Mothers Under Stress

My oldest daughter and granddaughter are spending the week with me while their one and only condo bathroom is being gutted and renovated. If any of you have gone through any type of home renovation, you know how stressful home remodeling can sometimes be. Despite the best laid plans, something ALWAYS goes wrong. My daughter arrived on a Saturday. Renovation was to begin on Monday but of course, something went seriously wrong. The construction crew couldn’t find the building super who happened to have the key to the water main shut off valve. If they couldn’t turn off the water to the condo apartment, they couldn’t start ripping out the old bathroom. This caused a two-day delay. And thus started my daughter’s stressful path down a rabbit hole.

Throw in the fact that her 3.5 year old daughter was rambunctious and wanted non-stop attention. This tired grandma (me!) did the best she could BUT I’m not used to entertaining a toddler 24/7. Nap time and sleep time became tug-of-war displays of a child’s attempted dominance over an overbearing mom.

By Wednesday morning, all hell broke loose here in the Cindi and Nick abode. My daughter got her period (which was a bad thing starting off because she’s been trying for a 2nd baby for two years now. Daughter is 41 years old). My daughter’s bleeding became unusually heavy unbeknownst to us and rather than disturb Nick and I she took it upon herself to drive to the pharmacy to purchase fuller feminine pads. On the way back home she bled horribly profusely in the car, drenching her clothes, winter coat and the driver’s car seat in blood. This required immediate medical intervention so she woke us up. Nick drove her to the ER where they remained most of the morning.  I stayed with my granddaughter keeping her occupied till mommy returned.

Immediately the doctors put my daughter on an IV to stop the bleeding. She underwent a series of tests (she wasn’t pregnant) and to make a long story short, the doctors listed her ailment as an unusual menstrual cycle. My daughter does have fibroids, which probably have started to affect her cycle. I had the same problem when I was near her age and I wound up having a hysterectomy when I was 44. My body couldn’t sustain the unusual monthly blood losses.

There’s no doubt that my daughter is under a lot of stress. It’s not easy for families these days. Especially for those who have to live in a large metropolitan city in order to maintain a decent paying job. My daughter and SIL bought their condo 3 years ago via a bidding war. The condo needed a complete kitchen and bathroom gut job and yet despite that, several couples bid on the unit till the tune of $600,000 (1.5 bedrooms, 1 bathroom in a high-rise). They did the kitchen remodel 3 years ago, saved their money all this time geared towards the bathroom remodel. To say they are financially stressed would be an understatement.

Throw in the fact that my daughter is a professional wedding photographer and for the first time ever, she stated her business is feeling a drop. Normally she has 14 bookings per season. This year she only has 7. That’s a 50% drop in expected income. She’s supplementing the drop with other photography sessions (engagement, family, new-born). Nonetheless, she’s under stress. The financial kind and IMHO, that’s the worse kind.

Me, on the other hand, haven’t been the wisest of all. I’ve been brooding and complaining because this whole shebang has put me under stress also. I live in a smallish house and I’m a freak for minimalism. I can’t stand clutter and I can’t stand other people living inside my house making a mess, eating my food, using my facilities and just plain getting in my way. I have a set way of living and I don’t like my routine disrupted.

Throw in the fact that my youngest daughter (also a workaholic under constant stress), has also been trying for child number two and had her own medical setbacks two-three months ago. After a failed first miscarriage, she tried again to get pregnant only to have the baby medically aborted in its fifth month. The baby was not developing correctly (hole in its heart, brain not developing correctly).

There’s been a lot of crying going on in my household lately. I’ve been busy comforting both my daughters, my son-in-laws and two granddaughters. Nothing has been easy for any of us. And on top of all of this, I complain. Probably wrongfully so. A reader actually had to audacity to post a comment and state that I, a much hated baby boomer, brought all of this hardship upon myself. Um, I don’t think so. This isn’t the Felicity Huffman/William H. Macy residence. There’s no scandal here of parents bribing anyone in order to make my children’s lives any easier. Both my kids have been working since they were 16 years old. They have paid half of their own private high school educations, as well as paying off college loans. They’ve paid for their own weddings, clothes, cell phones, college cars and related insurances. All under the strain of living through a brutal parental divorce and countless child custody hearings.

Nothing has been easy for any of us since 1982 (the year of my divorce). Thankfully, Nick entered our lives in 1983, but at the age of only 26, Nick took on the burden of providing for a wife and two kids who weren’t even his. After my divorce, I got thrown out of the family business (I was 32 years old) and Nick and I have been struggling ever since. I only got $75 a week in child support (you try raising two kids on $75). I know I make my life look easy. That’s part of the mental games we people play in order to make our lives bearable. But don’t be fooled. It’s a struggle.

I complained the other day that my youngest daughter wanted new sheets on her guest bed when she comes here for Easter Sunday. She wanted me to send her photos that I actually did it because she knows, from past experiences, that I’d probably lie and not do it yet tell her I did. That’s because it’s too difficult for me to admit I might not have had the money to buy the new sheets. Maybe it’s wrong of her. And maybe it was wrong of me. I also got some slack because I bought my granddaughter a new bike. It was suggested I go to Goodwill or Craigslist and buy a used bike. I bought my granddaughter a new bike because a used bike is what would have been expected of me and this time, I wanted to get my granddaughter something new. Not a hand-me-down or somebody else’s tossed out junk. I wanted to get something for her that was hers and hers alone. A brand new bike!

I never did buy a new set of sheets. I simply don’t have the extra money for that. Instead I exchanged my newish sheets for hers while she is here, in addition to exchanging my newish bedspread. My kids, grandkids and SIL’s are going to be here daily for two weeks (not simultaneously, thank goodness!) and I have to provide 3 meals a day, plus Easter gifts etc. so I had to make financial choices. Sorry if they don’t agree with your own priorities but this is MY life. Not yours. I don’t think anyone out there has the authority to make any judgments on me and my family. If I gave you the false impression that you could, I apologize.

Everybody today, living on this planet is under some sort of stress. I call it the daily, common stress of every day living. All of us are trying to make it the best way we know how. I share with you how I do it. That doesn’t mean it’ll be the same way for you. Before you make a judgment, any type of judgment, make sure you understand that you don’t have all the facts. No one does. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.

I have to contend with my husband’s failing health. Once a strong man, he was the steady rock of my new, blended family. Now? I can’t even ask him a financial question. All of that new burden has fallen upon me.

Despite my daughters being 41 and 36 years old respectively, they still need the guidance of a mother (me) and my grandchildren need a grandmother (my SIL’s mother committed suicide a few months ago…….I’m the only living grandmother to both of them).

cookies.jpg
My granddaughter anxiously looking over my recently baked chocolate cookies!

We mothers are the cornerstone of our families. Much of the time, many burdens fall upon our shoulders. To say we are ‘Mothers Under Stress’ is an understatement. We empower our children. We embolden our partners or running mates. We make life, at times, palpable.

Mother’s are a source of inspiration. And I have inherited many qualities of hers — hard work, patience, humility, kindness, simplicity, perseverance, tolerance, forgiveness, understanding, farsightedness et cetera. These values are a strong foundation of my life. Mother loves her children and it can’t be described in words.

My mother died when I was 28 years old. I was 6 months pregnant with my first child when we found out my mom had a rare terminal cancer. My mother lived long enough to see my daughter born. My mom died shortly after that.

I’ve been on my own ever since.

 

 

 

 

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30 comments

  1. Hello,

    You are wise to understand your limitations as well as your daughter’s. It is very hard to see the whole situation when you are in the mist of living it, and yet, you did just that! Making cookies, laughing with the joys of having family around, and helping out in scary circumstances help.

    Each family has their own ways of coping. It would never occur to our family not to bring food or help with money when we come to visit. We would not burden the family with too many responsibilities. But that is our family! That being said this is a special circumstance and needs all the help you can give.

    From your description you and your daughter are doing the best you can. Of course you could do things differently, but do not beat yourself up. You are a good mother and by example your daughter will be one as well.

    Sue

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    • Thanks Sue. The first day my oldest daughter was here she had to go to Walmart to do some shopping. When I saw her counting up what she was spending inside the cart I knew something was up. Money is tight for them. If I can give her a week off from buying groceries, then that is what I will do for her.
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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  2. When I wake up each morning, I make a conscious decision on whether I am going to meet the day positively. Or will I meet the day negatively. If I concentrate on the bad things that have happened to me or will happen to me, I’d probably stay in bed and hide under the covers. I make a daily decision therefore to put my best foot forward and try, try again.
    Apparently, if I blog about how tolerable or how happy and contented I am in life, I get slack. If I dare ever to occassionally complain or gripe, I get slack for that also.
    Hey! Listen people. This is called ‘daily life’. Sometimes its good. Sometimes its bad. Sometimes we make the right decisions and sometimes we are just complete nimcompoops!
    We all have our problems. No one is immune. It’s how we choose to live our lives with both the negative and the positive that’s the true test of out mettle. I choose to be positive and to look upon each day as an adventure. That gives me the right, yes! the right to whine a bit every now and then. So, get over it.

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  3. I am sorry you and your family have been through so much. Life is so very hard and, like you pointed out, everyone is fighting a battle or 7. May today bring you as much peace as it is able.

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  4. Hmmm, am I missing something??
    Anyway, hang in there. By the way, your granddaughter is absolutely adorable, and I would be eyeing those cookies the same way. 🙂

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  5. Cindi – You’ll get thru this – but it won’t be easy. I, like you, simply don’t like the mess of extended company – relatives or not – I just am not good at it. I don’t like chaos and dealing with a lot of emotional issues – I am 73 and years ago I could tolerant just about anything – now, after my husband has had two go-rounds with cancer and I feel drained at times, I just want peace and quiet. People really aren’t judging you – they just do not understand what you have been thru – never defend your actions – I quit that bad habit years ago – enjoy your Easter with your darling grandchildren and take a long nap everyday!! Mary Ellen

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    • Thanks Mary Ellen. Great advice. Just found out their renovation is dragging. Going to be here for more days than originally planned. Oh well. Never again.

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  6. We just got back from four days- that was supposed to be one (with the request that we return in two weeks and do it again). Elective surgery that cannot be postponed…. We both caught a cold from the oldest. God Love Them All. I hear you! (Cough, cough, sniffle)

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  7. Dear Cindi, You seemed to have a wonderful time at your sisters as her guest in Florida for two weeks perhaps you can adopt how she views hosting family as a special fun time.
    As you said we all have are own problems and stress. I have been at my son’s since Monday helping with my two year Grandson with both him and his wife down with the stomach flu. I keep my fingers cross I don’t get it. So so out of my comfort zone and longing for my own bed. Lara

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    • Lara as soon as I landed in Florida I gave my sister $100 to cover any gas or electricity I may use. I stayed 3.5 weeks. I also took my sister and BIL out to dinner many times. Next thing I did was go to Aldi and buy my own food for my time there @$105. I stayed in my own bedroom and had my own bathroom which I cleaned every day. I did my own laundry and coffee and cooked for myself every day. I told my sister to pretend I wasn’t there. I didn’t want to impact their lives.
      My daughter OTOH hasn’t lifted a finger since she got here. Despite having her own bathroom she and her daughter use mine. Know what it’s like having a 4 year old pee in your toilet? Bathe in your tub? It’s messy. I have to wash and sanitize every day! Nick and I have been cooking 3 meals a day and cleaning up the kitchen and living room every day. Plus we have to amuse the kid while my daughter sleeps. So far we’ve spent about $200 on food since they eat mostly organic. Plus she just told me her remodeling had a few setbacks so she’s staying longer. Lastly I’m like a social director. I’ve got to find things for them to do and go to every day since they state living rurally is boring to them.
      Sorry. No excuse. They suck. I’m never doing this again. I think I had it better when they weren’t speaking to me. At least my life was quiet.
      Now I can complain about them. No one else can. 🤣🤣🤣

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  8. Never had any family even my parents do as much as you did at your sisters when they were visiting. My Mom pitched in and cooked when I had my babies.
    My daughter moved in with us for four months when she graduated from college and started her job. She didn’t help with anything either.
    Have you told your daughter you prefer them to use their own bathroom? That you and Nick need to go to your gym for your own health? With it being extended she needs to kick in some groceries? Make a meal?Lara

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    • Lara, I’m going to tell my daughter today that she can no longer use my bathroom. I came down with a cold this morning, which I announced to everyone. I’m staying in my room, under the covers and not doing anything anymore. I’m officially on strike.
      When I left my sisters she told me it was the best 3 weeks she has ever had in her life. We did so much and we laughed so much. It was a whirlwind of fun.
      I know what I am doing. I know how to be a nice, respectable person and how to treat people. I left my room and bathroom in better condition than when I got to my sisters first. My youngest daughter is waaaayyyyy better than my oldest could ever be.
      Oh well.

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    • Florence I’d never leave them in my home without me. Can you imagine? But hubby and I have planned a trip to the Outerbanks North Carolina beaches as soon as they leave. I count the days.

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  9. Ugh ! I feel you, I had a blog (very briefly) and was surprised at the busy bodies who interfere as if they were my family members. You do what you want and complain when you want. It’s your family and your blog. Hope things are better soon!

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  10. Goodness. Goodness. I am so sorry. Life, huh? There can be so wonderful days and then when it rains, it pours. My youngest daughter has struggled with miscarriages over the past year in trying for their second child. My oldest daughter can’t decide if she wants a second baby or not. Hormones are high and emotions are raw for both of them…and thanks to the trickle down theory…I am feeling much the same way.

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if all of our girls turn up pregnant and have healthy pregnancies at the same time? Will be keeping them all in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

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