For a long time, both growing up and as an adult, I feared turning into my father. He’s just like his mum and I used to worry that eventually, I would be like them. My dad is an alcoholic, manipulative, uses money to win people over and lives off of other people’s accomplishments. My nan was the same. He was an angry man, still is an angry man, and I buried my anger so far down that I took it out on myself and started to self-harm.
It’s been a long road from that 19-year-old to this 39-year-old.
It was worse when I had children, I panicked that not only would I become like my dad as a person but as a parent too. I did not want to be the parent I had. I was often scared of my dad or neglected by him.
I have spent the past five and a half years trying to parent differently from my own parents in many ways. Mostly through talking to my children, being honest, and being open with them. By apologising when I’ve to them down, when I’ve been angry with them instead of talking. By letting them be themselves and supporting them and loving them unconditionally.
Despite all this, I have definitely turned into my mum. I suppose it could be worse.
My mum was a good parent but not without her flaws or mistakes. There are definitely some things I wish she had done differently but I’ve made my peace with it and I have always understood why she is the person she is, why she did the things she did. Even if they didn’t make sense or were a bit nuts (or in some cases, completely nuts).
That Time My Mum Once Went Off Over A Coat
When I was a teenager, I had a new winter coat for school. I hadn’t been in the school long; a couple of weeks at most. I moved from another secondary school in the middle of the school year. The coat was purple. I’ve always liked purple, it’s my favourite colour. But purple coats weren’t allowed at my new school. I didn’t know this, neither did mum and instead of saying – “okay, you’ll need to get a new one asap”, they took it from me and sent me home without a coat.
In January. In Wales.
I would’ve freezer my tits off I’d had any. As it was, I was really cold by time I got home at the end of the day. A lot of my old secondary school was made up of cabins (still is I think) and not the warmest when you do have a coat.
My mum went apoplectic.
I’ve seen her be angry plenty of times, but unlike with my dad, I was never afraid of her. Plus, by time I was 14 I had about 2 inches on her and I reckon I could’ve taken her. However, she could be very scary, especially if you don’t know her and somewhat intimidating. The woman has had guns pointed at her. She is not afraid of anything.
The next day she drove me to school instead of letting me get the bus. She marched me into school, up to reception, demanded to see the headmistress. A woman we called Aquamarina, cause her first name was Marina. Teenagers aren’t particularly witty I suppose.
I’d been in the headteacher’s office once before, when I first moved, with my mother. It’s a scary office, with high dark wooden walls and cabinets, this wooden door. It’s a dark room, that’s what I remember the most, intimidating. This time I sat outside though, and my mum went in and tore Aquamarina a new one. Mostly for leaving me without a coat all day in winter and letting me go cold. And also for insisting she pay another 40 quid on a coat when there was nothing wrong with the one I had.
I don’t know exactly how or what she said, but Aquamarina was a tall woman, my mum is 5’2 (and shrinking) and when my mum walked out she smiled at me, told me to be good and left. Aquamarina looked like she wanted to cry.
I had my coat back by the end of registration and the headteacher never bothered me again. Anything that was bumped up to her about me generally was signed off without hesitation or ignored.
In Which I Have Discovered I’m Like My Mum
I realised I have become more like her when my eldest started school. I was angry at the idea of them treating them badly and very much ready to be one of those parents hanging off the school gates and causing hell. And I would be if the school weren’t so damn great with both my kid and us. They’ve been supportive and accepting and I’ve never had an issue.
No, my mum-style anger is not directed at the school but the hospital.
Beany has been in hospital since Sunday. She had a fever and we were told she had rhinovirus and needed five days of antibiotics even though her blood cultures (from her Hickman line) were clear.
Today the doctor told her they were carrying on with the seven days of antibiotics as planned. Then lied to my wife saying it was always seven days, he told her seven days and reminded her yesterday. Except he didn’t speak to my wife at all yesterday and told her five days. And something has grown in her line. They also told her they don’t make platelet bags for kids Beany’s size, that’s why they only gave her half. Which also turned out to be bullshit as they do make baby-sized ones. They just got sent an adult one.
I don’t appreciate the way they’re treating my wife and keeping my kid and giving us false information and changing information. If I wasn’t sick and Covid positive I would be at the hospital smacking heads together. I get that, yes, Beany needs to be in hospital, but I don’t appreciate them lying about stuff and leaving stuff out and not telling my wife what the plans are.
I am so angry. Beyond angry. But also running a fever and coughing and Covid positive. So I can’t do what my mum does and go down there and give hell. In the end, I had to get Cardiff hospital involved to try and straighten things out. Tomorrow I will be emailing to complain and involving PALS, getting some names. I’m also planning to email both my toddler’s consultant at Cardiff and our keyworker about basically never going to Glangwilli again. I’m done. It’s a nightmare whenever she’s there and so far it’s been unnecessarily given that I know our local hospital can do what they’re doing. They have done and they used to regularly.
I hate that I can’t go down there and demand answers and smack heads (I mean this both physically and metaphorically at the moment, I’m that angry). I can’t help, can’t change anything and I can’t bring my little one and my wife home.
I can however force people to endure my long angry but mostly polite (if slightly passive-aggressive) emails.
Perhaps, if my mum had email back then, she would do this too, but I rather think she liked the personal touch.