|BWS Stories - "Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter"...Stories About Mom|
"Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter"...Stories About Mom - What I Learned from My Mother?s Stay At Home Experience
Vicky DeCoster has written both inspirational and humorous essays for Atlanta Singles, Metro Parents, Omaha Magazine, Her magazine, Omaha World-Herald, and Single Life. Vicky’s inspirational essays have been published in the Don’t Sweat Stories (Hyperion Press) with a foreword by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. (author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff), the book Real Stories of Spirit Communication by Angela Hoy (Booklocker-2004) and Christian Single magazine. Vicky is the author of a book of humorous essays titled The Wacky World of Womanhood: Essays on Girlhood, Dating, Motherhood, and the Loss of Matching Underwear. Visit her at www.wackywomanhood.com.
What I Learned from My Mother?s Stay At Home Experience
Where did she go wrong? No one has ever figured this out, including her. My mother was everything I wanted to be, and everything I hoped not to be. She was a feminist before the feminist movement. She always said, "I don’t want you to turn out to be a wishy-washy woman. I want you to stand up for what you believe in." Mom had been Valedictorian of her high school class. She had the world in the palm of her hand as an accomplished ballet dancer, straight A student, and cheerleader.
After marrying Dad, she dropped out of college and raised three daughters on her own. Dad traveled extensively and was rarely home more than five nights a month.
We had many rules in the house. Mom was strict, or so I thought until many years later. The entries in my diary told of much more than simple spankings. They told of a mother who completely lost control when I didn’t wash my hands before having a snack. My writing detailed beatings with hairbrushes, being thrown against the wall, and punched in the back. When I was ten, no one suspected when I began vomiting daily for a year that perhaps I was under enormous stress at home.
My parents divorced when I was fourteen. Mother began drinking heavily. On top of endless glasses of wine, she took prescription pain medication. She didn’t pay attention to what time I came in at night, or who I’d been with all day. By some twist of fate, my angel watched out for me. Meanwhile, my mother continued on her downward spiral until I moved out of the house at age eighteen. I can remember sobbing on moving day, not because I was sad to leave, but because my Mom beat me on the back with her fists just minutes before the moving van arrived. I can’t remember why she was angry. I just remember I couldn’t wait to get out.
I learned much from my childhood experience. I embarked on a career and was determined not to marry for many years. I kept my promise to myself and didn’t walk down the aisle until I was thirty. My relationship with my mother was completely severed by the time I turned thirty-five. My children arrived and my career continued. Yet, something was wrong. I felt torn. Nothing had prepared me for the feeling I had when I dropped my children off at day care. I wanted to be a full-time parent. I didn’t understand why, especially after my childhood experience, but I knew what I needed to do. I decided to quit and stay home with my two children.
I was terrified.
What if I turned out unhappy and angry like my mother? Quite frankly, I’d never spent all day alone with my children without my husband. My panic level rose with each passing day before I resigned from my job. I had decided to work from home and start my own company, determined to find the balance I felt my mother lacked in her life. I wondered constantly, had she ever really wanted to stay home with her children? Was that why she was so angry at me all the time? Did she resent me because of her lost career as a ballerina?
I faced my fears and made a promise to my husband and myself. I’d try it for a year. I would return to work if I felt unhappy and resentful. A year passed, and then two. There were bad days and good days. I learned to respect my own motherhood motto "progress, not perfection”. I disciplined with love, not my fists. By the third year, my children had witnessed me running a successful business and having the freedom I’d always wanted. They had watched me change my world! I was proud of myself. I had taken the worst experience of my life and taught my children my most valuable lesson. We always have the power to make our dreams come true. I hope they remember.
Mom had the world in the palm of her hand at one time. No one knows why she took the road she did. I love Mom for everything she wanted to be, and everything I had hoped for her. She lost her dreams and promises. Her destiny was not to fail. She chose to fail. She cried for help, but didn’t know how to help herself. I saw the potential in her. Why couldn’t she see it in herself? I may never know the answers to my questions. I do know one thing. I found the answer to my happiness. I just wish she were here to see it.