General Etiquette > Family and Children

4th of July Memories: Getting Mad at Mom Loooooong After the Fact

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As I raise my now 7 y.o. DD, I find myself (as do all parents) dealing with new situations and occasional crisis.  Some things just drag up memories and cause me to mull them over in my head as I never gave them much thought before.

1) When I was about 3, I tumbled down the basement stairs and smashed my face into an old water heater lying at the bottom.  It crushed the bridge of my nose.  Mom & Grandma treated it by putting ice on it.  I have a pronounced scar there to this day and DD recently asked me about how it got there.  Her 7 y.o. logic made her ask why I didn't go to the hospital.  I'd all but forgotten the incident until I recounted it to her, but it made me think "Yeah, why wasn't I taken to a doctor?"  (An ENT exam a few years ago revealed it healed but my nasal passages are still very minimal there and probably why I snore.  The doctor had said I definitely should have been treated at the time.)

2) We were playing with sparklers on the 4th of July and I was very careful to see that all of the hot wires were carefully placed in a pile. I told DD how I had been badly burned at about her age when I grabbed one, and I wanted her to be careful as to not get hurt.  The result with me were 3rd degree burns and skin on my palm burned black and pulling off to stick to the still-hot wire.  She asked if I had to go to the hospital and I said my Mom had just stuck my hand in a bowl of ice water and rubbed Noxema on the burn.  She asked why Grandma would do that.  I couldn't really answer.

In a phone call yesterday, I asked Mom if she remembered the sparkler incident.  She said "Yeah, that was a bad one."  I asked why I had not been taken to a doctor and she said "We just did the best we knew. Hospitals were only for when you got really sick."  (There was an ER about six blocks from our house!)  As I think more about it, the madder these incidents make me looking back.  Mom's statement of "Well, you grew up just fine" made me respond "I grew up fine in spite of your incompetence as a parent."

I know parenting is an inexact science, and we learn as we go, and we all make mistakes along the way.  This anger I feel will fade and it does no good to dwell on it now.  At the moment I'm just really PO'd  thinking about it.

I'm not one to run DD to the doctor at every sneeze, but I can't imagine not seeking help for an injury like I had happen to me.

Did your family have health insurance at the time? 

Health insurance might have been part of it, but your mother's response of "that was the best we knew to do" seems to imply that they would have treated things the same way with or without insurance.

Hugs, JustCallMePat. It sucks when you start realising that many of your childhood experiences were just unreasonable. I've got some of my own and they all boil down to my parents not having my childhood health and safety at a very high level of priority. I think you could use a response with your daughter along the lines of, "they didn't know how to look after these things any better <exactly in line with your mother's response>. But don't worry, because I do know, and I'll always make sure you're okay."

Just Lori:
I don't know how old you are, but my parents also subscribed to the "if you're not dying, you're fine" philosophy.  You only went to the doctor when you were very, very sick.  Preventative medicine was not practiced.  I have an assortment of scars and ailments that could have been addressed and prevented if I had received the proper medical care.

I sincerely believe my parents were doing the best they could with the resources they had.  I don't know whether health insurance covered emergency room visits when I was a child.  That very well could have factored into their decisions. 

Your mom probably *died* do the best she could with the tools /knowledge that she had. You are feeling hurt because you are judging her thru your eyes, with the tools/knowledge that * you* have. Why didn't my parents take us to psychologists when we were young? Because it wasn't done. Because in the 1960s people didn't. Hospitals were for emergencies and for extreme cases.

Hugs... Sorry you are feeling hurt.


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