Saturday, October 5, 2013

SAHM? Waste of my life.

Before my children were born, I determined they were going to know love, exuberant love, all of their days.  Oh my, like many unloved people, I wanted to make sure they got all the things I never did.  I played with them, made sure they were surrounded by creative toys and opportunities. I took lots of pictures and made scrapbooks so they would feel celebrated and important.  If you read here, you know I home schooled- and I did it all the way, with plenty of crafts, models, projects and field trips.  I tried to be both mother and father to my children, especially my son, since Dad was always traveling and emotionally unavaliable when he was home.

And if they were sick, I took very good care of them.  I took them to the doctor, gave them nebulizer treatments, bought them special food and drink to try to ease the process.  I was always especially nurturing when they didn't feel well.

I thought that by my sacrifices and service to  my children that they would learn two foundational truths: that they were loved and worth loving, and in turn that they would also be drawn to live a life of loving sacrifice.  These were my aims, the values I had full confidence I was teaching in word and example.

But nope.  That is not what took.

What took is that mom is a doormat.

Oh, and my son has bad self-esteem issues.  Because you see, he does not see my sacrifice and service as worth much.  I was not a person of great worth, humbling herself to serve him. That was my intent, to confer honor on him, to show him that he was of high worth by laying down my other options in life to serve him.  This was not the message he received.

He saw all that as just mom's job.  Same with my daughter.  They didn't respect me and appreciate my sacrifice.  It didn't cause them to believe they were valuable or worthy, because they did not see mom as having all that much value.  The person serving them was a worthless bitch whose job in life was to serve others.  So, they were no impressed by my service than they are the hotel maid's service.  That's her job to be a nameless, faceless servant, and in the same way it was my job to be their mother.

Not only that, but all those days I managed to stay cheerful, optimistic and gentle counted for nothing.  Nada.  Nope, the days that counted were the days I cracked, the days I couldn't take any more of the opposition, and I raised my voice in frustration.

Now readers,  I do realize that most of this is because of their father's opinion of me and his reactions to me.  They clearly followed his lead.  The damage that his abuse did to me is really, when it boils right down to it, unforgiveable.  He made of mockery of me, of my faith and all I held dear and tried to accomplish.  He never sought God at all, had no heart of love, didn't pray, didn't teach the children (or try to, because apparently I didn't either, though I tried day and night) compassion or love or kindness.  He taught them to be self-centered and judgemental.  He taught them to hate their mother.  He taught them to despise me and feel superior to me.  And his lessons, apparently, took.

The biggest values of my life, the daily exercise of a living faith, my children reject. It was very important to me that they not smoke, as my bio dad died of lung cancer.  They both smoke.  I'm the only one in the family who wants to go back to church, the only one (as far as I know) who prays regularly for the rest of this family. As far as I can tell I'm the only one who thinks and plans how to be a blessing to the other members of this family.

And here is my reward: to find out that when my kids were teens at home, and they knew I was in physical need (lack of sleep, wheezing, sick with bronchitis), they did not put their heads together to find ways to bless me or help me.  They got together to declare it a "high alert" day because I was probably going to be more easily frustrated than usual at the lack of cooperation and more prone to yelling in exasperation and frustration.

They decided together to avoid me and ignore me when I was in need, not to mention self-righteously judge me.  That's what all my compassionate care when they were sick taught them.  It taught them that I was not important.  

 The example of their father, who was barely even home, had far greater influence on how they felt about me (themselves, life) than all the days of my loving sacrifice as a SAHM/home educator.They learned to despise me  from their father, and when I was sick, or tired, or over-burdened then they abandoned me.  My state of weakness caused them to despise me more.

It was a waste of my life to love these people.  It did nothing for them as far as passing on the values I held most dear, and it certainly did nothing for me.  I did not build the "household of faith" that I strived to create.  My FOO despised me, and the family I created myself also despised me.

I can not adequately express how devastated I am by this realization.

Yesterday, I was having trouble with my asthma (haven't had that happen in two years).  I still made it a point to bless my son with something he wanted and needed me to acquire.  I sacrificed my time and health, took precious energy and hours of my life, in spite of my asthma, TO SERVE MY SON IN LOVE.

Did he appreciate it? NO,  he totally ignored my needs, focused on what he wanted, and was put out when I insisted that we take time to meet my physical needs.  I was kind to his boyfriend, and careful to wait until we were alone to tell him how I felt about his being rude to me.  I expected a quick apology and reassurance that he was distracted or he would never ignore me like that, or be put out about helping me when I was sick.

 His response was to start yelling at me!  Seriously. I did take up for myself and tell him to stop being an asshole, but guess what happened next?  Yes, true to his father's form, he found fault with me for calling him names.  I get used and abused, and then he tries to play the moral superiority card because I wasn't happy about it.  My frustration at his disrespect and lack of concern for my weakened physical state is considered the grave moral failing, not using people or ignoring the needs of the sick.

That scripture, Proverbs 31, where a husband and children praise the virtuous wife and mother?  That does not apply to abused women.  That only applies when a husband has honored and appreciated his wife in front of his kids, and in private conversations with them.  That does not apply to my life.

Oh my.  I can't believe I threw myself so whole-heartedly into serving my family.  I was a true believer, you guys.  I really believed, honestly and with all my heart believed, everything would work out well because of my loving service.  Love never fails.  I believed that.

Except where it is not valued.  Love from a person that is not valued does not confer worth to the person being loved.  They will despise it as worthless if they deem the person offering it as having low worth.  

Well, the bright side is that now I will have no problem selling this house.  This house is covered with photos of my children and my loving service to my children.  I want to just go and pack them all away now, and not wait until I pack to move out of here. They mock me.  They tell me that all the love, the service, the genuine concern, the thoughtfulness was all ONE WAY.  I am the biggest chump on the planet.

I came over time to painfully discover all the love was only ONE WAY in my marriage, and I thought that was worse thing I would ever experience.  Having my son show no compassion for my physical weakness yesterday, and no appreciation for the time and effort I took out of my day to serve him, that made me angry.  But calling my daughter, and finding out that for years, she and my son have made a concerted effort to avoid me when I needed compassion and help them most, that, THAT is knife in my heart.  

I should probably go back to therapy.


  1. I feel between every line, your pain. I pray to God, the true God that somehow he can go to you now and bring comfort. Your children will get older. They will remember and they will see...once they are away from dad for a time, they will see a clearer picture. They will see clearer...

  2. I've been exactly where you are and I feel your pain. I know you can't see it now, but all the deeds of love and sacrifice you did for your children are seeds tucked away somewhere deep inside of them. I know that doesn't help how you feel right now, but maybe you can keep that picture in your heart as something to hope on. I can't guarantee that all will work out in the end and your children will learn to value you, but I suspect that they will see you through clearer eyes as they gain maturity. Lots of hugs from a fellow sister who has shared your pain.

  3. I'm so sorry for your pain. I think many of us have felt this way as well.

    I agree with Ellen. Those are seeds you planted, and you did that because they father asked you too.

    They will see once they get older - once they have more experience in life...who was there for them.

    I'm praying for you shadowspring.

  4. Perhaps God is calling you to continue to have faith, to continue to love your children DESPITE their self-centered ways. Perhaps it's not over yet like you suggest. Love is patient, love is kind, love does not keep score of wrongs, is not quick to take offence.

    Your H surely did not show love and it is unfortunate (though not uncommon) for children to pass through darkness to truly appreciate the light - and then you can rejoice because those seeds you planted, and continued to lovingly nourish, they will sprout and have such deep roots that the children will never wilt and fade away, they will grow towards to the light because they know it is good.

    Don't give up yet! Change how you view God and the lesson He is teaching you - your self- worth is not directly tied to how your children, or their father view you. You are a child of God and He loves you as he Loves Himself. You need to love you too. :)

  5. {{{{Shadowspring}}}}

    Reading this, I am reminded of what Janja Lalich was told by her political cult leader: "Give 'em a little carrot and a lot of stick."

    These rotten paradigms hung the perfect family out there in front of us earnest horses, and we followed and followed, believing that if we just kept trying hard enough, we'd catch up to that sweet, crunchy carrot. But all we really get is an indirect caning. People will treat us the way we train them to treat us, and in patriarchy, mom's are the doormats. The problem is that it's tough to love being a doormat, and that carrot that we never get anyway isn't worth it.

    1. You said it, Cindy. Right on the money.

      -Still waiting on the carrot,

  6. How much better it might have been if you could have been a SAHM on your own terms, enjoying it all without following the formula.
    There's just so much to grieve.

    1. Oh man, if only. Unfortunately, I agreed to the fundamentalist vision. I just wish I understand than that I was the only one actually buying into it, and that everyone else was just giving lip service. I was a "true believer".

  7. It sounds to me like it's time for some tough love. No more doormat! Please, Shadowspring, pray and ask God and your own heart what is needed to teach your children to respect you and stop taking you for granted. They should no longer get something for nothing. They should learn what it's like to want something from you and not get it. Don't stop meeting their real needs, but do stop supplying any of their selfish wants. You can't control them, and you can't change them, but you can change your actions towards, and in response, to them. You can learn to expect and demand respect. I don't believe your kids are heartless, nor do I believe they're stupid. They have simply never learned to respect you. It's not too late to teach them, and teach them well.

  8. For inspiration, check this out. This sort of thing may be just what is needed:

    Mom Goes on Strike