Six months ago, I boarded a Cruise Ship. It was that or throwing myself off a bridge.
I felt too evil to live, and before I did anything, I needed a pause. I needed to be able to think. I couldn't do that in my flat. Not with all the reminders, the possible attacks by my children.
As I boarded the ship my eyes hit six women wearing "Bad Mama Crew" tee shirts.
They were happy, generating such a sense of success it nearly knocked me over.
Once the ship underway, I searched, finding them by a pool. They were talking and one noticed me. She spoke, and I burst into tears.
Here are six women, strangers, who had the same experiences I had. Women who had felt the same way about themselves that I did. Until they met each other. Until they realized they were not alone.
Those women spoke as if they'd lived my life. The same hurt and anger I was assaulted with, they had survived. Not just survived, they saw it for what it really was.
These women, as myself, held high positions, were somewhat famous in their areas. And their children resented it...My children resented it.
If I hadn't met these women I'd accept the guilt. Feel at fault...but having met them, hearing their experiences I realized the fault was not in me.
My children, as theirs, attacked them for being what they could not achieve. My children resented me because they couldn't be me. They expressed their frustration by attacks.
One of the members of the Bad Mama Crew, 'Toothpick' (for they went by nicknames) recounted her daughter's wedding.
Toothpick could have invited the leader of the country to the wedding for they were friends, but her daughter barked; "I want my wedding the way I want my wedding!"
So it was at an all inclusive hotel.
Instead of a First Class Wedding at a precious venue, with newspaper coverage, her daughter chose to be one of a batch of brides at an All Inclusive.
Toothpick laughed herself silly. For she had nothing to do. Just show up and leave.
Hearing that, I could reflect on my own children. My children who turned down all sorts of wonderful opportunities ...
To hurt me.
To hurt me, because they resented my success.
My Own Crew
Returning home after the magnificent Cruise I decided to create my own Bad Mama Crew.
As a writer I composed a story about mother's whose children 'hate' them. Not because they did anything negative, but because they were successful.
I wrote my own story. If my kids read it, they'd know, but I doubt they'd touch anything with my name on it.
But so what!
As the women of the BMC told me..."EJECT!"
Eject all their negativity, eject all my self doubt, eject the sense that I should of or could of done something else. I wasn't wrong. I wasn't a bad mother. They were bad children.
The article I wrote in newspaper 'went viral' and I was invited to give talks.
Many women flocked me with stories which matched my own, just as mine had matched those six women of the BMC.
I formed my own BMC giving myself and all members nicknames.
We had weekly meetings where we'd turn insults into compliments. We saved for a Cruise where we would pamper ourselves with what our children considered their 'inheritance'.
I suspected that our Cruise, wearing our tee shirts, would attract other women who shared our experiences.
The members of my BMC looked so much younger after three months of meetings and were so much more cheerful.
They no longer accepted their children's criticisms as true, no longer took the blame.
One would have sworn those at the first meetings were in their sixties. Now they looked early forties, if that old.
My Crew was growing larger every week.
Then my phone rang.
My daughter shouted; "Mommy, what are you doing?" in her 'I'm the Boss' voice, adding; "I am so ashamed of you!"
"Hi Baby!" I replied in the most giddy voice.
"What is going on with this club you formed? And writing about me!"
I took a breath, 'Ejected' my anger, my need to 'defend' myself. With the happiest voice I could find; "I'm admitting I'm that terrible mother you always claimed! You should be happy."
"How can I be happy?" She shouted, and went off on a tirade.
Before I'd met the Bad Mama Crew, I'd listen, feel hurt, defend myself. But now, it was merely a brat trying to hurt me, and failing.
I recalled when she was a child who had imitated me, wanting to be me, growing into an angry teenager realizing she would never be me, so deciding to reject everything I was and believed in, taking the anti to my pro.
I blessed the BMC for revealing this simple fact and permitting my life to flow easy and stress less.
I let her babble, then, "I have to go..." and hung up.
And I was smiling.