Tuesday, December 1, 2009


one of the very first bloggers i struck up a relationship way back when i started this thing is still one of my biggest inspirations for how to parent with love and respect and a love for the good in life. besides the fact that she lives out in the county in nova scotia (where i believe my alter ego probably lives part of the year), she is supportive, open, compassionate and a wonderful role model. her kids are pretty amazing as well.
mudmama, thank you for always making me think about the way i choose to engage as a mother, a woman, a partner.

On becoming the parents we anniversary and a game review or two

Scruples "The Game of Moral Dilemnas" has got to be the worst game on the planet. I'm sure it has caused divorces. But it provided me with a very important touchpoint for my parenting. An inspiration if you will.

I had a pretty crappy childhood in many respects. My parents separated when I was 7 and my mother left my younger brother and me with our father who was a suicidal rage filled alcoholic.

He was so despondent about his marriage ending that he was completely incapable of parenting and most of my childhood memories from that point on involve shame, helplessness, and embarrassment over his perpetual drunkenness and the neglect we suffered. It was so bad that at twelve I chose moving in with my mother and her pedophile boyfriend over the kind of anxious suspended living that happened in my father's house.

As you can imagine, things weren't much better there and large parts of my teens were spent weighing neglect with love and affection that come with a horrible price, and blaming myself for being so weak that I chose the terrible affection of my stepfather over the lack of any affection from my father. I tried to get my mom to stop it the summer before 9th grade. She didn't. It seemed she was more concerned about my being a competitor for his affection than the issue that her boyfriend was sexually involved with her child. I felt to blame. I felt like I had a target on my back.

I was a pretty messed up teen, and there was a lot of anger towards my mother. Then came Christmas 1985. We got Scruples. We played as a big happy family and my mother got asked a question that reconfigured everything for me. If you could only save your child or your partner who would you save? She didn't hesitate, she'd save the man in her life because you can always replace children, you can't replace the love of your life.

It was voiced. It wasn't me. It was her. It was her worldview that was screwed up, not me. I was not trapped in that damaged place.

I left the following spring. My entire family was ripped apart by my speaking the truth. I was such a shy kid, ill equipped for being on my own and I was completely shut out of my family - holidays, funerals. I needed that love so much, craved it, I married the first boy whose family welcomed me in and included me in family dinners.

I was really lucky to have older sisters who were starting their journey as mothers as I entered this period of feeling motherless. I looked to them for guidance and inspiration. One of the things that stuck with me was the idea that children were born perfect, our job as parents was to mess with that perfection as little as possible.

When I had my oldest child I swore that our relationship would be a partnership, a lifelong dance of love and support. That I would always make decisions with his wellbeing in mind. That how I treated him in childhood would be how he treated me in my old age.

It hasn't always been easy, he has Asperger's Syndrome and we went through a period where our lives provided a lot of challenges to his sense of sameness (which he considers stability) and he reacted violently. We've added three more siblings, a stepfather, and a stepbrother to the relationship too. We all dance together and I really can't say who leads. It changes so often, whoever needs to the most at that particular point in time..

Every time I have to make a hard decision for "us" I think about that lifetime contract I signed on for in choosing to be a mother.

My oldest is the same age I was when I played that fateful game of Scruples. At Christmas we always get a family gift, often a game. This year it's the Virtue Game which focuses on compassion, respect, enthusiasm, trust, friendliness, determination, responsibility, integrity, cooperation and thankfulness. We'll sit down as a big happy family and connect with the good that exists in each of us - draw it out of one another, talk about it, and celebrate it. That's what I hope inspires my children.


  1. You have obviously become an outstanding woman and have many things of which you should be very proud. This post is inspiration incarnate, to rise above our trials and become better for it. Thank you. :)

  2. This post blows me away...not only are you such an incredible survivor, but you have also changed the patterns in your life to become what sounds like an amazing mother.

    Beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing. And thank you, Krista, for giving a place where Mudmama could share her story.

  3. (This is to Krista): Gah! No, I never got an email from you, what email address did you send it to? Crap... I'm sorry :( I hope it wasn't insanely time sensitive...I'll check my email(s) again.

  4. (also to Krista - apologies to everyone else): found the email, responded, hells yes if the offer is still up.

  5. what a beautifully written post. thank for you opening up and sharing your words and past. i love how you pinpoint the moment where everything got "reconfigured". I think a lot of us can really find moments like that that are so powerful in our worlds.

  6. I am constantly amazed at how resilient and strong some people are. Thank you for sharing this story Mudmama. Your courage to have children after all that you went through is astounding. I hope you have found your peace

  7. Indigo, thank you for this posting. It is very inspiring. Overcoming childhoods that weren't happy is a big but important career.


  8. Dearest Krista, THANK YOU for giving me this space on your blog. I didn't know what I was going to end up writing and once I was done I didn't announce my guest appearance on my blog because I didn't want to tell my mother to come read it. Howver my sisters DID end up coming here and it opened up a conversation we've never ever had. Thank you for helping me speak my truth. I've been holding it in for 20 years to keep the peace. Your gift of space lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. Thank you.

    Love mudmama (who really is a puddle right now!)

  9. Much love to Mudmama from the big sisters. xox

  10. I'm so sorry you had to live through that, but I admire the woman you have become despite it!

  11. You are a joy to the world around you, Ms. Mudmama. I've "known" you for a long time now, and you constantly inspire me in my journey toward bliss with my children.
    I'm focusing a lot on the words my friend said to me last night... that I have been protecting my family, so they wouldn't be uncomfortable. Now I'm on the other side of the room and I'm saying things, and they don't like it. I hear that in your post, too.
    For our own sake, we can't protect them.

  12. That was beautifully written. And how incredibly amazing of you to turn the pile of turds you were handed as a child into the gold you've spun with yourself, your life and your family.


use your kind words.