Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Family ties

You might have read in earlier posts that I’ve been helping my mother out in the household. Some time ago I stopped helping though because I couldn’t take it anymore. When she first mentioned she needed help we (= my father, brother and myself) all agreed to help out when we were home from school or work, provided that everyone would join in. My brother vacuumed twice, but after those two times simply ignored my mother when she asked him to do something, so she stopped asking him and he did nothing. My father didn’t do anything more than usual when he came home from work or during the weekends either. I did help for a long time, all by myself and on my own initiative. I pressed my mother several times about my brother doing nothing at all at home, only to get the response: “Then why don’t you just stop helping out as well!?!?” After one of those arguments I told her I wasn’t doing anything anymore. I was sick of it.

This Saturday my parents will be married 30 years and as you probably know, this Sunday it’s mother’s day. When I asked my mother today whether she had a good idea for a gift my brother and I could buy my parents for their anniversary she told me she didn’t want any presents. Not for their anniversary and not for mother’s day. She didn’t want a present, because it was a façade anyway. It would only be one moment during which we would act as if we cared and the next we would be scolding at them again. (Just for the record, I don’t scold at my parents and I do care about them!) She wanted help in the household. I said I would be the only one who would do anything and said I didn’t think that was entirely fair. “If you always don’t do something just because others don’t your life won’t be easy!”

...She doesn’t get it. I agreed to help her on the condition that everyone would help out. It’s not just that they don’t do anything. I could live with that. It’s that my mother never said anything directly in their faces about them not helping her. It’s about me helping her with stuff, but never getting any credit for it. It’s about me always being on the receiving side of my mother’s tantrums. It’s about my father not showing one bit of affection towards me. They fail to appreciate what I do and that makes me feel used. I really wouldn’t mind helping out even though my brother and father don’t, but it’s turned into this major struggle and giving in now would only make me feel worse. I need to put myself first and just be selfish this time, even though choosing for myself in this way makes me feel ashamed of myself. I need to stick to my guns this time. If they don’t do anything, I’m not going to either. Why doesn't she get it?


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