I Am Telling My Mother About This Blog

When I was fifteen years old, my family went through some serious shit. Some pretty heavy-duty, messed-up, super-depressing shit.

None of us much liked ourselves at that time, and I think it bled into our relationships with one another. How could it not? We were deeply unhappy people, trapped with one another, miserable in every way.

And so we’re on our way somewhere, my mom driving, my brothers in the backseat, me in the passenger side, sulking because for one now-forgotten reason or another, we were totally late to the place we were supposed to be going, and in my head, it was all my mom’s fault.

I’m sure I snipped at her in some rotten teenaged way. I don’t remember what I said. I do remember her reaction.

“Kath, I don’t know how to fix this now. But in twenty years, write the memoir or something. I’m sure you’ll get a good story out of this one.”

In a roundabout way, I guess that’s what I’m doing now.

My mother is strong. My mother is independent. My mother is a force to be reckoned with. My mother is slow to anger, and sometimes – like many of us – slow to forgive. My mother raised me on books, on absolute and unquestionable love, on trips to the library and hand-sewn Halloween costumes and homemade chocolate chip cookies. My mother tried so hard. My mother wanted me so badly. My mother loves me. And I love her, deeply.

My mother is also religious. My mother is concerned with doing the right thing. My mother is moral and good and sincere. My mother is strong-willed.

And telling my mother about this blog terrified me deeply.

I did it today. In the car, parked outside my house, with my stomach in knots.

My mother, you see, doesn’t like some of the words I use, and overuse with gusto, on this blog. Words like “fuck,” and “shit.”

My mother doesn’t like to talk about sex and sexuality.

My mother likes to think I go to church. My mother likes to pray for me to marry a nice Catholic boy. My mother is excited to someday hold some nice Catholic grandkids.  I don’t have the heart to tell her, most times, just how very far away those goals are for me right now. I don’t have the heart to talk about how very far away I feel from her religious choices. I don’t have the heart to try and bridge the gulf between the two of us, in our religious beliefs, in our political views, on our outlooks on the world, because I don’t want to hurt her feelings. I don’t want to disappoint her.

My mother doesn’t like to think about me using those words. My mother doesn’t want to think of me going home with boys, or drinking too much, or publically discussing – even celebrating – my failures. And I can see why.

It’s ‘cause she’s my mom. And it’s ‘cause she loves me.

My stomach still hurts. I don’t know how she’s going to react to this. Our conversation was cut short, and I didn’t get to hear her thoughts about this. Maybe that’s for the best.

I titled this blog after her for a variety of reasons. But mostly I titled it “I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog” because I think not wanting to disappoint your mother is a very human emotion, that a lot of people relate to. Like most daughters (and sons) I know, I hate not living up to her standards. And no matter how much TOTAL delight and joy this blog brings me (and, believe me – it’s been the best thing to happen to me in the past few months), it’s hard to live with knowing that this is likely going to make her disappointed in me.

I’m going to keep writing. And it’s up to her to decide whether she wants to keep reading.

But just so I have a chance to say it, and say it publically:

I love you, Mom.

xo
Kath

ps: This is how great my mom is. I pitched her an idea like a year ago for a kids’ book (knowing full well that I would need, like, friends with children’s book connections, and someone to help me illustrate it, and a million other things with zero ideas about how to make it happen), and she slapped a hundred bucks on the table and said “Consider me your first investor. Now go make that book.” She doesn’t have that kind of money lying around. She just believed in me.

I’m hoping she still does.

pps: UPDATE: She called me back just now, and we talked it out. We’re okay, I think. For now. She hasn’t read it yet, and I don’t know if doing so will change things. But her words to me were, “Go, girl. But go with caution. And go with your morals intact.”

I think that says it all.

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32 thoughts on “I Am Telling My Mother About This Blog

  1. Your mother sounds so similar to mine. I believe I am a good person, try to do the right thing, and think that a lot of religious tenets were invented to control the masses and to try to prevent lots of STDs and tons of baby mommies and baby daddies. But like you, I am way too afraid to tell my mom that after I got divorced my boyfriend sleeps over, I have sex in scandalous places (and also being unmarried! Oh Horrifying!), I drink too much at times, I swear like a trucker, and I think she would be horrified to know the “real” me. At least we are real people! Woo hoo! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Glad I accidentally found your blog a few months ago (yes, I’m one of THOSE). You write really well, and very honestly and I really enjoy it.
    I don’t understand the peculiar bravery that is “blogging” but I’m glad you and others do it; it’s one of the few things that makes me feel connected in any way to the rest of humanity.
    C

  3. I like your writing very much and this just made me tear up. I love the love between you and your mom! It’ll all work out, I’m sure of it.

  4. This was a very powerful and courageous blog post, and I’m sure your mom will appreciate the fact that this blog has really made you happy. It’s hard to show our parents that we’re growing up, making and then learning from bad choices, and doing things they definitely didn’t expect us to do, but when we can include them and keep them involved in the good and bad things is when we really prove how deep our love for them runs. You go girl!

  5. Well done for pushing through and telling your Mum (read:Mom) It can be hard for parents to find out their kids aren’t the way they dreamed they’d be but it sounds like your Mum is the sort of person to be able to love in spite of any disappointments…I hope it brings you closer.Respect REDdog

  6. I think your mother is probably more open-minded than you may give her credit for. As a mother of two grown children, I love them fiercely and unless they committed a serious and immoral crime that hurt people, I can’t imagine ever abandoning that love. Remember that everyone, including your mother, was young once, and we all remember what it was like when we were finding our way in this world. As parents, we give a great deal of advice to our children because that is part of the job of being a parent. That doesn’t mean we really expect that our children will follow all of it.

  7. Well done! I’ve enjoyed reading this and can relate on many levels. Despite being major pains in each other’s ass, there will always be a love between my mother and I. This blog is in essence you, and while your mum mightn’t agree with every decision, it won’t diminish her love for you.

  8. I think she’s just thinking- dont say things that might haunt you down the road (: glad things are going well!

  9. Wow, congrats for having the balls to tell her…I’m still not there yet with mine (my blog or my mom), you know what I mean. Will she love everything you write? Probably not. Will she still love everything about you? Definitely. That’s just what Mom’s do.

  10. If your mom is anything like my mom, she tells you how you should behave, and worries over you with a bit of anger at the actions of yours that she does not condone. Yet, when she’s talking to her friends, she praises you from the depths of the earth to the heights of heaven. I believe her love can outdo this blog. (Thank you for this blog!)

  11. Wow, I admire your courage! This post hit a note with me, and it sounds like our moms/families are somewhat similar except for the religion thing (my brother and I were brought up atheist). I feel certain that my mom would be properly HORRIFIED and may even have to be hospitalized with an anxiety attack if she ever read my blog, but I am equally certain that she would still love me anyway 🙂

  12. What’s the worst that could happen?
    She reads your blog and decides its too much for her and stops reading it?
    Or she reads it and tries to stop you from writing it?
    Or she reads it and tries to influence the way you write it?
    There are more possibilities but I’m tired of asking questions that you already know the answer to.
    You are ready to deal with the outcome, that’s why you told her now, and as long as you stay true to the reasons you started this your Mum will never be truly disappointed in you.

    Good on you.

  13. Your mom sounds a bit like me. I have a 20 year old son whom I love dearly. I was a single mom for most of life and we had our share of stuff in life to deal with. It sounds like your mom did the best she could where she was at and I am guessing from your comments that she loves you and is very proud of your many talents. Will she agree with everything you do? Probably not. Will she support you and defend your right to do them? I suspect 100%. You don’t always have to agree with your parents but having a healthy respect for where each is coming from is a wonderful way to have a healthy adult relationship. There may be things about you that your Mom wishes she had the guts or the opportunity to have done. And what she says may come across as judgment but may, in fact, be a bit of longing for the same freedom. She obviously did an amazing job of raising you! I hope she can read your work and see the talent in amongst the swears. I love your writing and the candid way you express yourself so keep being your authentic self and don’t ever censor your talent.

  14. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.  I’m weeping.

    As I watch my mother die a little more every day, I need to tell you that your blog is a wonderful tribute to y our mom . Even if it freaks her out, all of us can see the beautiful young woman you became with her nurturing!

    To thine ownself BE TRUE.  Hope to run into you again soon, Ms. K.

    xoxo Nanny

  15. A former son-in-law says there are two kinds of people: Tell one that your dog has died, and s/he will say, “Oh, dear. You must be sad. I’m so sorry.” Tell the other the same thing, and s/he will say, “I had a dog.” And be off to regale you with stories of his/her dog. Here is my, “I have a mother story,” story:

    My mother The Princess Queen (TPQ) and me The Silent Rebel (TSR)- the scene is this: I’m driving my mother on a 2K mile drive-about from S Idaho to North, then looping off to Washington, down through Oregon and home. Second day we’ve arrived at my daughter’s, where we’ve planned to spend the night. Mid visit, TPQ says, “I don’t want to stay here tonight. Can we go before supper?” Paralyzed by half a dozen emotions, I say okay, we say good-bye to my weeping daughter and two grands, and drive off, with my brain and heart on ice. Did I mention my daughter had been in a wheelchair for 2 years and I had only been able to visit her once? Did I mention my mother was paying for the trip? Did I mention that my daughter was 36 and I was 54? 11 years later, when I told a friend I was thinking of looking for a boy-friend online (again), she said, (short version) “Until you work out your shit with your mother, you’re not going to succeed in love.” Her theory, and I concur, was that when we are 3 – 5 years old our parents are supposed to be teaching us to recognize and say what we like, what we don’t like. But when, as I was, we’re born into a litter (I was 4th down and up of 7), instead all they can do is try to get us under their thumbs. We practice getting out from under by crawling under thumbs in relationships and then kicking our way out. This was my history for five marriages (and divorces) and countless relationships. With the help of a couple friends, I practiced this scene: TPQ: “I don’t want to stay here tonight.” TSR: “Okay. I’ll take you to a motel and pick you up in the morning, because I do want to.” Yes – this is a simplification – but it sums it up. A couple of days later (now at the age of 65), I “talked back” to my mother. She says to me in front of one of her friends, “Tell her how many times you’ve been married.” I say, “Oh, Mama, she doesn’t want to hear my stuff. Tell her some of your stuff.” My mother was not aghast (as I would have imagined). She laughed and said, “I guess that IS your stuff.” Our relationship changed to one between two grown women from that time and gets better all the time. I know that was a mild rebellion, but it was direct instead of sideways and it continues to this day. Back before I turned 40, when I was mad at my mother, or husband, or anyone, I’d get drunk. Now I’ve been sober almost 30 years, celibate (this is a GOOD thing) for 13, and able to speak truth to power only masquerading as a Princess Queen.

  16. I admire your courage. My mother still relates to me as the person I was before I got married and left home. That was a while ago. We’ve had some serious talks about some serious family subjects, and I’ve learned a number of things I wish I didn’t know. Still, that’s the chance you take when you want to have an honest conversation, right?

  17. I’m the mother of two young kids, and all I can say is: I hope my kids will love me the way you love your mother. You’re doing an amazing job and I’m certain your mother will be proud of you because of what you’ve written here. It may sting her a bit, but she’ll see the talent and honestly you’ve put on display and embrace the amazing woman you’ve become. Because she sounds like she’s just that kind of mom.

  18. Thanks for your honesty here. I’ve experienced damn near the same thing over the last 2 years, and it’s always comforting to hear someone else share their story. Keep writing!

  19. “Go, girl. But go with caution. And go with your morals intact.”

    That is the best damn advice a mother could give her kids. Please apologize to your mom for me, because I am stealing that motherfucker so I can tell it to my kids.

    Also, in case you are reading this, thanks, Kath’s Mom.

  20. Beautiful, follow your mother’s advice (she sounds pretty clued up) but always, always blog for yourself and not anyone else. Don’t let the fact that someone might read it affect your writing or revealing your true self. It’s a difficult thing to do when you know the people who are reading but I think it’s important.

  21. Congrats on this huge step. Because that’s what it is – a big step toward reconciling the differences between your mother and yourself. It may not happen right away, but at last you can say to yourself that you are no longer hiding the truth out of fear for her reaction.

    My most recent post to my blog (as of right now) is actually on a similar topic (Reflections on a Life, Missions, and Faith). I was raised to be religious (Christian, Church of Christ) but haven’t been since I was about 15. One of the main people I was worried about disappointing recently passed away. I never took the opportunity to sort of fess up to him where I was in my life and what I was doing. I still am a good person and I won’t stop following my heart, but I never got to show him that and now I’ll never get to.

    I’m so glad that you talked to your mom about this blog, because it obviously is a direct outlet for who you are and what you believe – even when it’s perhaps a bit coarser than she would prefer.

    I look forward to continuing to read your story and following you on this path.

    Good luck with your mom!

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