that I never intervened and said a big “hell no!” when it truly mattered and had anything to do with her safety. But mostly, it was her choice and her life.

I really wanted my daughter to have her own sense of identity and to be able to make her own decisions in this life. My advice is always there for her when she needs or asks for it, but in the end, it’s up to her.

When I’m dead and gone, I don’t want her hearing me in her head, making her stop in her tracks when faced with a decision. I don’t want her second-guessing herself like I now find myself doing almost daily.

What I am attempting to do with this series of posts is to find some healing from the unintentional wounds that my mother inflicted upon me. To be painfully honest and brutally open. I need to look at everything for what it was, not for how I wished it had been, a mother who truly allowed me to live for myself.

My mom didn’t think that I was capable of much and that makes me so sad. One of her biggest fears was leaving me behind and not having someone who was willing to take care of me. It was such a worry for her that she even asked my brother to “take care of your sister when I’m gone.”

If that isn’t a total sucker punch to the self esteem, I really don’t know what is.

The Procrastinator

I’m no good at making decisions. I don’t trust myself, I guess.

I swear that I hear my mom in my head telling me how to do this and that, the way that she would’ve done things. I often disagreed with her and we’d argue, but in the end I’d usually cave in.

She was always at me about my lifelong problem of procrastination.

570807-1533678700325-0ee8d29300a1.jpg

Oh man, I can procrastinate, my friends. And boy did it drive my poor mother batshit crazy.

Just this past August, when it came closer to my birthday and it was time to renew my drivers license, plus registration tags (at the tune of $85.50) I waited until the day before my birthday to get my procrastinating ass up to the DMV and do what needed done.

Sure, no worries, right? But as I waited in line, I could hear my mom inside my head.

“Why did you wait until the last minute again? You could have been done with this already!”

By the way, I’m almost certain that I am mostly sane.

I plunked my money down and had to take two photos for my new license because of the glare from my glasses. But anyway, as I walked outside on that summer morning, I looked up to heaven and smiled into the sun.

“See? Look mom, I’m putting the sticker on my plate! I did it!”

No reply, obviously.

Yes, I might have waited until the last minute like I’ve always been prone to do, but I did indeed get the deed done. Like I almost always do.

I am not good with deadlines, as you can imagine.

Every fall, my mom would tell me to have my furnace checked and every year I’d tell her that I would. But then, I just wouldn’t because I never really had…

  1. The money to do so.
  2. The desire to know if something was wrong with it.

This happened every year since 2009, when I bought this damn condo which has turned into the bane of my existence. (I know, I sound like such a whiny little twat!)

My self loathing is strong today.

Back in 2017, my furnace was acting shady, just like my ex husband was. A friend helped me out financially, but instead of fully replacing the old gal, I got somebody to fix it up some, because well, new furnaces are not fucking cheap.

It worked alright that winter and even last winter it was doing mostly fine until around April, when it started not to blow.

When the weather started to turn this year, I (haha) procrastinated and used my space heater. That was all fine and dandy. I even went out and bought another one a couple of weeks ago to help me not to have to turn my furnace on! 

Guess what happened last night, you guys?

It fucking snowed. I mean, I live in fucking Cleveland for fuck sake!! What did I expect?

I woke up to a bitterly cold bedroom and a frosty nose.

My thermostat said that it was 60 degrees.

I quickly turned on both of my space heaters to super duper mode (it’s 66 now.)

So I decided to see if maybe the furnace magically fixed itself these past few months, but now it’s blowing ice cold air, but only from two of the things. So I sighed in defeat, turned it off, had a quick panic attack and then went on Google to search for large room space heaters. After much research, I found one on Amazon Prime (my kid gets a discount due to being a college student, but she graduates next month) and ordered the best that I could afford to buy. It’ll be here tomorrow, so that will be our main heat source downstairs and the other two are for our bedrooms, one for her and one for me.

The procrastinator doesn’t like leg cramps.

It’ll be much like the summer with our fans running 24/7. They make these things now with so many safety features, but I still hear my mom saying to be careful because they could overheat and we’ll all die in a house fire.

I do my best to take care of my two dogs and my daughter, who might be getting ready to turn 23 soon, but is still a kid who looks to her mother (me) to take care of business. Even when I have no idea what the fuck I am doing.

Which is quite often.

I lost both of the people that I would turn to in times of crisis, my mom and asshat, although being a worthless lump of poo he was at least another adult.

I don’t want him back, hell no, it’s just that I was at least able to pretend that he was affected by the problem as well and it wasn’t only my dilemma to solve.

My boyfriend lives with his elderly mother and not to talk smack, but he doesn’t know how it feels not to have a warm house to live in and what to do when something breaks. He’s a great guy, but there are times when our differences stand out like a zit on an alabaster ass.

I am very tired of the bullshit that life throws. But, I guess that due to my inability to just face the bullshit instead of putting it off, I make it worse.

I can see my mom up in heaven doing a face palm.

That girl of mine will never change.


I usually spend about an hour editing my posts, but today I say fuck it. I’m leaving it as is. 

Peace

I’ve been desperately seeking peace.

I find it in pieces here and there, but the world is a chaotic place and not at all peaceful most of the time.

I try to look inside myself for the peace that I crave so badly. I can sense that it’s there, just waiting for me to tap into it somehow.

Underneath the anger and betrayal of my ex-husband, there must be some peace pooled there waiting for me to sip at it.


I miss my mom. The tears are finally here after days of feeling this numb ache that seems to be my new normal. I allow myself to feel as I feel without too much judgement because I’ve been doing that to myself for far too long and I’m actually really tired of it.

howdoesgrieffeeljustafteradeathorloss2cyoumayfeelemptyandnumb2casifyouareinshock..jpg

Grief is a hot mess.

I miss my mom, although I’m still so thankful that she isn’t suffering anymore. She was in so much pain, she was full of fear and so extremely depressed. I hated it, I hated seeing her like that. I still have a difficult time looking at photos of her from within the last 4 years, preferring to remember her when she was still somewhat healthy and happy.

Yes, I’m pretty sure that peace must come from within ourselves, but it’s as elusive as a calorie free piece of cake.


There’s an old song lyric that’s been bouncing around in my head the last few days.

I’m half alive but I feel mostly dead.

That was by Jewel, from way back in 1995. I was still just a young adult when she was popular. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Where the fuck do the years go? Yet as much as I want to go back, I also do not want to start over.

I’m too tired to do that…besides, I’m so close to finding my peace, I don’t want anything to go screwing it up.