I Will Always Love You, Even When I Don't Like You Very Much

I can't do anything right. And I am an awful mother.

This is what my daughter thinks of me.

And I have to ask myself, how did we get to this place?

I know. So many friends with children older than mine have told me this is what it's like. "Just wait, it gets worse before it gets better," they tell me, smirking.

Except, it's not so funny.

And although, if I can step back and look at it all objective-like, pretending I'm just an observer, I can accept this place we're in, and know that this is all 'normal' and expected.

But it feels so abnormal, so wrong, and so awful, that I can't for the life of me see how it could be normal, in any sense of the word.

Because it was just yesterday that I was holding her tiny hand in mine, and she looked up to me as her everything, her adviser, her truth teller, her safe place. Where did that little girl go?

Now, we have a girl who is still a little girl in so many ways, but is also growing up all too quickly, and believes she already is all grown-up, and fights me every step of the way, all the time, about anything and everything: don't forget to brush your teeth, time to get off the computer, or whenever the mother in me comes out and lets her know that what she is saying or doing is improper, or just plain wrong. Or, I remind her for the tenth time that she needs to get her chores done, and she angrily accuses me of nagging her, and that's why she isn't doing it.

A child's logic.

A logic which, to me, is senseless and meaningless because it comes from an as yet unformed mind, but a logic which, nonetheless, hurts me to the bone when she states it with such venom in her voice, such a hatred that it takes me by surprise everytime.

She leaves the house in the morning without so much as a good-bye, more often than not. I never know why she's upset. She just is.

Why does she hate me so much? I ask myself time and time again, seemingly more and more often as the days progress. Why is everything such a fight? Why does she seem so uncaring? Why does it always feel like she is out to hurt me with every look and word?

I know it's partially me and my ways. I am sensitive, often overly sensitive. I know this of myself, and I accept it. I walk through the tears that come up unexpectedly when I'm at work and thoughts of our last big blow-out come to the forefront. I fight the urge to lash back at her, as another child would, reminding myself I am the grown-up here. I remind myself time and time again that I am a good mother, a mother who has done everything and then some for my children, for my daughter. I remind myself that I made her my priority when our son was ill, because I worried about her psyche, worried that she would grow up feeling lost and alone because her mother was always at the hospital. I did everything right, most of the time.

But, when my daughter, whom I love more than life itself, tells me she hates me, and repeatedly treats me with such disrespect that I feel like it is a live being all unto itself, I know it's all her, and then I feel sad, because it's like I've lost my child altogether, and I don't know if I'll ever get her back.

There are still moments, moments when it's just the two of us, and it feels like old times, when we would laugh, and she would tell me little secrets, and she would be my daughter again, the way I know her. But they are few and far between.

This new girl, this girl I do not know. And I can't say I like her very much either.

I have decided I have no control over this, and all I can do is keep loving her, and wait for her to get through this awful phase, because it must be just as awful for her as it is for me. I think.

And I have to remember to keep breathing, and remind myself she is my child, my firstborn, my sweet girl, and that this too shall pass.

I think.


How I sympathise with you, Your daughter is in between childhood and adult and is probably as confused with herself as you are with her. Just be there for her....because she will need you.
Let her know you love her.
I went through the same with my daughter many years ago , Now she is a mum herself and realised what she put me through.
Good Luck Mary.

Sarah Lulu said…
Hello, sending you love....it's so very hard when our children are struggling.

She might be unwell herself ...emotionally or spiritually ...

Some children just move through a truly disgusting phase but others are in a place where they need help.

I don't know her or what she or you have experienced ...

I do know I will pray for you ...and that blogging can help ..yes it can. Reach out yourself for as much support as you can find.

Sarah Lulu
ShanaM said…
Sorry that it is so hard.
ReformingGeek said…
Wow. That's tough and it's also tough to hear others tell you it will get worse. Don't believe them.

I'm overly sensitive, too. I wish I weren't. I think having a daughter would have sent me to the mental hospital. You seem very strong!
Lucy and Ethel said…
Speaking from the same experience, yes, it will pass, but you'll be praying a LOT for enough sanity to survive without committing a felony in the process :)

Our second child, a daughter, demonstrated her stubborn independence from birth, and it went from there. She's almost 20, and while she still expects independence I would never have even thought of at her age, much less attempted to get, she is hard-working, responsible, caring, and is a true joy.

Lucy, who has gray hairs to prove I'm the mother of a stubbornly independent daughter...
Unknown said…
awwww Mary this post brought tears to my eyes...i am going through a very similar thing with my 14 yr old son...he treats me like i am the plague....hugs to you
Matt Pfingsten said…
My mom is staying with us for a couple of weeks helping us take care of the new baby. We have had beers, gone for walks, stayed up late watching TV together and painted the nursery. It has been terrific for us both.

Why do I bring this up? Because this woman that I've had so much fun with recently is the same woman I would shout "I HATE you" to as I stormed out of the house with oh, so much arrogance.

Stick it out and she'll come back around. :)
Anonymous said…
That's the hardest part of parenthood, no?

I feel for ya. I really do.

I don't want to admit it, but I think we have to change our perspective who our child is. Not easy, but dang it...they make it so hard, don't they?

Momisodes said…
I am so sorry you are struggling with this. I hope that this too shall pass...sooner than later. *hugs*
Michel said…
oh mary! I'm sorry you are hurting right now.

Do you know, I treated my mom similarly? When I was 25 I called her up and apologized. I recall it vividly...I didn't hate her, wasn't mad at her, but I was frustrated and annoyed at being a teen.

Buck up little camper.
3 Bay B Chicks said…
Oh, Mary. I can't say that I understand, but this post describes exactly what I fear most about the future with my own children.

If it is any consolation, my own mother and I had a relationship very much like what you describe. It was a rough couple of years. Thankfully, her patience prevailed and I stopped being so outrageous and bitchy.

It took time, but now I talk to my mom almost everyday and we really couldn't be closer.


Oof, I hope it gets better. I went through a phase when I hated my mom and now we're good, good friends. I feel like that sounds cheesy but it's true...
I was warned that one day my son would say those dreaded words, "I hate you" with such venom it would cut me to the quick. I haven't heard it yet, but can't imagine what you feel like. You think, "where did I go wrong?" but it's none of that. It's a normal phase and one that will hopefully be short lived. Very sensitive of you to see that she is hurting too. *sigh* What to do? What to do?
A New Yorker said…
Well, I've not been the mom YET, just the daughter. And I remember a little this age. She's testing her limits and it's something she needs to do with you so she knows how to do this when it comes to the outside world. Best to learn and screw up at home than with people who have a lot of power over her financial and social well being, know what I'm saying? Cause Mom will always love her no matter what she does. And oh the hormones! RAGE! A trick that might work is to tell her OK, when she wants to do something rather than giving her the opportunity to challenge you.
My word veri is hateda. HAHA! Too funny.
Andy said…
Your writing is so powerful. Thank you for sharing this painful yet beautiful snapshot of your life. I say "yet beautiful" because you obviously love your daughter deeply, so deeply. And that is so wonderful. Keep loving her deeply. Do no submit to the desire to give up. Never, ever, ever give up on her. Instead, try new ways to speak her love language, whatever that my be today. Let her know that no matter ho awful she may act, you love her deeply and miss the days of being joyfully connected with her. Tell her that. She will hear it, although she will probably not act like she did, and she may say she hates you. But it's a front. She's a hurting little girl, and that's why she is hurting you. It's not you.

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