Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Parents + expectations = ???

I'm sad tonight. And I've felt this same sadness for quite a few weeks now, if not longer.

Wish I could figure out why.

Maybe this post will help me sort out my feelings somewhat. I really wish I didn't feel this sadness. This little one will be my parents' first grandchild, and for whatever reason I seem to have these expectations that things will be a certain way. I think I have them because of what I've seen friends' parents do and say as they prepare for a new grandchild, which I also think is quite unfair because I'm fully aware that everyone's parents are different. I have no right to expect or even hope for certain behaviors, but somehow I still feel let down.

I think part of it, which isn't baby-related, is the fact that my feelings seem to be hurt by their commemoration of my birthday. (as evidenced by the tears as I type this) It's so ridiculous. I shouldn't feel let down about this...after all, I did receive a very nice card. But how many times does a girl turn forty, and couldn't they have sprung for some kind, any kind of small, trivial gift? I feel so materialistic feeling this way...normally I have no problem with getting cards from them--they do it every year, and they're always great cards. But like I said, this wasn't just a regular birthday, and the truth is that I do feel hurt. As much as I don't want to be. I should be glad that they remembered my birthday at all. But here I am, on the other side of the country, and I had such a great birthday with my friends and extended family members who live out here. I was so touched by my aunt and uncle who thought of me when they were on a business trip in Omaha...they stumbled upon this awesome jewelry shop and found a beautiful necklace that is just so perfectly me--I'm still so flattered that they thought of me when they were away. My cousin, who is incredibly talented at making jewelry, also made me a gorgeous necklace that I absolutely love. And my parents... I really want to feel differently, but I guess I can't deny that my feelings are at least a little bit bruised.

I am also frustrated that I don't feel that they've been supportive of this venture--pregnancy via A.R.T.--since the very beginning. My aunt and uncle have been behind me one hundred percent since the start, and I love them for it. Absolute support and encouragement--I'm so grateful, and I'm lucky to have them in my life. So why can't my parents support me in the same way? It's not as though it was a snap decision--I debated and did research for a full three years before I started "trying" over the past two years. But apparently that wasn't enough. I do understand having reservations, especially if you're worried about someone, but I would have hoped that they would have had more faith in me. So now I have friends saying to me, "Well, of course your parents will be buying A, B, and/or C for you before the baby comes." And I'm like, "Well...no." I'm truly on my own, and it kind of hurts that they aren't offering to help out in any way. It's as if they're saying, "Well, you got yourself into this, so now you get to prove that you can handle it." I don't know. It hurts. Again, I wish I felt differently, but that's what I'm left with. Is it possible to talk yourself out of feeling a particular way? Again, I don't know. If I could, I definitely would. I think maybe these unwanted expectations (hopes? wishes?) of mine come, to some extent, from our culture, our society. Which I think is completely unfair, and I wish they would just go away.

So I haven't really wanted to talk to them since I'm still working through the way I've been feeling lately. I talked to them on the phone on my birthday, but not since, and they're not happy about it. I've gotten a couple of terse voicemail messages and e-mails, and right now, it feels like just one more obligation to call them back. So I haven't. I gave in and sent my father an e-mail update this afternoon--just the facts about what's been happening in my world lately--and Mom wrote back tonight. But up until now we've typically been communicating via phone conversations, so this is a change for them. It's usually my brothers who don't communicate as often as my parents would like, not me, the loyal only daughter. Right now I don't want to call. Right now I don't want to use the plane ticket I've already purchased to visit over Thanksgiving. Whether that will change, I have no idea. I hope so, but I just don't know. I don't like the not-knowing.


  1. I've been going through it with my parents. I don't think you being hurt is something you should try to change. Family is supposed to be supportive. And though you've outlined it in terms of the material things they aren't doing, it sounds like more importantly they aren't doing the emotional things you need, like being excite about their new grandbaby, helping you plan, etc.

    If you haven't expressed how your feeling before, you may want to...they may not realize how hurtful it is. But after that, take care of you, don't call if you don't want to, do go to Tgiving if you don't want to. I hope it goes well! I'll keep you in my prayers

  2. First of all "Happy,happy birthday". I just turned 40 in September, so I know that it feels like a big birthday. It is.

    And I'm sorry your parents are not reacting in the way you would expect. I see nothing wrong with having expectations from those you love,and I'm sorry they aren't meeting yours.

    I hope you guys are able to work everything out.

  3. I'm sorry your feelings were hurt by your parents. It doesn't seem to matter how old we get, when it comes to our parents they have incredible power over us, don't they?

    I sometimes need to distance myself from calling my parents to protect my feelings. In my case, I avoid calling when I know (via my sister) my mom has been spending time with her friends' grandchildren. A phone conversation would consist of all of the wonderfully funny stories about what one of the toddlers said or did, and it doesn't seem to matter how many times I tell my mother I really don't care to hear about it (read: because it HURTS) she always slips and out it comes.

    But I digress. Have you considered sharing your feelings with them about your birthday, and about feeling like you are truly on your own? Is there any chance they have made assumptions about you wanting to be on your own (given your current journey) or do they fear saying or doing the wrong thing because they don't quite understand your choices?

    Maybe a conversation would help you in the not-knowing department. That can't be a good place.

  4. Hey, SO sorry that you are going through this. It sounds like it really hurts, and I totally understand why. My only idea would be that spending actual face time with them might HELP. They will see you in your new role as a pregnant/mom to be, see how it fits you like a glove, and, hopefully, communication can open (and real support can begin). You so deserve that. You deserve celebration and awe! Hang in there, sorry you are feeling down, and remember that beautiful little girl inside you who's going to be your everything in a few, short months.

  5. That's so hard. I had a period of distance from my parents (and, truthfully, from almost everyone I know) during my divorce. It's hard on everyone when the kind or amount of support provided doesn't fit in with what's wanted or needed.

    I hope (and predict) that time will help with this and, in the meantime, I agree with Samantha: If keeping some distance feels right to you at the moment, it's perfectly fine to do that.

    Being good at meeting your own needs and being kind to yourself is one of the best ways to ensure you're the best mother you can be for your child.