Post Mother’s Day–Annemarie Schwarzenbach

Image by Marianne Feilchenfeldt-Breslauer

I happened upon Swiss writer, photographer and travel Annemarie Schwarzenbach while researching lesbian writers who committed suicide in the 1940s–it’s a long story. Anyway, the point is that I found a translated quote by her about her relationship with her mother that, well, struck home:

“She brought me up as a boy and as a child prodigy…She deliberately kept me alone, to keep me with her […]. But I could never escape her, because I was always weaker than her, but, because I could argue my case, felt stronger and that I was right. And while I love her.” (Wikipedia–yes, I read it).

Now that Mother’s Day celebrations have concluded, I would urge all who consider themselves mothers or parents (etc.) to reflect on the impact you are having on your child/children.  Children are not extensions of self, not objects for self-glorification, not old-age insurance, and not little adults.  When you make the decision to have a child, it is not the fault of the child if your life does not work out the way you planned before/while you were pregnant.

A child can never be a failure nor a mistake, and ought never to be used as a tool to ensure relationships with others or with yourself. Being a mother is not a “Get of Jail Free” card that permits emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, or sexual abuse.  Children are not meant to be pitted against each other for amusement or to ensure your role as being in complete emotional control (triangulation). Children are meant to share with each other, learn from each other, grow with each other.  They are not experiments.

I write this for myself, loved ones, friends and anyone else who can relate.

Not all mothers (parents) are equal.  That is a sad truth.

Hey, It’s Mother’s Day, But…

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I’m burnt out.  Absolutely.  Utterly. Completely. My entire being is spent.  I assure you that this is far from the ideal way to begin either Mother’s Day or a blog post. Still, this is where I am physically and emotionally.

So, beginning with the obvious: I’ve not been writing. Period. Full stop. End of story.

The fact is that when I am this drained, it is enough just getting through the day. Still, this isn’t about my being drained. The point is that I am sorry for my inconsistency as it goes against my own goals and (possibly) your expectations as my readers…then again, if you’ve followed this blog over the years, then you already know about my consistent inconsistency.  🙂

I’ve already apologized to myself and so to you, I’ll state it again, “I am truly sorry.”

I shan’t go into the details of why I am so burnt out, but I will give a summary here: 3-month visit of my mother, 3 moves, decision to leave Rome, health issues, work issues, life issues, etc., etc.

Still, it is Mother’s Day–which I already celebrated last Sunday, believing it was Mother’s Day–and I plan to spend it doing what I think is most important on this day: being a good mother to myself.

I think oftentimes we forget that we need to ensure that we have internalized a “good parent,” especially if we lacked that growing up. In my case, I didn’t really grow up in a family, and lived a total of perhaps 12 years with my mother and never with my father (at least not in my memory).  To add to that mix is the fact that I have older siblings, who are twins. Unfortunately in my experience, living with twins who were significantly older (6 years) meant that I was on the outskirts–they had each other and I could not relate to their experience.

Growing up without parents and without siblings can be and was challenging. To be frank, I have zero concept of what family means in a real sense (of course, I understand it technically), much less have any particular feelings around Mother’s Day or any other family-related days (birthdays, marriages, etc.).

It’s a sad thought to have on this particular day, especially when I have my mother so very close by, which is not something I had for the most part of my life. So…

Where does this leave me? Hmm…back to the understanding that on this day, Mother’s Day, also means taking care of one’s self.  Regardless of your situation, remember that to enjoy this day means enjoying and celebrating who you are, what you have done in your life, and recognizing those who have supported you towards those ends.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to everyone! Please, take good care of you. 🙂