Mama Knows Best
This was not written by Epiphany Edwards. The author chooses to remain anonymous.
The battle lines have been drawn. It’s time to make a choice.
Societal norms tell us to accept the people closest to us as they are; that “they’re” still family. Self-care and personal growth teach us that toxic is toxic, no matter who “they” are. Both ideals hold a modicum of truth to them. Especially when the “they” turns out to be the one you love the most. At the very least, the one you loved the longest. The one who brought you into the world and most likely threatened to “take you out of it” at one or more points in your adolescent years.
Which side of the line do you fall on when it’s your mother who is simply loving you in the best way she knows how. In her own broken, bruised, and bitter kind of way. After all, mother knows best right?
Do you maintain a symbiotic relationship that allows her to passive aggressively share her ‘wisdom’ with you. While she attacks and mocks your choices to parent differently than she did – whether it be intentional or inadvertent.
Do you hold her at arm’s length, keeping her around because she is your mother, and your children’s grandmother, yet deny her access to your inner most sacred spaces. The things that make you, you. Your interactions minimal and superficial.
Do you let her go completely and spend a large amount of time explaining to your children, your siblings, and reminder of your family that the relationship can be detrimental to your peace and wellbeing. Which ultimately can lead to isolation because who really understands cutting off your mother without abuse being the cause.
It’s only fair that I admit a level of understanding. My mother never had a grandmother. Someone to help guide her mother. Which lead to her being raised by an abusive drunk for a mother who herself was raised by a sexual predator for a father. She never had any examples, never had a healthy support system, and rarely did any of her children’s fathers step up to the plate. She spent the last 40+ years winging this thing called parenting. I’ve always been able to counteract my distaste with the simple phase of ‘she did the best she could, the best way she knew how.’
I no longer allow my understanding for her life be used an excuse to accept a relationship that reeks of toxicity, entitlement, and judgement. I will no longer accept the advice that my kids need a whipping. That I give them too many choices. I will no longer accept criticism for actively and vigilantly co-parenting opposed to subscribing to ‘momma’s baby, daddy’s maybe’ mentality. I will no longer be made to feel ugly with my natural hair ‘all over my head’ and my black lipstick. I will no longer accept “I’ll pray for you” because my life doesn’t look how anyone else thinks it should.
Today, I am mother, and I decide what’s best for me, my life, and my children. My line becomes clearer and clearer with every breath I take. Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees. Sometimes we can’t see the pain we’re causing ourselves because we simply won’t let go.