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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not Her

Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop
I'm chose Prompt 2. 

Not My Mother's Daughter...

Hard for me to choose this but it spoke to me. It spoke to me cause I didn't get to grow up with my mom. She took her own life when I was 5 months old to the day. Two weeks to the day before my daddy's birthday.

For several years I was parented by my daddy. It was just me and him against the world. Him holding tight and trying to protect me from all that could hurt me. Even if that meant mom's family. They blamed him, he blamed himself. Looking back now with my adult eyes, I see how hard that had to be on him. I can see why he married her. Why he made other similarly bad decisions.

Her, the woman I swore I'd never ever be. Too bad that women was around for my so called formative years. The years where I was desperately needing a female to connect with. Looking for anyone to bond with. 

She seemed so nice when my daddy introduced me to her. She had 4 girls. The youngest just few years younger than me. The second youngest that cool teen I wanted to be.

She seemed to really love my daddy and I was so happy he found someone to be with. So happy that he might for once be distracted from his demons. Someone who could help them go away.

I was 10 when he married her. 10. So close to the age where a girl really needs her mom. So close to an age that scared the hell out of my daddy. So he found her. I think he really cared for her. I couldn't say if it was love on either side. I see it as a solution to both their problems.

Him, needing a woman for his daughter. Someone to teach her things only mothers seem able to teach their daughters.

Her, needing or wanting a man. A man to care for her and treat her right. A man who wouldn't leave her for any reason, My daddy. A stand up man. For her and her 4 kids from her ex husband.

I lived through a lot of hell with that women. I thank God I made it out. I survived. I am stronger for it. 

My daddy really only knew how to work. Not much time for me and him but he did what he could. I remember motorcycle rides before he went to work the 3rd shift at the rail road. I remember a cold football game in his hometown. Lots of other memories of him and me. I don't think I ever complained once that all he ever seemed to do was work. Maybe I did. Maybe I didn't and I was much wiser than my years.

Later, came the years I still to this day try to erase. Fight not to be. The woman she would have me be. 

The bitter, cold, good is never good enough, always find something to criticize woman. A woman who doesn't care who she hurts to get what she wants. What she wanted was me gone. What she wanted was me to become my mom. A woman who never ceased to tell me how awful I was. A woman who made sure I knew she hoped someday I'd end up like my mom or have no good for nothing step kids like me. Worse, was telling her something truly awful and unspeakable that happened to me and hearing her say to me at 15, "If you weren't such a rotten kid that would never have happened to you. Don't tell your dad, no one deserves to die for what is only your fault."

Yes, there are times I lose sight of it and I may say something similar to my kids. I say similar cause while I can be harsh sometimes I strive never to demean who my kids are. I know how it feels to be on the receiving end. 

The difference is I go and tell my kids I am sorry and what I said was wrong and uncalled for. That I will do better. Maybe they don't get it yet. I think they will. I think it helps them to know that mommy isn't perfect either. That anyone and everyone can and will make mistakes.

No, they don't know about all my past yet. Nor do they need to at their age. I am not sure they ever need to know it all.

What I hope they know, is that I love them so much more than I could ever say. I'd give my life for them if I had to. That I was there struggling with them.

I stump a lot of people because I can't be that parent who punishes first then asks questions. I cannot spank for every infraction. I send kids to sit in time out. I send them to think about what it is they are sitting in time out for.

I want to be what I imagine my mom would've been if she had lived. Gentle, understanding, teaching, correcting but always with love. Always with the understanding that some day these kids will be parents. The cycle stops with me. 

The kind that allows my son to yell and vent his frustrations. Then when the storm is over, talk about it.

The kind of parent that my girls know they can rely on. The kind that will always listen to whatever is on their mind no matter how hard it may be. 

The kind to teach them that their is a better way of parenting. To show by example that you can over come anything and be better for it.

The difference between her and me, is I know where that road leads. It leads nowhere. It just circles round and round, destroying all in its path. Even yourself.

The difference between her and me, is I am overcoming my past and making my future and my kids futures better.

The difference is, I don't want my kids to want to be me. I want them to be them. After all, I'm not my mom.  Better, I'm not step mother #2 either.


The Prompts:

1.) Write about a time you got in BIG trouble as a kid.
2.) Not your mother's do you parent differently than your mother did? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
3.) Photo Story: Share photos of your most recent trip to the beach (maybe an excuse to go!).
4.) Write a poem about starting over.
5.) Your top 10 Summer Don'ts.

Bonus Vlog Option!

6.) Most bloggers have an About Me page...create an About Me video that will give viewers a quick glimpse into who you are and what makes you tick. Consider adding it to your About Me page!


  1. What a story. Paulette, I am humbled.

    I suspected you were pretty awesome, or I wouldn't be one of your followers, right?

    I just didn't know how awesome.

    Some times I think the reason why certain people exist is, to be examples of how not to be. *sigh*

  2. Thank you for sharing something so close to your heart with us. This blew me away and I've been sitting in my chair for several minutes now thinking about what you've written. I love how you ended this piece, writing about your children and wanting them to be them. I believe in that. You are one amazing mom to have gone through so much in your life and have so much love and strength in your heart for your children!

  3. Your post really drew me in. Your words hold so much emotion. I felt for you at 5 months and then again throughout your journey towards adulthood. I think you've done great and what you want for yourself and your children is wonderful. I'm sorry you had it so rough growing up but it seems like you're stronger for it.

  4. It is so brave of you to share all of that. I think your kids are very lucky to have you.

  5. This is such an honest piece, written from the heart. Thank you for sharing it. I think that the way you are with your kids, your determination to be the opposite of the role model you had growing up, shows how strong you are. You can say that she did you a favor, in a way. By being a terrible role model, she showed you what not to do with your kids. You have so much love, and that's more than good enough.

  6. This was very difficult to share. You are obviously a stronger person because of it.

    visiting from Mama Kat's

  7. My heart aches for you - I wish I could reach through time and give that hurting teenage girl a hug. No one can be perfect and it's so important to be able to apologize to your kids, when it's appropriate, and acknowledge you make mistakes too. My dad was an awesome role model in that way, and I think of his example any time I have a difficult apology to make.

  8. Wow, thanks for sharing your story.

    Thanks for your compliments and glad you enjoyed the pictures! Thanks for dropping by my humble blog btw!

  9. Such an inspiring story. How brave you are for sharing it with us. I wish you much luck in raising your children. But it sounds like you are doing a great job already!

    (PS. Thanks for commenting on my post earlier too! Am now ur twitter follower!)

  10. What a wonderful post.
    As a stepmom it makes me so sad to read stories like this. I will admit it's hard to stepparent, especially full time (my stepson' mother opted out of his life), but there is no excuse for treating an innocent child that way.
    I have so much respect for parents who overcome their own childhood and make sure they do better with their own children, instead of continuing the cycle.

  11. This is so touching and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing, I am sure it was hard for you. But now that it is on a page staring at you it will give you strength. A remainder how far you have become and what amazing mother and woman you are.

  12. this was very powerful. and i hope one day you do tell your kids, so they can see just how much you have overcome.

  13. @Amanada I believe so, too. I'm also pretty sure going through that helped prepare me to be Sean's mom.

    @K I am humbled by your comment, truly. I belive that the most important lesson in life is to be who you are and be comfortable with it.

    @Bruna Exactly so.

    @Jessica Thanks.

    @The Reason I can see it that way, now. Then, not so much.

    @Jackie Thank You for reading.

    @Carrie Yes, it was. I cried as I wrote it. Til I was done I had no idea how much I needed to get it out there.

    @Ixy True. It's good to know to apoligise just as much as when/why.

    @Full Time Mommy You're welcome and Thanks for stooping by my blog.

    @Mommyslounge You're welcome & Thank You

    @Dysfunctional Mom Thanks

    @Stasha Yes, it does. Letting that out was kind of a relief and to know that I can talk about it gives that time of my life less power over me. At least the kind of power that is bad.

    @Jordy I will most likely tell them when they are a lot older, like adults. I know from experience that too much information too soon is just as bad as none.

    Thank you all for reading and commenting. I know it couldn't have been easy to read. Sorry for belated responses, blogger was having issues, again.

  14. Wow, what a very powerful post! I'm so sorry for what you've been through. My mother wasn't a wonderful mother either...she sounds a lot like your stepmother.

    What I think makes us different though is that we recognize where we've come from and how we want to be different mothers...better mothers. It's a daily struggle to be different from her and there are days I slip and hear her words come out of my mouth. But, like you, I am quick to apologize to my kids.

    Thank you for sharing this, as difficult as it must have been.


Thanks for commenting!