I’ve been blogging for almost 8 years – this is my second blog, I had to delete the first one – and storytime posts are very rare in my case. However, this is something I wanted to share with you and I hope to connect people in similar situations or someone who has been through what I’m going through now.
My ex-husband moved out in the autumn of 2020 as he had been cheating on me and I wasn’t willing to put up with it. I was left alone with my daughter who was three at the time. I’ve been pretty good at arranging my life since I became a mother and I had a stable income from my small business, so I didn’t really ask for help. With my ex and my parents, we created a timetable for who picks up my daughter from kindergarten and when, and where she sleeps at weekends (at even weekends at my place, at odd weekends at my ex’s place). My parents pick her up once or twice a week depending on how much work I’ve got. I’ve never asked for financial support. These two pieces of information will be significant later.
Although I had a stable income, paid the bills of our house, paid my ex’s share and kept the huge backyard neat became a huge burden for me. I wasn’t able to save up as I wanted to monthly, so I sold the house and decided to have a small one… well, a mini one built. My parents, for whom having a big house has always been important, objected immediately, called me names and threatened to stop helping me if I move to a smaller one. I didn’t care about their opinion because it wasn’t their money, burden, etc.
The new owner allowed me to stay in our old house for three months. I thought that it would be enough for me to look for a rental and it could have been if I wasn’t living in Hungary. Here, the shortest rental period is 12 months. I needed a place for 3-4 months, I was alone with a kid, so I couldn’t find anything. After getting rejection everywhere, my mother allowed me to stay with them for 3 months until the construction finishes. I was moving with my kid and two cats. The two cats are upstairs, kept away from my parents with a door. I work from a relative’s place, so we spend hardly any time at home.
We moved to my parents’ house in late April and my life has been indescribable. I have to follow a truckload of stupid rules:
- no internet after 6 p.m. (if I have a translation project that would require me to stay up at night, I have to cancel the project)
- no printer use after 7.30 p.m.
- I’m not allowed to use the internet for entertainment, only for work and even that is limited
- my daughter isn’t allowed to collect her dirty clothes in my laundry basket, she has to put everything in my mother’s
- we are not allowed to use the toilet after 6 p.m.
- in the morning we have to leave the bathroom by 6.30 because my mother starts getting dressed at 6.30 sharp
- I have to get home by 8.30 p.m. (if not, I risk getting locked out)
- my daughter, 5, isn’t allowed to cry or laugh loudly
- I’m not allowed to use the stove, so I haven’t cooked since we moved here (though I clean up after myself, my mom says that I’m dirty and the hygiene of her kitchen is more important than what I eat)
- I’m not allowed to use the washing machine and my mom isn’t willing to wash my clothes with hers the reason being that I’m dirty and I wear rags, not clothes)
- I’m not allowed to put anything in the freezer because my food takes up her precious place
- if I don’t clean our room, she says that I’m dirty and untidy but when I do clean (I do it often and regularly), she tells me to stop because she’s annoyed by the sound of the vacuum cleaner
- I offered her to contribute to the bills but she rejected, then tells me that I’m using her
- when she talks to my daughter about herself, she refers to herself as “mom”, not as “grandma”
As I mentioned earlier, I have a stable income, so I’m not living here because I don’t have the financial background to support ourselves, but because in eastern Hungary, there are no short-term rentals. Although my mother managed to keep me away from my extended family through tantrums, manipulation and guilt-tripping, I got some help from my godparents: I can spend my working hours at their place and I get warm food when my godmother cooks. I an also use their fridge to store my food and my godmother has showed me how to use their washing machine, so I can do the laundry This week my mother phoned my godmother to tell her that I’m stupid, dirty, good for nothing, don’t have a proper job and since my ex left, they have supported me with a huge amount of money. A huge amount of money means that they pick up my daughter from kindergarten once or twice a week and sometimes they buy her a carton of juice or a bar of chocolate. My godmother, who is a retired teacher, defended me saying that I work hard, keep my space clean and raise my daughter well, and asked her if she and my dad even love me.
Hopefully, we are moving out in a month. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and although I’m far from my upbeat self, I’m a jungle warrior as a friend told me earlier this week. My daughter and I have plans for some mom and daughter quality time for the move-in week and I won’t let the experiences of the past few weeks affect me in the long run. According to my godmother, what my parents are doing isn’t help but something like a weird demonstration of their power over me and the way they are trying to belittle me is proof that they have problems with their self-esteem. By trying to make me feel less, they try to gain some confidence or sense of authority. I have decided to re-arrange my daily schedules and put them on time-out or cut them out of my life if necessary.
Am I a horrible person?