I don’t think there is any such thing as the perfect mum. Most try their best to raise their kids and provide them with a stable environment. Kids don’t always experience that though. Often parents are too busy fighting, gambling, taking drugs or just plain ignoring the kids. Some parents are so busy they rarely even see their kids. Others have filled the child’s life with so many activities that there is no time for family. I’ve got my opinions on that but opinions are like – well you know. I’m not a perfect mum. I’ve fucked up plenty of times.
I’ve got four kids. My daughter lives near me with her beautiful baby son so we see each other a lot. I look after him often, enjoy spending time with him and also enjoy it when he goes home. Hey, I’m honest. My youngest son lives a few hours away with his five gorgeous and boisterous boys, but we are often in touch via the phone and we visit them every couple of months. We agree to visit them because as my son puts it “the kids would wreck your place in five minutes!” My middle son lives a couple of hours away with his two daughters but they are always busy with work and weekend classes/activities. My oldest son hasn’t spoken to me in over two years but claims he has no problem with me – so I decided to stop worrying about it. He went to live with his dad when he was nearly seven so there’s no surprise he doesn’t feel very close to me.
You can only ask your kids if there’s an issue and if they deny it then the proof is in the communication. When there is no communication or very little communication, there is no relationship. I don’t chase relationships anymore. I have enough to deal with in keeping my head together and full time caring for my mum.
There could be a variety of reasons to why I have such different relationships with my kids but I’ve accepted it’s the way it is. I used to run around trying to visit all the kids when they lived in the same area but with living hours away it just took it’s toll on me and I got tired of doing the visiting.
I have realised that I have been and still can be a critical mum. I have an unreasonable amount of anxiety about decisions my kids make and I’m normally vocal about it. Everyone says you have to let your kid make their own choices and that’s correct. I wish I could have a bipolar watch that beeped each time I am about to say something to one of my kids that will stifle their freedom or the device could just tell you to just fuck off and shut up. Some would say that there are heaps of helicopter parents – but I tend to hover with a boeing 747. My anxiety gets out of control and then the kids just don’t tell me stuff because they obviously worry or don’t want to hear the feedback. Even though I have often been correct with my advice or worry – it’s their life and I have to let them live it. This issue actually makes me very depressed – I just worry too much when I should just let it go. Having bipolar means you often can’t just let shit go. Oh how I wish I could. Well I can, it just normally takes YEARS!
Kids of bipolar mums also have to live with the bone numbing depression, the anxiety and the manic mum and all that entails – even when they don’t fully understand that mum is bipolar. Manic mums can be fun until the unreasonable and aggressive anxiety pops in for a visit or the awful depression where the joy is sucked out of everything. The kids get to know these cycles and while it’s a very good idea to get help about that – by the time you make that decision things are OK again so you don’t bother.
I wasn’t ever really cut out to be a mum. I was young, nowhere near recovered from a traumatic childhood and had only been out of a juvenile hall for a year and a half. Don’t get me wrong – I love my kids but found them hard work – especially three boys all under five years old. I had heaps of help from my mum and I don’t think I would have survived without it. Now the kids are grown and have their own family I know they too make mistakes and will most likely hover over the kids and want to offer advice and lay down rules.
While I know I wasn’t a bad mother – I just hope they do a better job than I did.