Parentified Child & Other Thoughts...

It took me a while to realize and understand that I was and am a parentified child. I parented my mother since I could remember and tread the difficult terrain of having to grow up quickly by taking care of an adult emotionally, and still be expected to fulfill the role of a child when it was convenient. My childhood was difficult as a result of this and I understand that a lot of people (especially older or from certain cultures) will not understand what I am talking about. I am fine with this even though it can be frustrating at times when opening up about this topic.

Today was Mother’s Day. My boyfriend had been urging me to call my mother to just “dip in” and say hello. However, one does not just merely “dip in” when having a conversation with her. So, instead I chose to get busy. I chose to instead take care of myself as an adult and honor myself as a mother. However, I was not fully able to celebrate myself today.

Today my boyfriend and I decided to do the grocery shopping. Our living situation is “brutal” (as a co-worker of mine put it). We live with a family that takes advantage of our situation (our situation being that we are young, poor, and desperate). My boyfriend and I make it through, but we often do not eat the proper amount of times a day due to budget constraints. For me personally, my mental health takes a toll due to the instability. I often lock myself in the room we “rent” and don’t go out for days. I just work (from home, mainly), network, and write.

So, as we were heading to the first supermarket on the itinerary that I made, he began to talk about the women that he used to date and their kids. At first, I was fine with this, but about 30 minutes into the conversation, and him recalling memories of these children, I began to get annoyed and anxious. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason. It was a mix of thoughts swirling in my head.

I was:

  1. Realizing how angry I still am at my mother for how she has treated me.

  2. Realizing the praise mothers automatically get for simply giving birth to a child without consideration as to whether they truly nurture a child.

  3. Jealous! Envious of the automatic pedestal mothers get on one sole day, but conflicted due to the lack of appreciation on the other 364 days of the year.

Now the realization that I was jealous of the amount of respect mother’s hold in society led me to a feeling of sadness. I will not get into it in this entry, but there is a possibility that I may not be the first woman to give my boyfriend a child.

I used to always think that I would have a child, or children, after my late 30s or even once I reached 40. I thought that I would be okay with that and it was because I never really expected to fall for or get into meaningful relationship. That was my “plan”, but life often has a way of not going according to your “plan”.

And so when I discovered that there is a possibility that my boyfriend would be having his first child by another woman that wasn’t me, I was devastated. I was angry. I wasn’t angry at him or at the mother-to-be. It isn’t a situation in which he cheated on me. I was still angry nonetheless at the fact that I would possibly “second” at some point, and to me that meant “less important”.

He and I have discussed my feelings, and for the most part I am no longer angry, just sad. So, even though I wanted to try and own today and celebrate myself, I could not. I just ended up feeling sad and no amount of “domestic duties” could take it away. So I’m just working through it by writing it out and reflecting.

There’s no nice way to end this piece. So I’ll just say that I wish a wonderful Mother’s Day to all who’ve been mothers to themselves or others.

V.