"How can you be a mother in your mother's house?" I overheard that question some years ago when my son was still young. I went into the workforce about nine months after he was born. I was still in college though not on campus. I had talked to my teachers and worked out a way to complete my course work so that I could still get my degree thought I was not going back to New York. I was at home living with my mother and working part time.
Now I have my degree and my son just turned eight this past April. I am still in my mother's house because I don't have the means to leave. It is worse now because I am currently unemployed. This is not where I saw myself five years ago.
My mother and I disagree sometimes about how I should raise my son. She is in her fifties and I just turned thirty one. There is a generational difference with the way people my age and people like my mom raise children. We mostly disagree on discipline. My mother spanked us when we were little. That is not the problem. I have no problem with spanking. Neither do my brother and sister. The problem is that she acts like I cut my son too much slack. I am not as tough on him as she was on us.
A few nights ago it got bad. My son has a problem with inviting people to things without asking us. He invited my mother's fiance to a block party that was happening in a few days on our block. My mother knew nothing about it and was embarrassed that he invited her boyfriend and he asked her what was going on and she had no answer. So this lead to arguing and her berating me in front of my son for him coming to the door and giving the invitation. In reality we had no plans for the block party. She says she felt stupid and embarrassed and is angry that he made the invitation. She tells me to "control my child" and suggests that I let him do whatever he wants all the time.
I have been seething ever since. For one thing I don't let my son do whatever he wants all the time. I give him room to grow, but I reign him in when needed. He got spanked today for not getting his school work done when I told him to do it. The problem is that I give him chances. Sometimes I give him too many chances, but I do punish him when he does wrong. My mother and people her age come from a time when a child got slapped for talking back, and there were very few chances. My aunt who is older than my mother, says in reference to mothers and their children "You should fear God and me." She told me that her son was afraid of her until he was ten or twelve years old. Her logic goes like this: If I call my son to me and he doesn't come I should go over to him and smack him and then ask him why he didn't come. There are few chances.
I don't want to raise my son like that. Don't get me wrong. My aunt is a good woman and I have no problem with the way I was disciplined as a child. I was mostly good so I didn't get spanked a lot. My brother however was a different story. My aunt raised two children who have families of their own and are mostly on good terms with her. Her son was in the Army and her daughter became a nurse.
I want the freedom to raise my child the way I want to without my mother telling me I'm doing it wrong or claiming I don't discipline my son. Because I don't want to do things her way she accuses me of never listening to her.
"How can you be a mother in your mother's house?" Sometimes I feel like I am still a child in this house. If I had the money I would be gone. I applied for housing assistance, but the waiting list is long and I've been waiting for more than a year already.