Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bad Mother?

While attending university, my youngest rents a house with six other students. (Or is it seven? See how bad a mother I am?)

He informed me that a mother of one of these students picks up and delivers her child’s laundry every week. Granted, she lives closer than I do but even if I lived five minutes away I would not do this.

Where’s the benefit to having your child live away from home if you subject yourself to this kind of slave labour?

I also believe this same mother (or perhaps another one — the only thing we know for sure is that it’s not me) does some grocery shopping for her child. Let it be known that I do send leftovers and a few other items with my son when he returns to school after a weekend home. I’m that wonderful. But there’s no way I’d do double-duty on this score.

I miss my kids. How have I learned to console myself in their absence? With the following facts – there’s less laundry, less grocery shopping, less mess, less noise, smaller meals to prepare….

Take away any of these things (which I’ve managed to convince myself are pluses) and I’d be left totally bereft and inconsolable.

Son # 3’s attempts to give me a whopping case of the mother-guilt rarely work.

You know how in High School kids hang out at one another’s homes — often lingering over the dinner hour? The mother of one of his friends prepared a complete roast beef dinner for the group. Perhaps twice. Can’t beat that. Never wanted to. When they descended at our place I handed out money for pizza.

This same mother (and she is a wonderful person — I do like her) made a humongous home-made lasagna when the gang took over our cottage for a weekend. I sent junk food and money.

(I’m seeing a recurrent theme here — one that makes me look really bad. I throw money at my kids in lieu of home-cooked lovin’??)
Must give my head a shake. I refuse to take on any (more) guilt.

I figure if my boys are self-sufficient (although not all of them yet in terms of finances), polite (at least with company), can carry on a good conversation (they’re all smart kids), are sober (at least 90% ?? of the time) and just plain fun to have around, then I’ve done an excellent job.

Conclusion? I’m a good mother.

They can’t ask for more (i.e. laundry pick-up).

Well, they can ask but they aren’t going to get it.


Dorky Dad said...

I knew a guy whose parents paid much of his bills. This was after he graduated from college, got a good job and lived a couple of years on his own.

Some parents have a tough time letting go, methinks.

Beth said...

dorky dad: In this family, once the kids have graduated (and, hopefully found a decent job) the flow of money stops. Son #1 is now on his own.
And even if they don't find a decent job, they'd better find some kind of one. If they end up back home, rent will be paid!
(Are you reading this, my boys?)

Beth said...

No wonder we have the same name....WE ARE TWINS!!! I would NEVER pick up laundry and deliver it to my college aged son...sorry, aint gonna happen. IF he comes home and BRINGS it to me...I'll do it, but he's folding it! And money...well, I do feel sorry for my daughter cuz she is flat busted broke all the time, so I do send her moeny if I have it...which I don't!

But sheesh, ya gotta let them grow up sometime! You rock as a mom!

Beth said...

beth: Despite knowing you only in a "virtual world" sense, I love ya'
Many people have told me NOT to do their laundry when they bring it home - I do it anyway (or finish up what they started). Why not? Just add it to the pile.
And I would help out financially if they found themselves in rough shape. (Help out - not totally support. They do have to learn...)

Anonymous said...

Don't doubt your mothering skills, in the end you children will be far ahead of the others that are being babied by their mothers. I have learnt from hard experiences that street smarts over school smarts are way more important when it comes to living...although school smarts will land you a good job, street smarts will keep your bills paid and food in your tummy.

You are doing a wonderful job as a mother, and remember to enjoy "less work" around the house, you've earned it.

Beth said...

coffee mom: If it can be done, I guess street smarts (common sense) plus school smarts is the ideal. I think my kids have both. They learned a lot "out there" in the big bad world as well as in school.
And I do appreciate the less work around the house - for sure!

rebecca said...

Wow. The guy whose mom brings his laundry every week will probably expect his future wife to handle all the chores. I'm sure mom means well, but he has to learn to do these things on his own!

As an aside, before me and my now-husband moved in together, his mother told him to make sure he picks up after himself. Well, it turns out I'm the messy one. And he does laundry...

Megan said...

And now can we have a blog pertaining to the father who continues to fully financially support his adult girls (house, cars, cell phone bills, gas, cash)? Have I got material for you!!! Don't get me started.....oh wait a sec, I already did.
You, however, rock as a Mom.

Beth said...

rebecca: That young man may expect his future wife to do everything for him - I'm thinking (hoping) he'll be in for a big shock.
And you - oh, slobby one - lucked out.

megan: Definite blog "fodder" - and a very sad/tragic mistake to make re: one's children. For all concerned.

(And you're the second person who has said I "rock" as a Mom. I like the sound of that.)

patricia said...

Yeah, I sure wouldn't want to marry a guy like that! My mom made sure all of us kids were self-sufficient very early on. My brother can cook, clean, and do the laundry, and I'm sure his wife is very grateful.

You are a GREAT mother. It's one thing to love a child, it's another to coddle and spoil. As nice as that mother is, she may be in for some grief with this kid later on because of this excessive hand-holding.

Beth said...

patricia: I confess - I sometimes coddle and spoil. But each of my kids knows how to be self-sufficient. They've been trained.

oreneta said...

Uh, yeah. Good mothers let their kids go. I cannot imagine doing a laundry pick-up and delivery service for my kids. Ever.

Beth said...

oreneta: When you pause and think about it, it's actually quite sad in terms of the mother's life. You have to let go - both for your sake and theirs.

Jackie said...

I've said it before - there is no such thing as a bad parent. How can we judge others? Hopefully,we do the best we can with what we know and have at the time that we are doing it. Not all kids are the same and some (even though they may technically be adults) need that little "extra" - whatever that may be. We try to raise them to be independent and self-sufficient but that does not mean our job is over just because they turn a magic number - 18, 21. Motherhood is a lifetime gig.
If some parent wants to show love by doing laundry and cooking so be it. If others write cheques or provide pizza - so be it too. We can't know what particular circumstances lead to our choices.
Letting go doesn't necessarily mean - sink or swim. We can be there with a life jacket if needed

favourite charity said...

not only as a mother do you "rock" , you are the rock of our family.
As a Mom who is still doing probably more than I should, I DO have my limits!

Beth said...

jackie: To me, letting go means I must realize they have lives that are separate from mine and that I hope we've taught them all they need to know in order to lead fulfilling, happy and useful lives.
Having said that, I will always be there for them with a life jacket.

favourite charity: You can only be a "rock" if you have the love of others to make you strong. And we're all "rocks" in our own ways.

Limits? We do what we can, when we can and when we know it's the right thing to do.

Mom of Three said...

Does she wipe his butt still, too?

C'mon, my kids WILL be doing laundry in their early teens here. I'm a good mom, but self-sufficiency is the name of the game in this boot camp!

Princess Pointful said...

I seriously think these parents are doing their kids a tremendous disservice.
One has to learn to fend for oneself... and most of the time the people who are having their parents dote on them are never learning to do things themselves. I pity their future husbands/wives.

I also think that parents often to this as a way to exert power over their children. Being in my mid-20s, I still have a few friends whose parents pay their rent and similar ridiculousness-- but they use this as the most profound of all guilt trips.

I am proud I had a mom like you :)

Beth said...

mof3: To teach our children to be self-sufficient is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

princess pointful: Good point about the parent "doing all" being a power/guilt trip.
If your mom is like me, then she raised you with a little tough love. And that's harder to do than giving in and spoiling...but benefits all in the long run.
(So you didn't turn out to be a true "Princess!")