As Mother’s Day is almost upon us, I’m going to dedicate this article to whinging about my mother rather than my kids. For those of you who are uncertain of my skill set, I am perfect in every way (I have been compared to that paragon of virtue Martha Stewart) and am therefore well qualified to slate all around me. A verbal sniper if you will.
I am currently recuperating at my Mam and Dad’s house following an operation. I had a pelvic floor and vaginal wall repair, to be discussed at a later date when healed and fabulous. I’ve only been here 3 days and I’ve regressed 20 years. I’m sullen, weepy, irritable and I’ve put on about a stone. I’m on a diet of white bread sandwiches and Deal or No Deal. I have just sobbed through Long Lost Family with my Mam while my Dad roared laughing at us. My Mam has me ensconced on the couch with a pillow under my legs and snacks on tap but I suspect her well of sympathy is drying up, she’s tucking the blanket in a bit too heavy handed.
I do like the predictability of life here : TV shows (with ads!) at scheduled times; chipper on a Monday; the 9 0′ clock cup of tea. Even while I’m a guest at her majesty’s pleasure, my irritation-o’meter is humming. The TV is far too loud. I’ve suggested hearing aids but apparently they’re too expensive so it’s better to have the ornaments wobble as they break the sound barrier. I can’t put anything on the table with out my Mam frantically shouting COASTER! I barely take 2 sips of my tea before the cup is washed and put away. They have their radio alarm clock set for 7am and it blares RTE shite for hours. I’m forced to listen to Joe Duffy and pretend to know what Vincent Browne is about.
In her defense I asked her to submit a list of things that annoy her about me. It was extensive, hurtful and at times ridiculous. She wonders why I need a fresh glass for every drink? I use too many towels and leave a trail of water everywhere (from the tap as my operation dealt with the rest… insert mental winky emoticon). If I replace the toilet roll I don’t face it the right way??!!! I’m too soft with the kids, my house is too messy blah blah blah. My mother has some control/ O.C.D. issues and according to her, I am “so laid back I’m almost horizontal”. My mother is the Don Corleone of the family. If she doesn’t like you she’ll tell you and starts most sentences with “you know what you should do?”. She’s a formidable figure, and comes from a long line of them – most of whom don’t talk to each other ( too many alphas).
However underneath her brash exterior she is the first person I ring in a crisis. She still offers to ring in sick to work for me or “have a word with” someone who’s upset me. She’s got my back and if I had to be stuck in prison with anyone (just watched 26 episodes of Orange is the New Black in 4 days,) it would be her. She doesn’t hand out compliments easily and would prefer to point out a blemish or a bit of extra weight but if she says something nice I treasure it like Gollum and his precious.
In times of great stress in my own home when I feel literally weighed down with adult responsibility and kids, I remember my childhood and being cosseted at home footloose and fancy-free. I’d ring her on the way home from work in my twenties to run a bath for me! Why am I antsy here then? I think I feel I’ve lost my identity, my place in the world. I am kingpin and the don of my own home, free to make and break the rules as I see fit. Free to feck water where I like and put scalding tea on a varnished surface (chill.. nothing is varnished in this house).The kids are my disobedient and often cranky molls. I’m powerless here and I’m not sure I like it.
They say we eventually morph into our mothers. I do watch Deal or no Deal (in the background as I make dinner people, don’t judge) and I enjoy my 9 0′ clock glass of wine but to my husband’s relief I’m more my father than my mother. (Grey hair at 30 and a fondness for booze and an oul party situation)
I read this aloud to my Mam to see if the grammar met her exacting standards, and we both bawled crying at the backhanded compliments I gave her. My Dad looked up from his newspaper to say, “tell them you both cry ALL THE TIME! ” Maybe I’m more like my Mam than I’d like to admit. I have her dark humour, good skin and bunions. I don’t want to get all American about it but Mam you’re the best and I wouldn’t swap you for the world (unless Brad and Angelina are looking for an Irish adoptee).Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve five seasons of Breaking Bad to get through before normal life resumes.
Originally published in Like Magazine.