FAMILY DYSFUNCTION -- Ponder Families that are so alienated, jealous siblings result! Scenario of The "Too Busy" Mom, the At-Work-all-day Dad where the Children are sadly ignored ! Maybe worse than kids scarred by mom/dad fighting is the Mexican Maid syndrome. HOW TO AVOID ALL OF THIS!
Knowing the sorrows of family dysfunction, I don't want the horrors that happened to me and my sister back during the Eisenhower 50's to happen to anybody else. We grew like weeds. That was the problem. My parents never fought. I never heard anger in a voice ever. They were creative, busy and let us go our way happily. We didn't abuse that privilege, we did pretty much what would have pleased them. My parents were friends to one another. Nothing sexual went on. And for that reason, there were a few sad weeks there at the end of 20 yrs of their marriage, when my dad had a secret chorus girl gal pal and my mom drank wine at dinner and got teary. Soon she went to Las Vegas and got a divorce, then, she moved to Mexico City and married an ExPat guy named Roy. Sis and I got our own apartments and jobs. We didn't know what was going on while we grew up and never complained or THOUGHT there was anything deficient but still, the dysfunction in our twenty years of being together was enough to sink me and my sister as if they'd drowned us at birth.
How? They were busy being great and happy narcissists. I never thought such a bright little family would qualify for dysfunction. Mom was sweet, social, graceful, artistic, busy at her art classes, going to metaphysical lectures or doing astrology horoscopes for friends. Dad was at the studio arranging music for MGM musicals, always funny and bright, performing at the dinner table though not for the two girls really. But always upbeat.
I only saw my family had dysfunction when observing that my little sister Sylvia always seemed very cool. She seemed deficient in friendliness. For sixty years, I've noticed that she seems to look down on me. I'm the peppy gregarious extrovert Bohemian Hippie Aquarius; she's the cool, very rational, hard working legal secretary Virgo. My children all warned me she hates me that she has shown that side to them. So it's not my imagination.
I attribute that scar in her to my parents leaving her with Grandpa, whom she didn't know, while for two weeks we took the train across the continent to New York, helped Grandma clean out the apartment there in Manhattan for the big move to L.A. The little 5 year old brat (me,) got to go to New York and my baby sister age three was left with a total stranger. My mother said that when we came back, the toddler was depressed, sullen, silent, a mess and for the next two decades, my Mom had to deal with a troubled child. From that point on, Sis never did a kind thing for me and ultimately when I was in my fifties, she sabotaged my life so horribly that there are not words to tell it. .
Only at one holiday when i showed up with no coat on an icy night was she nice to me..She made our half brother (dad's early marriage) come pick me up --way out in the valley. 40 Extra miles for him! Daytime so I had no coat. We went xmas window shopping for 3 hours, and showed up late, when it was blowing. She gave me one of her old coats before we left for cafe and she paid for my hot chinese dinner. It was kindness. It was attention. Only it's taken six decades to get to it. And that was the last time I heard from her in four years.
My mother is extremely kind; she has never spoken an angry word in her life. She's always polite; At age l00, she can still beat my daughter in backgammon, still loves books most of all so and she saves the good paperbacks that fall into her hands --for me. When I'm there at my Sister's or now at Old age home, visiting, she's friendly, not exhuberant, but loving and very polite and gentle in her ways.
Once about a decade ago I slipped and criticized her handling of her marriage, well the divorce.....actually. She at that time had me, a kid of l8 and my sister, age 17 and my mom got pissed at my dad and just disappeared. She left the country to live in Mexico! Sis and I were like half baked cakes! She just turned off the oven. I told her so and said many tragedies were attributable to that move. Well, she didn't talk to me a whole lot for ten years after that. Or she talked but it was cooler than usual. Her reaction was so intense, I began to think back over my life with her and realized that there were subtler dysfunctions, earlier ones, hidden, but they paved the way for the big ones.
In the first years I knew her, MY MOM had a verrrrrrry light touch as a mother. LIKE NOT THERE AT ALL? A maid gave me breakfast, I got myself off to school. She was VERY engrossed in her own social/ art and studies life. I made huge life decisions, and not always the right ones, and my mother and I had no talking-it-over GOING. None. Aware that the light-touch parent could happen, and the results be dramatic and nuts, I TRIED so hard to be involved w. my kids every step of the way....but LIFE IS SOOOOOOO seductive. One gets so 'into romance, career, work, that you get BUSY with stuff'. And then at times you're so busy surviving you do not have an hour for upclose and personal talk time.
I SEE NOW with full clarity why nature makes a man DOMINATE THAT WOMAN and will, if he can, TIE HER TO THE upbringing of the KID and the welfare of the household and if she strays one centimeter from that path, he beats the (#%*) out of her (at least in about fifty countries!) But not here in America. Too bad.
Here, we have career girls. I wouldn't say they're happier than the mother wearing a Burkha (veil), at home with her children and mother-in-law breathing down her neck. But I'll say this, the professional Mommy has close relationships with her children, bagsful of memories, really affected her children. They ate every morsel moment of life like gourmets and remember the exact flavor. The distracted socialite wife off with her teacher, guru, group barely knows her children. And well, the unhappy career girl --- juggling desk work all day, picking up kids at sitters, only spending an hour at best with babies ---is a mess and neither she nor her children have a single memory to cuddle up to in old age
If a woman has to work all day, pick up the infant at a daycare, she's stressed, depressed. If she runs an office in the home, maybe there's no income from a daddy, she's sulking around the house about her sad 'fate' and being irritated at the child when he or she yells for Mom. Every petition by the child seems like HORRIFIC demands! That parent will unwittingly without meaning to, TOTALLY CURE that infant of sharing her feelings, her needs. A single acrid retort from parent will totally STOP the child from asking. You'll teach her to CHOOSE friends who don't give ---as she will never ask, never ever.
Without meaning to, this 'busy' efficient parent could PROGRAM the baby to think she's a loser, that she cannot be put on a pedestal, ever. That daughter will NOT be USED to diva behavior. Not used to princess behavior. More like used to MAID behavior. She'll learn that she'd just better get used to living as a lowborn shitkicker as 'that's all there is.' This is 'how it is.' The parent's eternal busy-ness and 'self involvement and self pity' will teach her that she'd better shut up and put up. She may become agreeable and slavish and seek to please. And become a GIVER.
That is the worst thing for a woman. GIVERS are slaves. A GOOD WOMAN IS A TAKER An asker, a demander. A GOOD MAN is a GIVER I know this and I fear for my granddaughter. I watch my son juggle a career, a cottage industry out of the house where he is the caretaker of a new born infant. This condition has, til today, lasted a year and a month. He is peevish, impatient with the child. I warned him, "You will strip her of her inborn feminine gentle goddesshood, a kind of royalty, bleach out of her all feeling of entitlement....it'll be abraded with the emery board of DAD's sulking, FILED down to a woeful little stump. She'll become a fearful girl who will not KNOW or have a clue that a woman can be ADORED, respected, treated like a queen. As happens to a lot of ladies. They don't know how great they are. They sell themselves short.
I write to my four kids, "Did you ever see grandpa ALBERT with his younger kids? The two from the fourth wife? It wasn't much but it was way more attention than Syl and I got. He was l00 times kinder to Jenny than he was to me and Sis. He treated us like wallpaper. Well, that's how he treated his Boy by 4th wife, CHRIS, also. Terribly. Awful. George Bassman, his friend, once warned me, 'Al is destroying that boy'. In Sis' and my case, not a rude word ever except "TURN OFF TV at 9pm!" Yelled. But aside from that, we didn't exist. He was caught up in his life. In my entire life I never talked with him about anything nor him with me. Nor did I ever hear a word from his parents, Grandma or Grandpa Szendrei --they were the same way! They were caught up in their own minds, careers and lives. If we went to LAUREL AVE where they lived, which we did often, there was not a word spoken to me or Sis. The adults spoke quietly among themselves.
I nag my eldest son who's Mr. Mom, (his wife is an accountant,) to pay gentle but continual attention to his new daughter "Can you see how...If a little girl is nothing, or if a child is nothing to the opposite sex parent, that child will grow up to never have 'standing' with either the people that they pick as sweethearts or with their mates? GIVE your new daughter STANDING, primary standing. Next and way far behind....is focusing on your fabulous artistic photo work, the career he runs out of the home while his daughter calls for Daddy's sole attention to be focused on her. Last is the blues about 'how it is.' That doesn't belong in the quotient. Cuz it bums you so bad you can't do the first two!
You need to forget your problems and just play with the kid when she's awake. Creative play. Goonie-play with your daughter. Watching movies and explaining between scenes what's going on. And above all BOOMPAH! Acrobatics, balancing a child up on your feet while you lie on your back. And Ring around the maypole. And you be a barking dog scaring her as a cat, And then let her be the dog and bark and scare you!
Then, play cards, play Checkers, Monopoly, shoot marbles. Make a compost pile of all kitchen garbage, but not meat, fat... show kiddies how WORMS are there, no where else! Amazing. And worm poop? The best soil is made of it! Then Dig rows in the garden, amend, then seed them. Water the vegies, cook them into little meat pies. You need to be a celebration on wheels. A FUN GUY reading her funny books, doing all the voices. Making up fairy tales at nap and bedtime. Cuz lemme tell you. The SECOND you stop all that fun and games, you both grow apart and all the OTHER things parents do, the goal oriented career activity, all the art classes and events you go to for your cultural life, all the handling the logistics of feeding, dressing, schlepping to school ..just haven't got the bonding material we call life's true glue in them. No cohsion.. There's just parent and baby together in a semi stuporous, survival mode. It isn't the epicurean, gourmet moments of life full of humor, imagination, brilliance that never are forgotten and which make us MORE alive.. More in love. More capable of love.
Moms, stay home with the family. You save 100$ to 200$ a week on maids, 350$ a week per child on daycare. Average family two kids, messy home, two maid visits that's 4thousand bucks a month you save. Now you don't need an S.U.V to be a hockey mom either. Save another 2 thousand a month. Take that 6k a month and get your kids books, educational cable, and run a baby college in there as real colleges are 28k a year per child unless you have activist meetings on one week night a month, see "HOW TO GET COLLEGE FOR FREE ---ACTIVISM IDEAS we can do on OUR block of the city.
I am interested in babies and child raising, so here are sites you might like, a list assembled by a writer, Jan Levinson who apparently has a LIST online, I googled her, couldn't find her anywhere, but this article in my daily newspaper today says that she runs a unique blog on babies/parents, etc. and she lists her favorite PARENTING SITES as:
http://www.dooce.com early years funny...sad thing is, she got very dull later with the 40k a month in ads.
Research and read, then maybe write about baby and child raising issues, and maybe even get published THERE!
Read the books of Linda and Richard EYRE, "Teaching your Children Joy' and "Teaching your Children Values." Any library can send out for them, charge you a mere quarter, 25c.
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