Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rules on Becoming a SMC

My mother might be moving.... away.  Like six hours by car, away.  She's my only immediate family in the area and my first line of defense.  Or support.  Or help.  Or something.

She met someone.  A friend introduced her to her father and after emailing and talking on the phone with him for about a year, he drove here to meet her.  They vacationed together.  And he drove here to see her again. She has plans to visit him next weekend by plane, is traveling with him to his daughter's house in another state for Thanksgiving, and has already booked a flight to go there for the New Year's holiday.  She said it's a miracle they found each other.  I'm THRILLED for her.  Thrilled.  Truly.

It's no secret on this blog that my mom and I do not always see eye-to-eye.  Part of that, I think, stems from the fact that she has been lonely and her only real outlet has been caring for the twins a few days each week and helping me when I've needed it.  She has been so much happier since she met this man and, in turn, we have been getting along really well.  (She still does things differently with the boys than I do but doesn't flip out when I mention it, or when I ask a question -we both are tolerating things better.)

And now there's talk about one of them moving so they can be together.  He has grown children but no grandchildren nearby.  He has a house and some boating and wood working hobbies.  He already wants to sell his house and move to a quieter neighborhood.  But you know what?  She wants to move there.  She has an apartment so I guess it makes sense but he already wants to sell his house.  They are going HOUSE HUNTING when she visits next weekend. 

She has grandbabies here.  She wants to move away from them.  He lives an hour outside of New York City. And she loves the city. 

The selfish part of me (and, yes, I am aware that this post is showing the selfish side of me) wants to call her out.  We talked about this.  She said she would be here.  Before I started fertility treatments (when the "plan" was one baby), I asker her if she was on-board.  To be fair, I would have proceeded even if she wasn't but not only was she, she offered to help.  Originally she wanted to watch the kids full-time.  And I'm not even just talking about the childcare I would be losing - what about the Grandma care?  What about the middle-of-the-night trips to the ER and I have 2 kids and one of me?  What about the fevers and colds and broken bones and what about when I get sick?  We talked about this.  I don't lean on her at night right now.  I (knock on wood) haven't had to call her for help beyond her scheduled babysitting since the boys were sick last year.  But she does help.  She comes by most Sundays without me asking and I get to run an errand or color my hair or mow the lawn or clean out closets.  She does most of the twins' laundry.  She sews holes and makes sauce and plants flowers.

I do my damnest to do it all on my own "just in case" I have to.  But to actually HAVE TO?  Without a safety net? 

I had a feeling this was coming.  When she brought it up, I was very supportive.  We joked about what furniture of hers I would get.  I didn't say a word about my reservations about how I would manage my mother's choice to move away from my family.  Typing it out makes it sound even more ridiculous.  I could have called her out.  I could have said, "You said you would be here.  You said you would help.  You said I could call and you would come running."   And more recently, I could have said, "We talked about me taking a new job and you said you would help with the twins when I am on-call for work."  But, nope.  I didn't say any of it.  And don't plan to.  Even if I could say those things out loud, if anything I had to say convinced her to stay and he moved here and he hated it or they hated it or whatever, she would probably resent me.  And possibly resent the twins.  I could never risk that. 

But, again, she might be moving away from her grandsons.  They are a huge part of her life.  In one of our early arguments, she feared I would cut her out of their lives, (which I would never do) and once she asked if I would allow the boys to have a continuity of family.  Now she might be choosing to move away when there are possible other options. 

And I might be losing my safety net.  And breaking a huge SMC rule.  Physical support.


  1. I have no advise, but I'm sorry you are having to deal with this.

  2. Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry. I don't know what I would do without family support. I hope she comes down from the new relationship cloud long enough to gain a little perspective on what she's doing.

  3. I'm sorry this is happening. Do you have some friends that could help here and there? I don't like asking but sometimes you have to.

  4. I'm glad your mom is happy, but oh, that just hurts. I'm so sorry.

  5. Do you have any neighbors that you're close with or that have kids similar ages? While my parents support me, they live over an hour away so if I needed immediate help, I have a whole different support network of friends and neighbors that I call on.

  6. I'm sorry this is happening. For what it's worth, I did not follow that rule. Not because I'm a rebel or I didn't believe in the importance of physical support from family but because I just didn't have it. As an only child with a very rocky relationship with my own mother, I had to decide if the lack of existing family was enough to keep me from building a new family. I threw caution to the wind and I won't lie, there have been plenty of harrowing moments when I cursed the lack of grandma in our lives. Still, it is possible to survive the difficult days and seemingly impossible logistics of being a single mom to two. It's easier with a grandma (or grandpa or aunt, etc.) but it can be done with alternate support like friends, coworkers and neighbors. (I have had coworkers go out of their way to help even though I've never thought of us as particularly close.) Hang in there!


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