Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Help! I'm Becoming My Mother!

I love my mom!

She is one of the most non-offensive people I have ever met.   

She quietly tolerates her grown offspring's differing values and opinions, rarely contributing her own and never subjecting them (us) to emotional maternal tirades.   Her tongue must have scar tissue a mile thick from the number of times she's bitten back angry retorts, complaints, unsolicited advice, and those four sanctimonious little words - "I told you so!"  She has the heart of a servant, jumping up to accommodate the needs of others, often at the expense of her own.  And she's been patient beyond belief as we try to help her adjust to living alone.

Well... not entirely alone.

G.O.B. Bachelor Brother is still there.


Anyhow, if my mother is such a saint, why do I object to becoming her?

Because I am -

- for real!

Mean & Ornery and Hard to Get Along With (M.O.H.G.A.W.) is my mother's catch phrase, her standard response to any inquiry as to how she's doing.  The thing is, she's not.  She really is just as I described her--- nowadays, that is.  Such was not always the case while I was growing up.  Granted, my dad was the one with the larger than life personality.  His strong opinions ruled our household, and Mom took the backseat, not the driver's.  I've always known I take after him.  However, while in the throes of raising her rambunctious brood (often alone while Dad traveled) Mom was, more than occasionally, MOHGAW.  Just like I am now.  I've often blamed perimenopause, lack of  sleep and exercise, and heck! - even lack of date nights... but really, I'm pretty sure now it must be hereditary.  The dominant gene gets passed from mother to every child-rearing daughter, and is especially prevalent in those with more than 2.5 offspring - in other words, the outnumbered ones. 

When the Critters don't pick up after themselves, have to be nagged to help out, and just generally try my patience, I can be MOHGAW to the max!  You've probably heard the saying - "When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"  Well, I am the epitome of that, plus infinity!  My only saving grace is that I acknowledge it and am striving to change.  For the most part that involves controlling (with varied degrees of success) not only my tongue and temper, but self-pitying thoughts.  You know the kind - "Am I the only one in this house that knows how to load a dishwasher/run a vacuum/use a toilet brush!?!"

Probably my mother struggled with the same issue.  But as busy as I am, she had almost twice as many of us to raise, so I don't think she had time to think - period.

I've come to think of MOHGAW as the homemaker's demon.  It doesn't sit on your shoulder battling it out with your conscience.  No, it hides under layers of forced smiles and buried frustration until some poor, unsuspecting Critter leaves one too many dirty socks laying around and then - 


- the next thing they know they're grounded for a month and doing everyone's laundry!  And the rest are tiptoe-ing around on eggshells till Momster has crawled back into her ever-deepening pit of mother guilt.

I still have alot to learn about making MOHGAW tongue-in-cheek and not a reality, but there is an upside.  Since adopting "mean and ornery and hard to get along with" as my own catch phrase,  my friends think I'm funnier than I really am, and my Critters are reminded that at any moment I might crack! 

This hasn't really changed any behaviors on their part, but it does keep them guessing....

... and there's always the hope that in the future, they will think of me with the same warmth and affection as I do my mom.

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