My initial response is to say “no, of course she doesn’t”, but I do realize, I am really lucky.
My mother is fantastic. Our major point of contention for the most recent years of my life is that when, she visits, I go out of the apartment and leave her there for half an hour, and I come back to find all of my clothes arranged by color. I believe at 22 I shouted things like “it’s my apartment! Mine! And I’ll arrange the closets how I want to arrange them!” Followed by a lot of weeping about how I just don’t have time to put them all in the proper color arrangement. At 26 I shout things like “thank you! Look at how 90 percent of my wardrobe is either blue or neutrals! Please take a look at the cabinets! Do you like dusting!? I have dusting supplies! They have never been used!” Because, no, really, I don’t have time. It’s fine.
So, basically, my main fight with my mother is that she does stuff better than I do. I mean, we fought a bunch when I was a teenager, mostly because she wanted me to do my math homework, and I wanted to never do that, ever, and I stand by that. (KIDS! THEY ARE LYING TO YOU! YOU WILL NEVER, EVER NEED MORE THAN 4TH GRADE MATH WHEN YOU GROW UP! IMAGINARY NUMBERS AREN’T EVEN A THING!) But I think you’re supposed to fight with your parents as a teenager. I never doubted, even then, that she still loved me.
But it appears that other people have mothers who are awful. Like, wow, they are awful. Maria-Louise Warne writes:
When Irene Warne walked into a room, people looked at her. Just before we reached the home that day, our arms full of carefully-packaged toys, my mother bent down to my level and whispered words which I have never forgotten. ‘If you say or do anything which displeases me, I will leave you here and tell your father you have run away,’ she hissed.
‘No one will ever find you.’
The cosy mother-daughter routine was nothing more than a cynical act on my mum’s part: in truth she couldn’t bear to have any physical contact with me – she never held my hand, cuddled or kissed me – and loathed the very ground I walked on.
Where other mothers protect their children, mine always wanted to frighten me – a goal she achieved with depressing consistency throughout my childhood and well into my adult life.
And then there’s Nigella Lawson’s account, who says her mother simply didn’t like her. She says:
“She was funny but depressed and so sensitive to noise. The sound of a plastic bag being crinkled would send her deranged. She’d shout at all of us and say, ‘I’m going to hit you till you cry’, and so I never would cry. I still don’t.
“It wasn’t a calculated thing; it was hot-blooded hitting, a thrashing out of things. Once she had to stop hitting Dominic [Nigella’s brother] as she hurt her hand.
“She just didn’t like me; maybe because I came after Dominic the princeling and I was my father’s girl she was jealous, I don’t know.
“I would say I’m sorry for whatever it was, some mess, and she’d say, ‘Why do you think being inconsiderate is an excuse?”’
This is awful. Like, this is really horrifying to me. What’s your relationship with your mother like? Things going okay in that regard, buddy?