It’s taken me a while, but I finally figured out why I haven’t been posting here.
It’s because there is something so huge, something dominating my life so much, that NOT writing about it has been like a stone in my mouth, unable to share this core truth of my life in this place – my blog, the place where I share what’s bothering me, what’s making me happy, and what’s making me crazy.
And right now, something is making me crazy.
It’s this: living with my mom is really, really, REALLY hard.
Before I say too much, know that my mom reads here (not all the time, but occasionally) so I know she might read this. Which is why I’ve stayed silent. But the truth is that I cannot keep writing around this dominating issue.
Also know that I’m so grateful my mom survived last year when she was sick, and I’m so sorry that she’s still struggling so hard both physically and mentally. I know it’s been terrible for her too. I’m also grateful to have time with her, to watch her have time with Tori, and to be able to offer her our home to live in.
But that said, sometimes the lack of privacy KILLS ME.
I don’t think I fully understood the things about my life that I cherished; small things like sitting in comfortable silence with Charlie in the living room after Tori has gone to bed, working or watching TV (sometimes doing both), sometimes injecting random commentary at each other about whatever – emails, stuff we read on Facebook, what’s on the TV…
Add my mother to that equation, and the dynamic is totally off. First, she hasn’t had a television in 40 years, so she’s not used to the way the shows have changed pace (no opening theme song, no closing credits, that sort of thing – not to mention how uniform actors and actresses look these days), so she’s often frustrated with trying to follow the pace. This means instead of my normal double-duty style of TV watching (working or reading blogs while watching TV), I have to do a triple duty of pausing the shows to explain key plot points to my mom.
I wish I could say I do that gracefully. And maybe I did, initially. But it’s been a year now, and I’m afraid I get impatient. So does Charlie.
Even when we do get some silence, if I toss an offhand comment at Charlie about an far-flung friend on Facebook, my mom wants to know what I’m talking about, the whole back story of how we met that friend, and why whatever thing is happening in their lives that I felt was remarkable enough to mention out loud was happening.
I’m sorry to say, I find this EXHAUSTING. And I’m not often graceful about that either.
Charlie and I have long known that we need to spend quality time together to have a happy and peaceful relationship. In the nearly twenty years we’ve been together, we know that when we began sniping and bitching at each other all the time, it’s time to get out and spend the day together, alone.
With my mom living here, we still get plenty of date nights (finances permitting), but what we didn’t know is how much we relish our quiet time together, and our time just being in the house.
I miss it. I miss it, terribly, and not having it is hurting my marriage.
We’ve set some boundaries; my mom goes downstairs a couple nights a week (mostly because she hates shows like True Blood). I know that even though she has an easy chair down in her space, no one likes feeling like they’ve been “sent to their room.” I try hard to be understanding, but I’m failing, all the time, every day.
My irritation has grown so great (with no help at all from what is likely perimenopause), I spoke with my therapist about changing my medications and now I’m on a different antidepressant. It seems to be helping. I’m also working double and triple time to be nice to Charlie, all the time, so he doesn’t feel pressure from both me and my mom.
Charlie, by the way, is being awesome about this. AWESOME.
So is Tori.
We’ve all done some major adjusting.
But, frankly, it’s hard. And in some ways, it’s not really working out.
Worst of all, when I look ahead of us and see no end in sight to living with my mother…
It’s not good. It’s just not good.
I’m struggling, folks. I’m leaving again on another trip (this time to Utah for the Evo Conference), I am not only filled with the traditional mommy guilt but also with guilt about leaving Charlie alone to cope with my mom and with Tori. It sucks.
I’ve coped in ways that have been, well, not great. Venting on twitter. Yelling at Charlie. Yelling at my mom. Hiding in my room, and leaving Charlie and Tori alone with my mom. Accepting more invitations to local events than usual.
So there it is, folks. The reason I’ve been away from this blog. I’ve been terrified that I was going to blast you all with a slew of intense negativity and bile about how much I hate living with my mom. But I don’t hate it, not really. I’m just…. tired. Weary.
I’m going to write over at the Uppercase Lowdown this week about things I wish I’d known in advance about living with three generations under one roof. I’ll link over when I do it.
Thanks for listening.