This is the third entry of “The Chip On My Shoulder Is A Boulder,” a series on the complex relationships between black women and their mothers. The series will run over the next two weeks. Previous entries include “The Adoptee” and “The Rebel.”
Parenting can be hard to grasp for any mother, but for the teenage, unwed mother childrearing can be a crap shoot.
It’s not that these young women who become mothers before their maturity are bad people. They’re just lost people. Confused and making things up as they go along for good and for worse.
In today’s entry on the complex relationship between mother’s and daughters The Gypsy writes about being the child of someone who was still mentally a child, struggling to raise her two daughters and find herself while drifting wistfully through life.
My mother got pregnant the night of her high school graduation and thus begins the demise of our relationship.
She went away to college in complete denial of my existence. When she finally accepted my imminent arrival, she decided to give me up for adoption. That didn’t end up happening, but I believe these were the seeds of my discord.
I hold equal parts admiration and frustration towards my mother. I admire her strength, tenacity and fearlessness. She was able to raise my sister and I basically singlehandedly. She juggled full time jobs and school and kept us in line. My mother has gone to school for accounting, real estate, cosmetology, phlebotomy, bus driving, computer science and security, and is now in school to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License so she can drive trucks.
Most of these were while we were growing up. Some she completed, some she didn’t. Thus the frustration. Now in her early 40s, my mother has yet to choose a career path and rarely stays in one locale or job for more than 6 months. Her gypsy ways have left me longing for stability and unsure of my own path. I feel like the world holds endless possibilities for me, but I’m also fearful of making the wrong choice that could leave me in ruin.
We speak every so often, once a month would be considered frequently. She is loving, yet incessantly critical of me. The last thing I need is someone buying me fruits and vegetables reminding me how they’ll help my hay fever. And if she tells me how I’ll never get a husband due to my penchant for clutter one more time, so help me God.
I think we are at peace now because I have come to realize that parenting doesn’t come with a handbook. Having kids so young essentially forced her to put her life and personal growth on hold for 20 years. It’s like we’re at the same stage of life, finding our passion and purpose. I love my mother dearly, and even though I think she could have made some better choices, I think it all worked out fine. Let’s face it, all of our parents screwed us up somehow. I choose to learn from her mistakes, and likely make a set of my own, with my future kids.