She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

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It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized the words of a three year old could cut so deeply…

When I was about 14, maybe 15, I got in one of the many arguments that teenage daughters have with their mothers. For two people like us, who are so genetically entwined, arguments were just par for the course. During one of those particular snarling matches, for reasons I’ll never remember, I told my mother I hated her. It was the first and last time, as it was badly received with a slap across my face … which I deserved 100%.

What I didn’t realize until today, was the stingy pain on my cheek was nothing but a mere tap compared to the hurt she must have felt by those words. When a mother gives up her body to bring you life, when she gives you her every waking moment for months after your birth, when she gives you 18 years of her entire life … a little love and respect is not much to expect in return.

Yesterday, I felt that stingy pain of a slap to the heart when I was shopping with husband and daughters.

As we were checking out, Kaydence became infuriated with me when I asked her for the 100th time to sit on her bottom in the cart. My demand was met with hands on the hips, her snarling face and a scream (that everyone could hear) … “I HATEĀ  YOU MOMMY!

… the words literally stabbed me in the heart.

Within seconds of crying in front of everyone, I pulled her from the cart and talked to her in a secluded corner about how she made me feel. While I didn’t get one of her sweet “I’m sorry” replies, I did get a hug, which was just a mere bandaid for the pain.

The sad part … while it may be the first time she says it, it probably won’t be the last. I suppose I’ll have to toughen up a bit before her teenage years come crashing down on me because if she thinks I a mean mom now, she doesn’t know what she’s in for.

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  1. Kalr3 says:

    Ugh… My four year old daughter says things like that…in addition to saying similar things to her big sister such as, “You are NOT my sister anymore,” and, “I’m never going to be nice to you AGAIN.” I try to let it roll off my back but her sensitive sister has a much harder time with it. We talk a lot about how once you say something to someone, you can’t UN-say it so you better mean what you say and try hard not to say things you don’t mean. It’s a tough lesson at that age…but I’m really hoping if I consistently repeat myself, she’ll get it eventually.

  2. Aww, I can imagine just how you feel. My boys say the meanest or most hurtful things sometimes. And really, it HURTS.. which thy of course don’t understand. But exactly like you said, we make sacrifices for them since the moment they are conceived and they will just never understand. Hope you don’t have many more of these moments :(

  3. As you say, it wasn’t the first time, and if you do your job right as a mom, it won’t be the last. What parent HASN’T heard those words?

  4. I remember telling my Mom I hated her when I was a teen, and to this day I feel EXTREMELY guilty about it! She slammed the door shut, and I’m pretty sure she was crying – which at the time, my smug 13 year old self thought “good”. Today, I feel horrible when I think about that moment and the moments I’m sure are coming in the future with my own daughter.

  5. Aw, Cat. I did the same thing to my mom. Only once, she was so deeply hurt and at the time I didn’t understand why.

    Daughters….

  6. HUGs I think all kids go through that and my response now is “I bet you love me when I give you Ice cream and cake but that’s not going to happen anymore”. That’s when I see the smile and the apology face and the I love you Mommy comes out again. and I always say NOPE…You’ll have a lot of kissin up to do before you get anything from me again now…do what I told you!

    after going through 2 other kids and that phase…I’m not wise to that tactic. Hang in there MOM u know she didn’t mean it the way she said it

  7. Wow, that’s hard. I’m not sure what I would do.

  8. I’m certain I’ve never said that to my mom (really, she’s just that awesome) but I have said it to my dad, many times. I can only imagine what it must have felt for him, especially given the relationship I have with my mom. Being a parent is tough. {HUGS}

  9. Awww…I know how it feels, my son says it to me sometimes too and it DOES hurt! :( I just remember that at this age they really don’t understand the meaning of the word hate they just know it will push buttons and get a reaction. Now when they’re teenagers it’s a different story. I’m so not looking forward to those days but I do look forward to the days when they are adults and say sorry for all the bad things they ever did and then repay you with grandchildren. Better still? The days when they get their pay backs (like we currently are) with the same actions and words from their own children. lol ;)

  10. I’m joining the club. I’m mean mommy everyday, but I just laugh it off. Maybe it’s a boy thing. I think the worst time for me and my mom was after puberty. I didn’t want to talk to her after that. It was around the same time Greg and I met too. Being the only child, she was so over protective, I could.not.wait. to move out. Well, doing so has worked wonders :).

  11. That’s gotta be the worst! I’m sorry! On a happy note, our daughters have the same name!

  12. I feel for you. In my situation, my foster son spent much of his very early years in a situation where screaming, swearing, and IMO, verbal abuse was common. When he gets angry, his first reaction is often to say something mean and nasty. It can be very frustrating but, I have ton remind myself of his upbringing. While he has made strides, we still have a long way to go.

  13. Awwwww, Cat, I’m sorry you had to hear that from one of your kids. I wish I could lend you words of support here, but I’m not a mom, so I really don’t know how much it hurts-I don’t even think I could imagine.

  14. Liz P says:

    Awww, I think it’s sweet that you were so unsuspecting of it, that it made you cry. I think that shows you are a tender-hearted person, to say the least. Sooner or later, that ‘tough-love’ will have to kick in. Hopefully later, rather than sooner, Cat. ;)

  15. It seems like this brings up memories for everyone! I told my mom that and she said, “Good. I hate you too.” Which was crushing to me– aren’t parents supposed to be like God, able to take & deflect abuse? My kids have said that to me and I say, “I’m sorry to hear that. I love you and I always will.” They haven’t said it in a long time, come to think of it..maybe it gave them so little satisfaction that it’s not worth it, LOL.

  16. Thanks for this thoughtful, sensitive blog. My daughter used the equally painful: “you don’t love me” – a clear guilt-trip manipulation, but quite effective.

    I’m the founder and CEO of Wizpert – an online platform where users can speak with a parenting or relationship expert right now, free of charge. Many users have already called with various questions and issues that they wanted to discuss. I’ve actually personally received some mind-opening advice about my strong-willed toddler and the dysfunctional relationship between my kids (revolving around a competition for parental attention). Feels great to be able to speak with someone with deep knowledge and experience…

    Feel free to give it a try – we’re in beta, and would appreciate your feedback: michael@wizpert.com