It was recently suggested that I was being harsh in one of my problem page responses. I was commenting on the need to separate out from the mother (parent). I felt I was was being reasonable and pragmatic. My complainant a lovely young woman I tweet with, and have a lot of respect for, clearly felt I was being insensitive? I thought for a little while and again came to the conclusion that we see the world through our own filter.
I have an excellent relationship with my children. We go on holiday once a year together. We meet up socially every six weeks or so with our son and we perhaps speak to him once a week but, this isn't set in tablets of stone. We usually see our daughter on a weekly basis but not always. I know both my children would approach me if their backs were against the wall but we each live our own lives. I like it like that and so do they.
I have friends who see their children more, who do nanny duties for their grandchildren. I didn't and don't want to do that. I did try with my first grandchild. I gave up my job so my daughter could continue hers but after 6 weeks we were both going nuts. Alison was missing Sara. Sara was bonding with me instead of Alison and frankly I was exhausted. We chatted and we agreed Alison would stay at home and I'd go out to work! it worked well for all of us.
I had my children young as I've told you before. I did that because I had some notion of creating my own family with the man I loved. In retrospect I think I watched too many Doris Day movies? My husband who is 8 years older than me was ready to settle down and have kids. It worked but it was hard work. I was really into my kids as a young woman and I think we grew up together. I made some mistakes and sometimes when I look back I think OMG but both offspring seem relatively unscathed.
My own relationship with my mother was in retrospect complicated. As a child I adored her and no disrespect to her but that is how she liked it. We all grew up with the idea there was only one person who was perfect and that was mum. However, my eldest brother (her favourite) came very close. I genuinely have no angst about that. In fact he was one of my best friends when I became an adult. If we did anything mum didn't approve of or if we challenged her view she would let us know in a resigned way how we'd upset her and what a disappointment we were? My father was cast in the role of baddie. He was always the unreasonable one. I don't think I really started to see things differently until after my dad died when I was 21 and he was no longer around to act as a foil for mum.
Where am I going with this? families, parents how involved is it ok to be? Most of my clients fall into two groups. The ones who have had inadequate parenting and those that have had too much parenting. We need to make mistakes and grow whilst feeling safe and supported. I can't remember who said it but this is what I believe is the 'norm'.
That we start out looking up to our parents - they have the answers.
Then we judge our parents and find them lacking.
Then if we're lucky we end up being equals and friends.
Having said all that I am happy for you to see it differently?