The baby shower is this Sunday. I'm hoping for the strength to survive it. Not from just the obvious reasons, like still feeling uncomfortable talking about the pregnancy... but, well, my mother is supposed to be hosting it.
I don't talk about her a lot on here, because I try to limit what I say about certain family members. My mother is mentally ill (certified by the gov't). Most people don't know how seriously ill she is, won't admit how much worse she's gotten, or don't believe me when I say that she's mentally ill. She has no verbal filter, she thinks everything is about her, that she's got it worse than everyone else, and that she's going to die. She forgets things, like conversations we just had or recipes she made for the holidays every year since I was a child- and she gets worse every year. She functions in society, her social worker hasn't put restrictions on her- she can go where she wants, drive, live on her own, she's just off.
She lives on her own in an efficiency apartment for the disabled. She tells people that she's on disability for physical reasons, and maybe by now she is too on top of the mental... I don't know. She does have physical issues, but she also exaggerates drastically (she's lied about cancer before- yes, we know with certainty she lied about it). She says she can't breathe, she's even got oxygen at home (which she refuses to use) oh, and she's also a chain smoker.
I love my mother, but she's extremely challenging. When I can, I limit my visits with her to less than an hour. Because honestly, I end up wanting to bang my head into a wall and pull my hair out before that hour is even up.
She's been trying to help us out, and I appreciate it. I think her heart is in the right place. But it's very trying. She only wants to come during certain times of the day: 2pm is okay but 3pm is too late because it might start getting dark. In case you're wondering, yeah sunset is 8pm here, and she lives about 20 minutes away... so I'm still confused on how 3pm is too late? And don't get me started about if it's raining (even sprinkles are dangerous).
- She was getting hand-me-downs from my cousin's house for us. I told her repeatedly I did not want some of the stuff because of safety reasons (Heck, the crib she wanted me to take was probably 10 years old, missing it's hardware, and deplorable!) So, what does my mother do? She brings it all over anyway. And rather than leave the stuff I don't want in her car and drop it off at the thrift store (which was on her way home, and they would have unloaded it for her) she just left it at my house and stormed off. Apparently I offended her because I told her I didn't want that stuff (which I told her before she picked it up)... oh, and because I asked her not to smoke around me in my own house again. I think that was the clincher.
Okay, I know she doesn't understand. I'm all for hand-me-downs but we still haven't had our shower yet, plus we had planned to buy certain things new (like the crib)... and you know if this baby survives it will be our first, and possibly our only, living child. I think I'm entitled to have some things that I want for my child; I mean, we've waited 4 years for this.
- Back to the smoking... yeah, all the stuff she brings over from her home for the baby reeks of smoke. I used to be a smoker, but my stuff never smelled this bad according to A-, who has never been a smoker. She chain smokes, and she doesn't think twice about lighting up with me in her apartment (with windows closed), or in her car, or in my own house. She will proudly tell you that she smoked through all of her pregnancies, and her 4 children turned out fine (besides the awful asthma). I don't give a fuck if she thinks smoking didn't hurt her babies, what's done is done... but damn it, this is my baby. I stopped smoking for my health and my future children's health. She can stop smoking for 1 hour in my presence.
- So the shower... she offered to do our shower, and I had to accept even though I had doubts about this. If I had turned her down, she would have thrown a tantrum and a major woe-is-me campaign. But she's causing me serious stress about this. She's already complained about money (which meant she was trying to get us to help foot the bill- this isn't the first time she's done this). She wouldn't let my MIL help with it at all initially, saying "there isn't much to do for a shower." My mom likes to do things alone, so she was being very controlling about this. Yet she kept trying to make me fill out the invites and envelopes for the shower? Which I explained several times was bad etiquette, and she kept arguing with me about it. I had decided on telling her to cancel and have someone else throw it, but she'd already sent the invites out.
She told me she got the invites at the dollar store, which would have been fine if they were decent quality. But they were so cheaply made that my friend's was coming out of the envelope due to how thin the envelopes were! So now I'm just hoping the invites didn't get lost in the mail from escaping the envelopes... ugh. She mailed them out a week later than we agreed on, so guests have limited notice of the shower as well (if they even got their invites). I had to call her again the other night because MIL was really really really wanting to help. My mom started blowing this off again, but we kept talking and she started telling me "well, this still needs done," and "I didn't really finish this," and after I finally got her to spill it... I found out that EVERYTHING she told me was "already done", was in fact not done AT ALL. At the end of the conversation, I got her to agree to call MIL directly and see what she can get done.
It then took them another week to make contact because my mom was worried I gave her the wrong number (even after checking with me multiple times and confirming it was the correct number), and then she refused to call it again or text it because she just didn't think it was the right number. Ugh. MIL got ahold of her in the end... a week before the shower.
To be fair... I know that I have no one to blame but myself for agreeing to let her do this. I knew how she was. But I also knew how she'd react if I turned her down. I thought I was choosing the lesser of two evils. She'd blindsided me and asked to do it very early on, before anyone else could offer. If someone else had, turning her down would have been easier. I'm not trying to sound like a whiny bitch, but my MIL or my best friend would love to be have thrown me a shower. They even offered to do a separate shower, but I didn't see the point in doing that because honestly there aren't that many people to invite; it's going to be a very small shower to begin with. I would much rather have had my best friend do the shower though, my stress meter would be so much lower right now.
It's too late now, the invites are out. The shower is set. I was dreading this shower because of people acting like this is my first pregnancy and saying asinine things... but honestly, my mom worries me more.
That's totally not the only thing stressing me about my mom, but if I wrote everything down it'd be a novel (well more of a novel than it already is!) I really am thankful that she's trying, that we're even getting a shower, and I am grateful for the hand-me-downs I got (I did get a lot of very nice/useful stuff!)... but there's just some stuff I could do without.
I will have a much more positive post tomorrow or the next day, but for now... I just needed to unload. She pulled some crap last week that had me really frazzled (not going into it, that's an even longer story)... but I'm just at my wits end.
I wish I had a "normal" crazy mom; you know the type where you say your mom is crazy, but she's not really crazy? I always fall into the trap of trying to help her, or going to her when I have stuff going on in my life because, well, she's my mother. But the truth is, she stopped being my mother a long time ago. We go through the motions, and I love her... but as her mental illness got worse, she checked out on life and being a mother. I can remember so many good memories of her from when I was little, but by the time I was 11 I started noticing things changing, my mother was there... but she wasn't there.
I wonder if my heart will ever realize what my mind did all those years ago.