Redefining Societal Expectations of Parents

01 Mar

This post is dedicated to all those out there that were not so happy with the parent(s) they were born to….

Life is not something that can be explained in concrete terms.

Parents have children that they may not be ready to raise appropriately all the time.  Does that mean that they are bad parents?

My husband and I were watching a Steve Wilko Episode yesterday – about a mother who purposely got her daughter hooked on heroin just so that she could pay her bills from the prostitution money that her daughter was able to bring in.

Listen…….I can’t argue the fact that this woman was in every sense a “bad” parent……but, the daughter was able to move on with her life by managing to get to a rehab program and stick to it and despite the hardships and temptations of heroin, this young girl was able to bring herself out of the black hole of addiction.

Does that make her mother a good mother?

The mother who pushed heroin on her daughter ended up giving birth to a great kid……better than most……shouldn’t the mother get credit?

Everyone will agree that the mother gets no credit for raising a smart girl.

Buit….why does everyone also agree that the mother should pay with her life for raising a child that isn’t as smart.

Parenting is a funny thing.  If you suck at it… lose.

If you were great at it (in your opinion) you lose as well……because the credit goes to the child for the child’s own accomplishments.

Let me tell you about my life with my mother.

My mother was a child born to a set of holocaust survivors.  My grandfather was a survivor of Aushwitz, one of the most deadly concentration camps in Germany, and my grandmother was a survivor of various work camps….not deadly, but grueling for any human being to have to live through.

I remember hearing a story that my grandfather and grandmother used to tell with pride…….they used to brag about how well disciplined my mother was…….if she would dare leave the house with her sweatshirt on backwards (which apparently she did occasionally), they would beat her for it.

And many other stories like this one.

I was the first born of my parents.

I am not going to discuss my father, because that is going to be a different post all together….but I want to discuss my mother.

I grew up being scared shitless of her.  My brother and I used to hide when we would hear her bed creak – an indication that she was about to wake up and come and get us.

I remember being left in charge of my sister, who used to be an undisciplined brat, and if I tried to control her in anyway, my mother would make sure I paid for my abuse two fold…….she felt protective of my sister because she identified with her.

I remember being responsible for things that typically mothers themselves are supposed to be responsible for…such as cooking dinner for the family…..and if I didn’t fulfill my household obligations (despite my homework obligations), I would be swiftly taken care of……a good smack where ever her hand landed.

She never failed to let me know what a pathetic human being I was……I didn’t get the best grades and I had no plans for my future.

If I needed any help…..I knew not to go to my mother for it.

Among many other stories that I could tell….this is my favorite……

My friend and her father came to pick me up one day and I was still in the shower when they arrived at my house.   I shaved my legs in the shower and happened to have nicked myself.

When I came out to greet my friend and her father, my mother noticed that there was a cut on my leg from shaving…….

She gave me a good smack and told me what an idiot I was for nicking my leg.

I had nothing to say, I was simply embarrassed……but my friends knew that my mother did not like me – or my friends (the few that I had) that much.

My mother was typical.  She disciplined me the way that she thought she should.  She didn’t “abuse” me if the definition of abuse is locking your child in a closet and not feeding them for a week and then beating them when they come out of it.

But……she hurt my self esteem.

I was “disciplined” since I was born……my mother thought breast feeding was disgusting.

“Tough Love” was her favorite expression.

I left my home the minute I turned 17 and didn’t look back.  I was not interested in being under the control of my mother for the rest of my life.

I didn’t care whether she was right or wrong or crazy or sane……..I wanted to be free of her clutches.

I spent the next 15 years emotionally suffering from my experience in my mother’s home.  It affected my entire persona….which affected my entire life.

I never felt good enough.  I was disciplined, yes……my bosses loved me.  I was the best employee….like a soldier……but, so what….that was all that I was… employee.

I never felt that I was good enough……so I married a man that felt the same way……I was not good enough.

I continued this pattern until finally something in my head cracked under pressure landed me in a hospital.

Nowadays, I don’t care about whether I was “good” enough……or if I did the “right” thing…..or if I am “smart”…..or if I am “presentable”……or if I am “lazy”…..or if I am “stupid”…..

I am me.

I don’t give one crap about what anyone thinks about me and my thoughts…….

Except…..that for some reason I haven’t grown up enough to be above what my mother thinks of me.

She has been disguising herself as “Linda” and attempting to fuck with me through comments on my blog.

I realized it was my mother because I got a pit in my stomach when I had to answer “Linda” and I couldn’t understand why there was so much venom in her comments.

What did “Linda” have against me.

I suspected that it was my mother, and checked the IP address……and lo and behold…..”Linda” is “Dina’… mother.

Having children myself, I can’t imagine what thrill it would give me to pretend to be someone else and rip my daughters apart on their blogs anonymously.

My mother claims it was just a joke to see how long it would take me to figure it out.

She told me that she thinks controversy is good (although she thinks my blog is silly) and I have to get used to the fact that not everybody will agree with my perspective.

I completely understand that not everyone will agree with my perspective…….but don’t attack me for having one.

I call this blog PEACEFUL controversy  for a reason.

Now…..I ask you…..

My mother provided me with a roof, food and the basic essentials for life –including a private Jewish education.

She did not lock me in a closet and starve me.

She did not set me on fire or have my father rape me.

I am emotionally OK today………

But………was my mother a good mother?

Did I not have life long affects from her method of discipline?

Do I blame her for my problems? ……NO!

Do I think that I want to emulate her parenting skills?


Am I a good parent?

According to many opinions……NO.

Do I think I am a good parent…..YES

Do my kids appreciate me?

I have no idea……..but……what ever success that they acquire (G-d willing) in life… is their own success.

What ever failures they meet throughout their life…..It is their own failures.

I am only equipped with how I think a parent should be…….

Just like everyone else.

Show me a perfect kid……and I’ll show you a perfect parent.

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12 responses to “Redefining Societal Expectations of Parents

  1. everysensory

    March 1, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Wow. What a journey you have been on! I appreciate your honesty and the strength that shines through from this article. Be proud of you! Was your mother a good mother? Not, apparantly, to you. And no supportive family member or friend disguises themselves and rips apart your work. Shame on her. My aunt used to say that our children grow up despite us, and thats true in a lot of cases! If we provide food, water, shelter, love, appropriate boundaries – then we are doing just fine. Thanks for the interesting read!

    • Peaceful Controversy

      March 1, 2012 at 2:32 am

      Exactly….there are basics that parents generally provide for their children….after that….children are on their own.
      Because no matter how well you think you have done as a parent…your children will have a different opinion.
      Thank you for your comment and support!

  2. Linda

    March 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I did not rip up my daughters posts up, I disagreed with her, because I do disagree with some of her views and she will not allow me to disagree. She gets very angry. So, I was curious to begin with what would happen if I posted as someone she didn’t know and expressed my opinion of some of the things she was saying. I wanted to see if she reacted as badly as she did when she knew it was me. Further on, I realized that some peaceful controversy might be a good thing for the blog but she doesn’t believe me.

    She thinks I don’t love her but she is wrong I do love her but I don’t agree with some of the conclusions she has made. Do I except her to change no, but I do expect to be able to put my two cents in for whatever it is worth. She takes it as tearing up and I am unable to change that perspective, so what am I to do. Just shut up I guess.

    I did not tell her blog was silly. I told her blog was very good although I didn’t agree with many things she said. I told her some of her comments are silly. If you read the Linda posts you will see that I am not tearing her apart, but just disagreeing and putting my perspective on them. I forgot which post it was but she put me in my place very nicely as she pointed out how mistaken some of my comments were. I think it was the one on parenting. That is what makes a blog interesting; not people agreeing with your view point all of the time. Linda should not have given Shayna a stomach ache but she should have given her a challenge.

    As far as the rest of what Shayna says she does a little embellishment in her description of her childhood but this is what she remembers so I am unable to change her perspective ; however my favorite line in her comments which does show a little of how unfair some of her comments are, is ” she (being me) did not set me on fire or have my father rape me” Well I guess father’s don’t rape children on their own, mother’s have them do it . Shayna had a very good father and I have a very good husband I might add and he would never dream of raping anyone, but men that do rape children usually do so on their own and usually are not usually pushed to do so by the child’s mother.

    My final comment is I am amazed at how often I see parents leave their children, sometimes for good reasons sometimes not and they are given up for adoption, or children raised by drunk, abusive parents and yet the child manages to forgive and still love their parent because parenting is not a job any of us are trained for . However it also amazes me how often the opposite is true, you raise a child, do as much as you can for them, love them the best way you know how and they wind up hating you, resenting you and never forgiving you if they think you did a bad job, which according to them you may have done. As is the case with Shayna she thinks I was a terrible parent by her standards, and she is not willing to forgive me, but yet if I didn’t raise her with all of my flaws and came into her life in adulthood without all the bitter memories she probably would love me. Interesting dynamics, that are also part of human nature. .

    • Peaceful Controversy

      March 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      There is no embellishment… are delusional….
      This whole comment is delusional and I am not going to stand for it anymore.
      I never called you a bad mother….READ THE POST AGAIN!!!!!
      what I said was the truth and you cannot handle the truth.
      You did not “challenge” me in a way a person who doesn’t know someone would normally “challenge” them…..You “challenged” me like you always do… poking at me
      You weren’t even commenting on what I wrote about….you were just commenting on your own thoughts that had nothing to do with what I was saying!!
      HOW DO YOU THINK I KNEW IT WAS YOU???????!!!!!!!!
      You even found a way to tear me a new one for the rape statement….what is wrong with you?
      What does my father being a good father have to do with me saying that “my mother did not make my father rape me”
      Don’t you understand what I was saying?
      Read the post again and this time take YOURSELF out of it for once!!!!
      Actually, what I did was keep it clean and held myself back from really exposing what you did to me as a child.
      Stop deluding yourself and think about what it was that you did to me and how you treated me and how you still treat me.
      I have two daughters and I have no reason to want to tell them how bad they are all the time.
      And…..if you are insinuating that I “left” my daughters…which you have in the past… are only doing it (and all the other things you like criticize and tear me apart for)
      to make YOURSELF feel better about what kind of parent you were.
      You don’t even understand that I had to separate myself from everything – BECAUSE OF MY LOW SELF ESTEEM!!!!!
      Let me say it one more time!!!
      NO…She did not lock me in a closet and starve me.
      She did not set me on fire or have my father rape me.
      I cannot stay quiet anymore. I cannot take this anymore. All I am is nice to you and you feel it necessary to pick me apart everywhere…..and now you found a way to do it through my personal blog.
      Why do feel it necessary to point out my flaws every time I speak to you?
      don’t even answer me because you just make me mad….
      that you are correct about.

    • Sarah Ringelberg

      March 17, 2012 at 12:37 am

      You do not have to agree with your daughter, but continually voicing contrary opinions will only damage your relationship further.

      I believe that (nearly) all parents love and do their best raising their children. We can only give to our children what we have to give and many of us do not have enough. What we CAN do, at any point, is to stop hurting them by disagreeing, arguing and giving negative feedback. We need to try very hard as parents to build up our children and not allow our own “stuff” to get in the way.

      If you love your daughter and want a better relationship with her, you will consider what I have said.

  3. Cheryl Baumgartner

    March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I read this and identified with the discipline part. Up until the day my mother passed away she had the ability to make me feel like a naughty two year old. I remember as a teen muttering “pain in the ass” more than once but…that discipline was always tempered with love.

    Yes she would pop me a good one in a heartbeat, but when I did something right her praise knew no bounds. I was able to appreciate the discipline she dished out. Sometimes with mothers and daughters the conflict is too great to ever resolve. I consider myself extremely blessed in the relationship I had with my mom.

    • Peaceful Controversy

      March 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      There is nothing wrong with discipline….it is necessary -especially for the way kids are growing up nowadays. Kids need to put in their place.
      But I wrote this post specifically to get out feelings that I have been harboring since I am little and unable to express.
      I am a 40 year old woman and my mother still likes to think she has to put me in my place….
      I am not open to her unreasonableness on the phone anymore and when she starts with me I will make it very clear that I will no longer take verbal abuse from her. I am no longer a child…..
      So she found a way to get to me through my blog.
      And…..she must really get to me, because it took only two comments for me to be able to identify “Linda” as my mother.
      I have avoided talking about my parents because I know she reads the posts, but, of course, parents have an impact on the personality of their children.
      I happen to think that I am very well adjusted – more than most and I attribute that to my parents….and I tell them that as well as thank them for being tough with me…..
      but there were hurdles that I had to get over….as all people do.
      Were they due to my parents mistakes? It doesn’t even matter……I stand by my thoughts that I express in my posts…..
      If only my mother would read them, instead of picking them apart and focusing on a sentence here or a sentence there just to mess with me.

      • Cheryl Baumgartner

        March 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm

        I certainly understand where you are coming from. I was just noting that discipline not tempered by positive reinforcement can cause just as many problems between a parent and an adult child.

  4. Linda

    March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    You knew it was me by checking the ip address or so you said. Don’t you think I figured you could do that?
    The part about your father being a good father prefaces the statement I was going to make about father’s raping their children.

    As far as tearing you a new one for your rape statement, I was just pointing out that your rape statement told much about how you saw things when it concerned me and it does. Not tearing you a new one just pointing out something you could learn from. I have never told you you were a failure and never thought you were a failure and you always did very well in school, so I do not know where the bad grades were.

    As far as not saying I was a bad mother

    But………was my mother a good mother?

    I would say the question says it all, doesn’t say she was a bad mother, you are correct, but does question her being a good mother.

    This is your blog and it is a good blog and you can say what you want on your blog about me or anyone else.

    Finally, I must correct one thing I did say. You had and still have a good father.

  5. Linda

    March 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I just want you to know this. I was not aware that you had a low self esteem and am very sorry for my part in that; however, you should know that I think you are smarter, kinder and prettier than me and most people I know, and can write better also. Your web site is wonderful and I am sorry if I spoiled some of it for you, but you have done this alone and it is something to be very proud of. You have accomplished many good things in your life and as I have told you before the bust up of your marriage was not your fault and all the terrible things that came as a result of that also makes me and made me sad. You are a wonderful person and I love you . I don’t always agree with you, but that is not a big thing and I put in my two cents not with the intent of cutting you down and I am sorry I come across that way.

  6. miteshisdelicious

    June 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    your blog is really good.


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