I went to my brother’s house today to do some bookwork.
He and I get on well but he is inclined to push my buttons with some of his comments. I know I have gone on about this in my previous blog but the change is that I have a different approach to it these days. I no longer feel the need to be defensive.
My brother and I have diametrically different parenting styles. I am quite liberal and have always treated my son the way that I would have liked to have been be treated as a child. His childhood is the complete opposite to my own, and with good reason. So, I guess I have always allowed him a ‘voice’ and I have always taken into account his thoughts when making decisions on different things. No doubt he will tell me in about ten years or so where I went wrong as a parent but that is okay (and normal).
My brother uses ‘teach kids a lesson’ method of parenting. The method is comorbid with the ‘do as I tell you or else (insert word)’ style. Both methods are delivered with a loud and threatening voice. He is also subversively critical of my (and my husband’s) parenting style by making comparisons to how he brings up his kids and how we bring up our son.
Over the years I have, like most parents, had real doubts about whether or not I’ve been a good mother. This was compounded quite a lot when I became stable as I wondered if I could have been a better mother had I addressed my bipolar at the original time of diagnosis. That goes hand in hand with the questions about whether or not I may have been a better employee or a better partner in my marriage. Or, over all, just a better person.
I think that becoming stable after years of instability brings forth a different kind of self doubt, the self doubt that comes with reflecting back on life beforehand. It’s a very pointless exercise to question what has passed and to then self flagellate oneself for perceived failings, however it is not always easy to avoid going down that path.
Maybe all this self doubt is really just another stepping stone to somewhere new.