I am blessed. I am surrounded by people that love and care about me and my family. I thank God every single day for the people that he has put in my life (including you!) to help me through this journey.
If I sound ungrateful about things, it's because I don't know how to handle sympathy, pity or charity. Pity and charity from family members is especially hard on me because I feel as though there is now a debt owed and I don't have a way to repay it.
When I speak of the things that Z has been given, I don't want to sound condescending or rude - it's just that she already has so much, that that excess could wait until she is older (she is rapidly outgrowing her suppliers of hand-me downs) or given to a child that is so much needier than she is. I was raised with far less than she has ever had and I think that I have turned out pretty well.
Hand-me downs are easier for me to accept. I say thank you and feel as though there are no strings attached. People that go shopping, specifically to buy my child something, often make me think that I owe them and I either am left with guilt (for not being able to provide for my child in the way that they expect) or hostility (for feeling judged or put down by - what I feel is - a passive aggressive attack on my parental skills).
Additionally, I feel as though there is some expectation of the gifts that are given to my child. That they expect to see pictures of my child playing with or wearing only the gifts that they have purchased. I blow those thoughts away as being tricks of my mind, until I get a call or e-mail - "Did Z like the X, Y, or Z? How does it fit? I must not have received the pictures that you sent".
I have a hard time sharing my child (who would have guessed?). I was raised in a family where grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. were not a part of our daily journey. The idea that extended family are equally as important as the father and mother is foreign to me. I was so paranoid after having my daughter that my in-laws would in some way attempt to get custody of her, somehow find fault in my parenting in an attempt to keep me from her that I limited visitation as much as I could.
I know that this is all in my head, I know that they don't want to raise another child, I know that I don't owe anything (aside from gratitude) to anyone, but it doesn't shake the idea from my paranoid and twisted mind. Sometimes I feel that my status (UNEMPLOYED) is just another nail in the coffin, another way to prove me not good enough, not smart enough, not fit enough to raise my child (or to be married to the Hubs, for that matter).
Perhaps they are right, but I am a work in progress, as is my child, and I am trying as hard as I can to be the best momma I can be.
Right now, today, based on who she is, I think I am succeeding (tomorrow might be a different story).