Interesting question over at “First Person Singular”– can you make your mother happy if you are single?
My mother had a couple of unhappy marriages and once said to me that if she had to do it all over again, she would not have had children (I recall a scene in the first Bridget Jones movie in which her mother says the same thing). And yet, all during my twenties and thirties, in every phone conversation she would ask if I was dating anyone. She would also frequently mention the weddings and pregnancies of my childhood friends. I dreaded our conversations.
She was unhappy when my sister got pregnant, however, as she was married to a man who didn’t make much money. In essence, I think my mother has unacknowledged conflicted feelings, and had I married, likely would have been critical of the man I had chosen.
She’s now widowed and unhappy, lonely, and bored, so I do think that a wedding, in-laws, and babies on my part would have brought excitement and distraction to her life and given her something to brag about. I do understand the desire of most mothers to experience those milestones through their daughters and to enlarge their family network, but I can’t add guilt on top of all the other emotional struggles I have gone through to establish a satisfactory life as a woman alone.
I truly wish my mother would become one of those senior women who are happy to be alone at last and who spend their days merrily gardening, reading, etc., but alas, in her seventies, she is still hoping to meet a man and partner up again. Maybe it’s unfair of me to judge her for wanting that, but it is draining to listen to her complain about loneliness and the lack of suitable dating partners.
I live across the country for a reason.