My mom grew up poor, very poor. She got her first store bought pair of underpants at age 10. Before then everything was patched together from old pieces of second hand clothing donated by the church. She was also emotionally abused by her mother, but that’s another story.
My dad and my mom met when they were 13 and 14 years old. My mother’s mother hated him, and wouldn’t allow her to have “Dat Jood in het huis” (that Jew in the house). My father’s family were German Jews, my mother’s family were Dutch Catholics. No bloody wonder I drink.
When they were 15 my dad said to my mom, “I will marry you one day”. My mom scoffed and said, “Don’t be ridiculous, we are only 15 years old”.
When they were 18 and 19 years old they got married, admitted because of the untimely conception of yours truly. They are still happily married, 38 years later. They are the most divine, in love couple I know. They have set very high standards for us children.
My dad didn’t go too far in school. He is dyslexic and at that time dyslexia was often misdiagnosed. They tried to beat him into spelling and reading right. Instead, he left after junior school. When they got married my dad was an assistant panel-beater, my mother was a SAHM. He earned a pittance but they were rich in love.
My dad is an extremely hard working, exceptionally clever man and he worked his way up until he owed his own business. Today he is a millionaire. All earned through his own blood, sweat and tears. I admire him hugely, even if he refuses to finance my lavish lifestyle with his hard-earned money. What? Earn my own money? How archaic.
So, today my parents are well off. They live extremely well, they travel, they have a fair amount of money. But I think my mother’s history has left scars on her and she sometimes acts extremely frugally, as if she was back in those times. Not that acting frugal is wrong, but you know, it’s ok to live a little, chances are good you won’t go to bed hungry anymore, at least not tonight. Have that extra slice of cheese on your bread mom!
I think some of that has rubbed off on me. I hate waste, HATE it. I hate wasting money and food. I can not gamble. Marko and I have been to the casino a few times. After about 10 minutes I start having anxiety attacks about the money we have wasted and want to leave. Marko doesn’t like to go to the casino with me.
I also hate hate hate wasting food. Before I met Marko I used to finish whatever was on the plate, no matter how full I was, or how much I disliked the meal. Because, you know, it would be such a waste to leave it. Then I met Marko and he regularly, almost always, leaves food behind on his place. In the beginning it used to freak me out. I had to physically restrain myself from either devouring his leftovers or asking for a ‘leftover bag’ to take home. Which probably wouldn’t have gone down well on our first few dates. I am better now, I can leave food behind on my plate, although it takes a conscious effort to do so.
So you can imagine how much having children is jarring on my sense of wastefulness. Children are innate wasters. They will have two mouthfuls of something and decide they don’t want any more. They will have a bite out of 10 apples and put them back in the fruit bowl. They will nibble on a biscuit (cookie) they have just yelled for, and then drop it on the floor so that they can play with a toy. All that food, wasted. It kills me.
I find myself eating their leftovers or half-eaten cookies. So that it doesn’t go to waste. (This is probably why I am putting on weight!!!!! Little assholes, all their fault!!). It seems sinful to throw the stuff away.
But today was the last straw. Today I realized that I need help. This has to stop.
Today I was trying to chat to Julie online and while I was busy the babies found my stash of rice cakes (sounds gross, but they are really nice). They demanded I open the container and give them some. “ME!!! OPEN!!” screeches Kate (we are teaching them to answer ‘me’ in reply to “who wants a cookie/sweetie/whatever”. Kate has now taken this to the next level and screeches, and I mean screeches, “ME!!” whenever she sees something she wants to eat. “ME!! ME ME ME!!). I gave them one each, which they ate half of, and then threw the rest on the floor. After a while it became clear that the babes were selfishly not allowing my conversation with Julie to continue and I said goodbye to her and left the study.
Later on I went into the study to tidy up and as I was on my hands and knees picking up toys and half-shredded utility bills full of gob, I discovered a half eaten rice cake on the floor. Without thinking I popped it into my mouth (want not, waste not). It was gross: cold, soggy, wet with saliva and probably a bit of snot (they have yet another bout of snotty noses). It was then that I realized that I needed help, I need to let go of this little issue of mine.
It’s ok. It is ok to throw away some food. It is very wasteful, but it is ok…. deep breaths, just throw it away……
I blame my mother, I really do. I need therapy for this.