One minute you’re hanging out in the lamps, the next you’re wondering who that woman is who never wants to leave and isn’t raising either. And what she did to your cute girlfriend.
Inge (35), married, mother of three children (9, 6 and 3):
“We cried tears of happiness: when I told my best friend Roxanne that I was pregnant with my second, she knew just a few hours ago that she too was going to have a baby, her first. How happy we were. It felt like a big golden border to our ten-year friendship.
Seven years later, little of that golden edge is left. Our sons were born a week apart and are now over six. I’m not saying that my son Joshua is an angel – he’s a real boy: present, physically wild and exceptionally loud at times. But he can be adjusted and that’s what I do, because there are rules here.
Roxanne’s son Siem, on the other hand, seems to be raised without any kind of rules. When he’s here, after fifteen minutes I’m already exhausted from his screaming, throwing, jumping and sneaking. But Roxanne does nothing. While he is tearing down our house, she watches with a smile. ‘Rascal’, she calls him and condones everything he does. Siem isn’t loud in a normal way, he just screams. To get attention, to get his way, for everything.
“’Rogue’, she calls him and she condones everything he does”
And if that’s what it was all about… But no. He destroys Joshua’s toys and then blames my youngest daughter, he beats other children and the other day almost took our cat with a hockey stick. I sent Siem, who was alone here, home and called Roxanne that this was really not possible, but she said: ‘Ah, he also loves animals so much, he gets a little too enthusiastic.’
uh… sorry? I was so angry that I said this was not enthusiasm, but willful hurt. And that maybe she should see if she can get help with the upbringing, because this got out of hand. She was furious; how dare I suggest that she failed as a mother? I said I didn’t mean that, but she ignored me for a week. The first days I found it difficult that I had hurt her, but it was actually nice that Siem didn’t come by. Joshua also said it: it’s nice and quiet, mom.
Also read – ‘To raise? I just do what’ >
The problem is: I know Roxanne struggles with parenting. She is way too sweet and too soft, while Siem needs a tight hand. The same goes for her husband. Sim makes use of that. By nature he knows few limits and since he doesn’t get them either, he does everything that comes to his mind. At the expense of other children and that’s why I don’t really want him to play with Joshua anymore, but I don’t say that. That is the death knell for our friendship.
My husband says, why keep this friendship alive? Siem is not going to change, the situation is not going to change and I am just frustrated. But then, Roxanne and I go out for a night without children and we have so much fun, just like before. She is my partner in crime, we understand each other without words and the next day I am sore from laughing. Do I want to give that up? Is there no other way? Meeting without the children yes, but that is difficult if you live close to each other. I’d love to help Roxanne be stricter with Siem, but she slammed that door on that phone call.
The other times I’ve brought it up, I notice that she doesn’t want to hear about it. There’s no problem, she says, and her child can be herself. Of course he can, but he also needs rules. I notice that other friends avoid Roxanne. Recently she complained that two girlfriends have so little time to meet, even though I know that’s not true. It’s not nice, but I do understand them. Meeting up as friends is fun, but with Siem around it’s like a tornado is raging in Ballorig. Within two minutes, nothing is out of place.
“Meeting as friends is fun, but with Siem there it’s like a tornado is raging in Ballorig”
A conversation is not possible. And so I notice in myself that I will also avoid Roxanne. Last week she suggested going to an amusement park. I said without thinking that it won’t work out for the time being. Not nice, but I had no regrets. To save our friendship, it takes a good conversation and a clear change, and I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.”
This article appears in Kek Mama 08-2022.
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