Could Parents Anonymous Have Helped My Mother?


My mother taught me to work in the garden and to clean our rural house but she forgot nurturing; I wondered if Parents Anonymous could have helped her.

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | October 21, 2015

I have asked myself this question a thousand times: “Could Parents Anonymous have helped my mother?”

My mother used to tell her friends about how bad I was. I didn’t do things correctly in the garden; there were weeds left and I did not till the soil as deeply as she wanted. I did not do as she expected in the house; there were greasy spots on pans, I did not fold laundry like she wanted and the living room carpet had footprints. My room never looked as neat as she expected; when I came home from school I would change quickly and forget to put my clothes away before going to feed the horse, ponies, bull and hog.

Yes, to my mother, I was a bad kid.

What if mom had a group of mothers that met with the exclusive purpose of talking about parenting issues? What could my mother have learned?

Perhaps other parents would ask my mother a few questions:

“What do you and Jackie do together for fun?”
“What do and Jackie talk about besides chores?”
“What kind of fun things does Jackie do?”
“How old is Jackie?”
“How does she do in school?”

Thinking about those few questions, my mother might begin to see me as the child that I was rather than the work that I could produce. My mother could have compared the other mother’s parenting to her own. With information from the other parents, I believe she could begin to see me as a child that needed more balance, regular time off from chores to develop friendships, activities and to learn.

My mother was a person that never stopped working; she could never relax. She was up early, dressed and already busy with her daily activities long before my brothers and I got up for school. She would “take a break to smoke a cigarette” and before she was finished, she would put it in the ashtray to do something else. Hard work is valued but she was in perpetual motion. The problem was that she expected everyone else to be like her as well – busy, busy, busy. My problem was that I was normal.

My mother once told me, long after I had Chelsey and Katie, that she never realized how well-behaved her children were until she heard about other people’s kids. She had been going on her own limited perspective that she had learned from her parents, a strict preacher and a mother that was clearly overworked with so many children to feed, clothe and care for. That was the pattern set for my mother; back in her time people did not talk about what went on behind closed doors. If my mother had sat down with other parents from around the county, I have no doubt that she would have made adjustments in her parenting. By getting and giving tips in a supportive environment, I believe my mother could have been less abusive with more parenting tools than a belt.

Over the years, it has been my personal experience, that if any parent attends the Parents Anonymous Support Groups with an open mind, they will make positive changes in their parenting methods. You can be sure their children will be happier and healthier. I know mine are happier than I was.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Unsplash.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Erda Estremera.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered extensively for more than twenty years in children's and families' issues with Parents Anonymous. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and the Soup to Nuts blog and "Parent Rap - Soup to Nuts" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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21 Responses to Could Parents Anonymous Have Helped My Mother?

  1. In complex, sensitive relationships solutions are never easy to find.
    Jackie, i always admire your tenacity.

    Bless You!

    john

    Liked by 1 person

  2. saymber says:

    By reading about your Mom I can relate so much — my Stepmom and your Mom must have been trading notes lol. My Mom wasn’t raised in a maternal environment and she inherited a child who needed one….we don’t always get what we want in life and just have to play the cards we are dealt the best we can. That’s kind of what our Mom’s did I guess. What my Mom needed was tangible, unconditional love and acceptance from her family and she spent a lot of her life without it. I understand now why she was the way she was to me and have forgiven her for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      I spent most of my life trying to figure out why she did things to me. When I was in my mid-to-late twenties, I found out a family secret. One of my aunts was actually my half-sister; my mother had her first unwed pregnancy at a young age. That girl was given to her parents and she had little contact with her for years. That girl grew up to be Tammy Faye Bakker’s personal secretary. (Jim & Tammy Bakker of the PLT organization.) That was the closest I ever came to a reason for my mother’s abuse of me; she punished me because she did not raise her own first daughter.

      After my mother died of lung cancer, I spent more than a year in a deep mourning. I spent my time working on a quilt because she told me many times over the years she was making me a 50-States Quilt – and she gave my quilt to a brother of hers. During my grieving and quilt-making, I had a revelation. My mother could never have made a quilt – she could not possibly deal with the mess of threads that comes with making a quilt.

      My Parents Anonymous group helped me cope with grief. One of the members had several family members die in a short span of time of unrelated causes. This member was our go-to person for answers on death. This member told me that I was mourning the mother I wished I had instead of the one I had. That made perfect sense to me and my mourning stopped soon after.

      I owe much to the other parents in my Parents Anonymous Support Group – I could never repay them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • saymber says:

        The more you share, the more we have in common! My stepmom had to give up her daughter after birth because she was Catholic in a time out of wedlock babies were a reason to get shunned…she did. Her family totally blocked her out and treated her like crap for so long. My Mom’s birth daughter found my Mom several years ago and it made such a difference I think…a missing piece restored. What you say about your mom and her resentments put on you for her not being able to raise her own daughter makes complete sense and I share that with you too in my own experience. The point is we’ve learned, found support groups and people through our lives to try and not have repeat performances of these things. I’m glad you found PASG! Oh, my Mom had cancer twice but has been in remission for several years. Both caught early enough as to be treated. I think cancer manifests for emotional torment like our Mom’s went through. Just a theory. Have a great weekend Jackie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        We do have similar histories – how uncanny is that?! How much more simpler our lives would have been if parents had chosen to embrace imperfection instead of shame for their children. Torment is the perfect word. You have a good weekend, too, and thanks for the comment about Parent Rap.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. renxkyoko says:

    I feel sad that you have had a time with your mother. My own mother is the complete opposite. She does everything for us, and tells us that the only payment she wants is for us to study and not to worry about everyday mundane things… she’ll take care of them for us. My mother is lucky that we have never abused her concerns, and we didn’t turn out to become priviledge , entitled spoiled brats. I am aware doing everything for the children is not always a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Renxkyoko, I have gotten through the abuse I experienced and have reasoned that it was not my fault. The real issue for me was the legacy I had to deal with; not hitting or treating my children cruel. The problem is that abuse becomes a learned action; I lived in fear that I might one day snap and do to my girls what was done to me. I could not live with myself if I saw either daughter hurt one of their children (they do not have children yet).

      Renxkyoko, I doubt your mother has a thing to worry about. 😀 You are too sweet to be anything but a treasure to your mother. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jackie don’t fret over it. I had the same problem with my dad. I ask the same question, “Could Parents Anonymous have helped my father or mother?” Because I know how my father is, the answer is NO.

    Jackie, you and I, and just about 99% of all children are just that, children. When we are children, we do things like children do. My grandfather always told me, that I was too smart for my parents. Not a smarty pants, but rather I asked too many questions about things and curiosities. And he said that they were not equip to deal with it, so they always beat me down.

    But at least OUR generation has more studied knowledge on the emotional make-up of children and how we as parents should treat them.

    As far as me saying don’t fret…I know it can be easier said than done.

    Like

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      One thing for sure, Randy, is that we can never go back to ‘fix’ anything, especially our parents. For me, and millions like you and I, we were abused – it’s as simple as that. Abused children grow up always seeking love and approval – a validation of sorts – for their very existence. In my head, I know my mother was a mess, she had issues and syndromes that didn’t even have names until much later. But I, like our millions of other sufferers, still crave a parent’s love. When we never get that love and respect, there is always something there that remains broken. When those abusive parents die, there will never be a resolution. For all the abuse my mother heaped on me, she never said ‘I’m sorry.’

      My executive director says, “When they live in your head and are not paying rent – just kick them out.” And in the next breath she softens and says, “Jackie, this is why we do what we do.”

      So, Randy, as usual, you and my ED are correct – and I love you both for it. I am grateful to the support I’ve been privileged to get over the years and I will continue to do what I do for today’s parents. If what I do prevents another child from feeling like me, then it is worth it. Thank you – and many hugs for helping me over that hill. That was the kick-in-the-pants message I needed. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I appreciate very much your words and responce to my comment. Thanks Jackie. Hope you have a great weekend. By the way…How is the new car doing for you? Getting around more now?

        Like

      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        The car is amazing! I am getting out more to practice driving because I have to be re-certified as anyone who experiences a stroke. I can’t get the floor controls, though, until I get that re-certification so I have to practice using my left foot for the brake and gas. It’s backwards and crazy but I will do it. In the meantime I got my new eye exam and ordered new glasses which means I can go to step two.

        I thought about what you said about red cars getting pulled over more often so I googled and found there was no correlation in stats to support that. It appears to be a persistent myth. For me it wouldn’t make a difference because I am a people person; I love meeting people of all kinds, including police officers. I also do not speed; before getting heavy footed I would ask myself one question: “Can I afford to get a ticket?” New Jersey has the highest rates in the nation; if I were to get a ticket, our rates would skyrocket immediately. Frankly, I’d rather buy food and books with that money.

        This weekend I will be at the supermarket photographing foods to put in this cookbook I’m working on. What will you be doing this weekend? Whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Randy B. says:

      Hi Jackie,

      I hope everything is alright. I seen you have like and reshared some of my Facebook postings, as well as have read some articles from the Health News Library, which I am always grateful for.

      I haven’t seen you posting lately. Since this last post back in October. I hope everything is okay Jackie with you and your family.

      Sincerely,
      Randy

      Like

      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        Hi Randy,

        It has been a rough go for me the last few months. I began feeling like I bit into a high-power electrical wire every so often – then more often – then several days. It seemed like talking or chewing food was causing it; it got so that I could only eat through a straw and could barely eat. I kept going to the dentist until she sent me to a specialist. The specialist diagnosed it as trigeminal nuralgia – a nerve and brain problem. I saw a neurologist who knew immediately what it was. Those pains began in 2008, right after the surgery that caused my stroke. At that time the attacks were milder and only occurred about twice a year. The medicine is one that is normally used for seizures. It deadens the three nerves involved. The reaction has been good, the pain has all but disappeared as long as I take the medicine on time. One side effect is vision – I just got new glasses. Now I have to wait until my body adjusts to the medicine before I see about getting new glasses or if my eyes will go back to normal.

        I tell my husband that in another life I must have been a terrible person because I’m paying for it now. I shouldn’t complain… Six days before a dental appointment, I got their confirmation text. I complained to my friends that that was too early; I could get the flu or die. This Tuesday, the day of the appointment, I came down with the flu. Here it is Thursday and I’m about over that. It was mild: queasiness, dizziness, upset stomach. All that added to the dizziness of the medicine was too much.

        So yes, I have not been too busy online much. As long as my vision is as it is, I will not be too busy online. Maybe when I get these worked out. Thank you for thinking of me.

        Regards,

        Jackie

        Like

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Hello my friend! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Many hugs!

      Like

      • No thanks are ever necessary my Sister, hope you’re enjoying this November so far.

        Like

      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

        November is going well so far and the plan is for both girls to be home at the end of December so that makes both of us happy. It will be first time we will see the daughter that married last year with her husband. I remember how thrilled I’d be as they took first steps and lost the first tooth; this will be a milestone I’m grateful to be able to see.

        Have a peaceful weekend. We have errands tomorrow but there are posts I want to read – Keystone will be at the top of that list. 🙂

        Like

  5. Gronda Morin says:

    Parents Anonymous helps a lot. The concern I have is that too many with poor parenting schools are not inclined to seek this help, This is why I am always very impressed with the courage of those who do take advantage of this program.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      You are absolutely correct about that, Gronda Morin. Parents are reluctant to seek help because they feel that is saying they are not a good parent. From my experience with Parents Anonymous, I can attest to the opposite; good parents want to learn and improve their skills. Perhaps if Parents Anonymous charged money to attend, maybe more would want to be there. I know Parents Anonymous to be filled with parents who want to be there because they are getting skilled in parenting and that makes their job easier and they become more effective. Parents Anonymous being FREE OF CHARGE to all parents and caregivers is exactly what parents need.

      Like

  6. Gronda Morin says:

    I meant to say skills instead of schools.

    Liked by 1 person

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