Sunday, 9 August 2009

Shameless - the Unrepetant Mother

When Mr Nighttime sent me the link to this article and asked for my opinion, it certainly provoked a whole range of emotions. Not least of which was my smile of recognition at the usual bombastic black and white reporting style of the Daily Mail.

The first thing I thought was that this woman had certainly crammed quite a lot into her short number of years and that, by starting her family so young, she had lost that precious time when, as a teenager, you get to be independent and responsible only for yourself. That her behaviour now was an attempt to make up for that lost time in terms of her education and her freedom.

And then, as I read through, I started to think about her oldest daughter, Susan, and wondering if, by 'taking over a motherly role' to her younger siblings whilst she is in her late teens, she would feel the same resentment towards Marie as I do towards my own mother, who left me to fulfil a similar role in her absence. For Marie has now done to Susan what she did to herself of her own free will, but without allowing her daughter to have the choice. Thrust upon her the maternal role before she has even had a chance to live, whilst Marie pursues her own desires.

It was that sense of abandonment and the theft of part of my childhood that made me so determined not to do the same thing to my own children. It was why I clung to my marriage even when I knew that everything had gone wrong with it. For the sake of my children.

But there comes a point, as my Counsellor said, when you have to ask yourself what you would do if you were not afraid (of the consequences or anything else)?

So I applaud Marie for having the courage to do that. To walk away from something that made her very unhappy and grasp the future with both hands. However, her quotes do make me feel that she is doing a bit of an ostrich impression in terms of its effect on her other children, especially as she has had to curtail the time she spent with them to focus on her new baby.

And, on the basis of her previous behaviour, I can't help wondering if it really will be third time lucky when she has had to give up the studies that were so important to her to cope with a small child who has a heart condition.

Nevertheless, I keep my fingers crossed for her... and for her family.

1 comment:

Ro said...

I think that relationships have always been complex. The only difference nowadays, perhaps, is that women don't feel as trapped in a relationship as they used to.

It doesn't make things simpler, though; it just adds a whole sheaf of complex alternatives to the list!

In fact, the thing that struck me the hardest about that article was not the fact that a mother was able to leave her children (ignoring the, perhaps, rather superficial approach taken by the Daily Mail) but that she seems so damn keen on procreation.

Have I missed something? Is it really compulsory now to have children with each and every partner?