Forcing a Child into the Mother’s Role

Forcing a Child into the Mother’s Role

Forcing a Child into the Mother’s Role is an unedited portion of my book.

As I indicated earlier, I was fourteen years old and in eighth grade when my father lived in town, and I was the oldest child living at home. The older siblings moved out to live on their own, and one sister was sent to live in a foster home.

I remember mom spending much of her free time after work with dad in town. She would leave us home alone to fend for ourselves and to our own devices. To make matters worse, she played bingo every night and didn’t return home until midnight.  As I indicated earlier, I was fourteen years old and in eighth grade when my father lived in town, and I was the oldest child living at home. The older siblings had moved out to live on their own, and the one sister who ran away was sent to live in a foster home.

This situation resulted in being forced into the role of mother to the three younger siblings who were still living at home. It would be my job to make sure they were taken care of properly and to make sure they had enough food to eat on a regular basis.

Our father had a good job at the International Paper Mill. He worked hard putting in sixteen hours of work most of the time, and he made a decent income to provide for his family. He also cut firewood to heat our home, planted vegetables and maintained several gardens over the years. He was not a lazy man by any means.

He had nine children and worked himself to death at an early age to provide for every one of them. He was a good man and father in this regard. I do respect him to some degree for doing his job; however, like us all, he had his flaws.

There was no reason us children who remained at home had to be without food to eat on a regular basis. Our father made a decent living, and only four children were living home to provide for and to feed.

Mom’s job was to use the money he earned to purchase the food her children needed to live, grow and survive. We counted on her, and she let us down many times.

Our father always brought the food home and took the family grocery shopping. On payday, he would bring home deli ham, turkey, American Cheese, bread, Dinty Moore Stew, and my favorite Freihofer’s Donuts.

When I was fifteen years old, it shouldn’t have been my obligation to make sure mom brought food home on a regular basis so we could eat. I played the part of a mother very well, and I called her out numerous times to step up and do the right thing for us.

I remember one time she was tired of me always calling her at work to ask her to bring us food home for supper. Her response was always the same “I don’t have any money, ” and my response was always the same too “Are you going to bingo? So you have the money to bring food home for us”.

Mom was so tired of me calling her at work that she put a lock on the phone. We had an old rotary dial phone, and mom put a small lock into one of the holes so I couldn’t dial the phone and call her at work.

I remember coming home from school that day, looking at the phone, and laughing and saying out loud “she thinks that’s going to stop me.”

After all, they had raised me to be a fighter who was strong. I didn’t give up and was not easily knocked down. I didn’t give up pushing mom to do motherly duties, and this deepened the divide between mom and me. She didn’t like me calling her out to do her job as our mother.

I broke the lock on the phone and called her at work. Her response was priceless; she said “How are you calling me? I locked the phone.” I responded back saying, “I hope you don’t think that the lock is going to stop me because it didn’t. I broke it off the phone, and I’m calling you to bring us some food home for supper”. 

“I don’t have any money.”

“Are you going to bingo? So you have the money to bring food home for us.”

Mom disliked coming back home with food for us. It took her about half an hour or more to drive home again, and it cost her money for food and gas, and she might be late for bingo. Oh No!

When she did bring us food, it was elbow macaroni and canned stewed tomatoes. I could cook that meal, and it was “cheap” for her to buy.

This battle between us continued for about two years until my father was allowed to return home again. Yeah, I know he shouldn’t have been. The system failed us!

I was doing a mother’s job from a young age, and the effects of this were carried on into adulthood. I had learned to push others into doing the right things in life, not to give up, and not to accept or tolerate mistreatment, neglect, or abuse from anyone.

This situation deepened my inner strength and heightened my abilities to speak out and fight for what is right. I had learned to keep going strong in life, and not to give up on my dysfunctional situation.

 

 

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