Friday, January 29, 2021

Mommy Breakdowns

I hadn't had a major mommy breakdown in years now. I have been blessed to have a daughter who is sweet and malambing and caring and who keeps me sane more than anyone else in the world (in short: a daughter who isn't anything like I was as a child). But I had one today anyway. A major mommy breakdown.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was 21 years old - practically a baby myself when I look back on it. And the first thing I told myself was that I would never be like my own mother. I would never make my daughter feel like less than she was. I would never belittle her. I would never say harsh words to her. I would be there for her through every heartbreak and every tear, and I would be a friend to her. I would be the mother I had always dreamed of having: someone who understands, someone who always has her back, and someone who never makes sumbat or makes her feel bad.

It has been hard to be that kind of mother. Because no matter how much I feel like I am raising her right - to be independent, strong, and above all things, loving and kind - the fact of the matter is that I had to move back in with my parents many years ago: into the toxic environment that I had left when I was in college because I wanted to save myself.

There are moments when I look at Syrena and feel a sense of pride, but then my mother says something that immediately makes me feel like I'm an awful parent. According to my mother, I don't give my daughter enough attention. I don't feed her enough. I don't care about her. The list goes on. Almost every day, there is something to be said about what a failure of a parent I am mixed with complaints about having to take care of her granddaughter because I'm too busy working. And take note that my mother very well knows that I have a mental health issue. That doesn't seem to have any bearing in anything at all. LOL.

I lived with this kind of mentality and heard these kinds of words for decades but I am still not used to it. My dad repeatedly tells me to just shut out her noise; but even if I shut it out, I still hear it, you know? And so I am still stuck here in a toxic household, unhappy and dying inside.

Why don't I just leave? That's another story, but trust me when I say that there are things in play that prevent me from doing so. Back to the matter at hand: as mentioned, Syrena is amazing. A lot of people ask me whether I regret becoming a mother - whether I ever wish that I had taken the other route. And I always say no in a heartbeat. Always.

I don't regret having Syrena. I really don't. I don't regret becoming a mother earlier than I was prepared for it. But today, Syrena did something that was so like her father, I couldn't take it.

I have to admit that this isn't the first time Syrena has reminded me of her father. In fact, she looks exactly like him and I am reminded of him every day because of that. She even has his mannerisms and his brain, which surprises me to no end because he literally hasn't been in her life for almost a decade... but she lied about something today. Something that Henry had lied to me about in the past. And she did it so casually - in the exact same manner that her dad used to. And I just lost it.

I found myself saying things that I had said to Henry so many years ago. I found myself feeling the exact kind of anger and frustration I had felt towards him - a feeling I had promised myself never to feel towards my daughter. And once again, I had felt like I had failed as a mother.

I don't think people truly understand how hard it is to live with a mental condition. How you literally have to force yourself not to feel things because you're unsure whether the feelings stem from your mental condition or because you're actually rightfully feeling them. 

I broke down out of frustration and anger and resentment and all of these feelings that I've been bottling up day in and day out while pretending I am okay. If you're a mom - especially a single mom - you should understand. You want to be perfect. You want to put up a happy facade. You want the world to think you've got it together.

But I don't have it together. I've reached my breaking point. And I am oh-so-tired.


  1. We all have are breaking points. I'm sure your an awesome parent. Don't let your mother bring you down hug. I'm sure she trying to help but doesn't realize she doing harm.

  2. Just to remind, Sy is barely 11. She is literally a work in progress, and would be so for a long while. Her mistakes and deficiencies--the latest of which unnerved all of us who share this common space we call home--are not permanent, but she needs to go through these for her to understand what life is all about. Our role is to show her the way, but even that may miss the point that she is not us, and that she hears a different drum. Part of the fault may lie in us, for she reflects all that is good and bad in the people she deals with. Give her time; let us continue to nurture and guide her instead, with the caveat that she does need space to realize who she was meant to be. In the meantime, do as you have been doing. You are a good mother for Sy (and those who insinuate that you are not, well, that is just who they are). Sy has been a blessing--not perfect, but so are we (and we should know better after all these years). I bet that, when all is said and done, Sy will be a better representation of how it is to be human than anyone of us. Love you, anak! From, Lolo ni Sy