Sunday, 11 March 2012
WHY DON'T THEY LISTEN?
When l was a teenager l started my teen years in a Berkshire village, Dad was the local Butcher, Mum a primary school teacher.
I was 13-14 and developed a crush on a local lad Steve H "Bruno", medium height, dark hair, gorgeous brown eyes. There was another lad in the village with the same name Steve H- he had a mop of blond hair- l did not fancy him.
Anyway, at some point, Mum got wind that l liked Bruno, but had heard something in the village involving one of the Steve H's. One of them had been accused of rape. I don't know who the victim was, nor if it was fact. I just know that in the ensuing row that followed this nightmare disclosure, l was 'told', l would not be 'allowed' a boyfriend until l was 17- by the mouth in our house - my Mother.
I don't remember, but l was probably distraught and devastated that my 'first love' had been stopped before it had even developed beyond its fantasy, dream stage.
Over the Summer, l think, we then moved to Dorset, where once again the hormones of a young fledgling, teenage girl were re-ignited by Vince W. Another dark haired handsome lad, whose rich parents lived out of the small town by the river beach area. I had competition for Vinces' affections though, in the form of spiteful, bitch Wendy J. Wendy went onto bully me quite severely during our brief stay in Dorset- even had my only school fight with her.
I digress - my brother - 2 years my junior, became friendly with a girl and was going to 'go out' with her, which my Mother was OK about! This obviously riled me and l bought up that l found it unfair that l was 'not allowed' to date until l was 17, yet here we were by brother merely 12 if that, was 'allowed' to go out with some one. How was that fair? Of course, all knowledge of the ban, had miraculously been forgotten about and denied of its very existence.!!
Many years later when engaged l fell pregnant l was given 3 options- marry, adopt or abort. I chose to marry, as there was no way l'd even consider the other 2 options.
I married and had another baby, before finally throwing in the towel after 4 years of unhappiness. But l had taken on board that my Mother had said. I had done what l had been told. I was 21.
My Mother controlled our lives with a rod of iron. Her word was law. We didn't dare question her, argue with her. We wouldn't dream of answering her back, or swearing at her - god forbid!! We may have had our own opinions, likes and dislikes- we most certainly did not voice them. I didn't know how to debate or argue with anyone until I'm guessing l was in my 30's. I didn't know l was allowed to. If l messed up 'l had made my bed l had to lie in it'. I had to 'put up and shut up'! I was a married woman, l had to do my wifely duties- and I'm not talking about 'having to have sex'. I'm on about, it was my 'job' to be the sole home maker, have 'your husbands' dinner on the table, put up with a drunk husband.
When we divorced and l became a lone parent for the first time. I didn't dare tell 'her' about the advances from delivery men or other unsavoury characters. At the time l was naively flattered by the attention from 'other men'. things that happen to single, lonely young mums, who live alone with their father-less children.
Now 30 years on, with a daughter young, unmarried and pregnant, l advice my daughter in order to support her and her predicament. Its happened, - we deal with it as a family. We - me - help and advice, to the best of my ability. Not because l want a last stab at being a surrogate mother to her baby, not because l want to control and tell her what to do. But because l care, and because I've been there. I've experienced the highs and lows of being a lone parent, the loneliness, the sleep deprivation, the financial restrictions, the sexual assaults - because that's actually what they were-back then. I know this all now I'm 50.
But back in the day, back then l did listen and acted on what my Mother said, because 'l had to', because that's what we did 'back then'. I've learnt the hard way and it wasn't always a good way. Now I'm genuinely giving advice because l do not want my daughter to have the hard time. I don't want her to learn the hard way, l would like her to ease into it gently. To ask for help, to accept help if offered. I would like and believe l am an approachable, easy going Mum, who doesn't command and demand.
I would never ask for help, and it was rarely offered without conditions. I never asked because l'd be 'told off' for not doing it right in the first place!!. I was naive, l didn't know about life and no one told me l had rights.
I , however want happier, easier times for my daughter and her first born. 'She' does not have to be with the father if 'she' does not want to, 'she' does not have to do it all on her own.
I do 'allow' her, her opinion, l do listen, l do put up with verbal abuse - not willingly l have to say. l do, do alot for her - because somethings are easier done myself - which l know has made her lazy and reliant on me. I have as a caring, Mum sacrificed alot for my children- but that's is what you do when you're a loving Mum isn't it?
So knowing I've been there, done that, got all the t-shirts won't 'she' listen?