Hobby Over Children

A couple of people I know feel cheated by one of their parents. The mother had a hobby that all but eliminated the children’s importance. Most of the mom’s free time, money, and mental focus were dedicated to the pursuit of the hobby. The hobby also rendered the home to be an unclean mess throughout their childhood. The children had to fend for themselves or do without. The hobby resulted in at least one bankruptcy, liens on property, etc.

(In fact, if the mom were asked for pictures of the children, the mom wouldn’t have any to show people, but carried an entire album of hobby-related pictures.)

Fast forward twenty years. The revisionist mom doesn’t want to discuss her negligence toward the children. Any mention of the negligence is ignored and if it can’t be ignored, an attempted dismissal of the allegations ensues. The mother can’t understand why the children could be wounded by her betrayal or why it would be so important to continue trying to understand so many years later.

It is easy to wait until later in life and hope that time and memory have softened the details and other people’s desire to dredge up the past. But “let the past be in the past” is not a useful cliché in situations where real emotional damage occurred.  It’s a good reminder, but only goes so far and should only be applied when the issue at hand is small – otherwise, murder wouldn’t have an unlimited statute of limitations, would it?

One of the daughters had a couple of complete mental breakdowns in life. When she speaks of the negligence brought on in part from her mom’s hobby, the anger and hurt are still apparent after so many years. She tells a story involving a counselor, one that both mother and daughter visited. The mom said that she couldn’t devote more time to the daughter, as it would harm the pursuit of her hobby!

I don’t really have a “point” to this blog entry, it’s just another example of how stupid we can be at times.

(In my own personal case, my parents spent a fortune on drinking, cigarettes, and stupid pursuits. It was their right. But it wasn’t right of them to do it.)