My Mother, My Self
My Mother, My Self
A few months ago I was fired. Then I lost my house. My daughter and I had nowhere to go, so I swallowed my pride and resigned myself to our last resort.
I moved back in with my mother.
Mom was really great about the whole thing. She took us in, no questions asked, and made it clear that we could stay as long as we wanted. She even threw us a welcome home party and went all out — great food, plenty of drinks, and she even got a piñata for the kids.
Now, you might be thinking: "So what does she have to complain about?" Sure, my mom has a lovely house in canyon country with enough room for us and I'm living rent-free while I try to put my life back together. And maybe it wouldn't be so bad if she was your normal, lasagna-making, slightly overbearing, but means well mother. My mother, however, is an entirely different story.
The first thing you need to know about my mom is that she's a therapist. So she's constantly analyzing everything I say and do. However, she also has the unique ability to do this while never actually listening to anything I say. For instance, remember that party I mentioned? The day I moved back home my one request was that I just wanted to keep things low key, not make a big deal. What my mother heard was, "Party!" I walked into the living room to find it full of family, friends, and neighbors who were happy to raise a glass and toast my epic failure. Nice gesture, bad timing. (On the plus side, Mom's margaritas made the whole ordeal much easier to handle.)
My mother has suggested, on multiple occasions, that I should see a therapist to deal with some of "my issues" and has generously offered her own services, but I think I'm going to stick to venting to my best friend over a glass of wine and beating the candy out of piñatas in the backyard. Frankly, it just seems healthier.
The second thing you should know: Mom's office is in "our" house, which means that in addition to our own issues, we're dealing with a whole extra set of crazy coming and in and out every day. It's not unusual to walk downstairs in my pajamas for some coffee and find Mom's 8:30 rummaging through the fridge for soy milk. That is why I often eat breakfast in the bathroom. And all this brings me to the third thing you need to know....
The word "boundaries" is not in my mother's vocabulary. Not when it comes to her family and not when it comes to her patients. She feels she's perfectly within her rights to talk to my best friend about me, tell my brother when it's time for him and his wife to have a baby, or share too much about her own personal life.
Let me tell you, the "no boundaries" thing is extra fun now that we're both single and dating and living under one roof. Take this situation: I met a cute guy at work, we hit it off, and things were going pretty well. Sure, he wouldn't really open up to me, but he's a dude and that's what they're like, right? Anyway, we were having a great, if slightly superficial, time until I found out...he's my mother's patient. Now, there's certainly nothing wrong with going to a therapist, but there is something VERY wrong with my potential boyfriend seeing my mother.
If that wasn't bad enough, my mom is in the habit of sharing information about her patients. She flirts with breaking the "doctor/patient confidentiality" rules — tells you just enough to get you interested, but not enough to know the whole story. Which is particularly infuriating if she's talking about your new guy. When I found out he was telling her things he wasn't telling me...well, let's just say I didn't take it well. But after a few fights, a little breaking and entering, and an hour hiding in my mother's office closet we worked it all out.
So things are slowly getting better. Sure, I occasionally have an awkward late night run-in with one of my mother's "gentleman callers" down in the kitchen, but on the bright side, that's definitely cut down on my cravings for midnight snacks. I'm doing my best to make it work because at the end of the day, I know she loves me and just wants the best for me.
And because, at the moment, I have no place else to go.
Jennifer Falls, Wednesdays 10:30/9:30c on TV Land