*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
A family member was an awful mother. She had two children. Unfortunately, she always hated children, and her own children were not an exception.
Why did this family member give birth to multiple children if she knew she hated kids? It's simple. Her husband wanted children, and she wanted to please him. So she had children.
This woman's husband loved kids, and he was an excellent dad, but he wasn't always home because of his full-time job. That meant he wasn't around to see his children being mistreated by their mother.
She fed, bathed, and clothed her children, and that was it. The woman did the bare minimum to keep them alive and relatively healthy, but she didn't care whether they were happy. She wasn't happy, either.
As long as the children were good, they got the minimum of care and could spend the rest of the day watching television with little incident. When they were "bad," it was a different story. You might have thought she'd sprouted wings and horns from the way she treated her children.
Every Saturday night, like clockwork, the woman would put on her bathing suit and join her two children in the tub for their weekly baths. As soon as they heard the water running in the tub and saw their mother in her bathing suit, they would begin crying at the top of their lungs because they hated bath time.
To this cruel mother, hearing her children cry meant they were being "bad," and she treated them accordingly. This woman would shout at her small children during bath time as she washed their hair using water from a purple plastic sand pail. The neighbors could hear the children screaming through the walls.
According to my mother, who witnessed the horror herself several times, the kids grew up hating the sight of bathing suits, the sound of running water, bathtubs, washing their hair, and sand pails. My mother was a child herself at the time, and she was helpless to prevent the younger children from being mistreated. But she never forgot it.
This abusive family member has long since passed away, and her children are both adults with children and grandchildren of their own, all of whom seem remarkably well adjusted, all things considered.
Although it's sad that these two family members had a tough childhood, at least their story has a happy ending. It's interesting to note that, although their mother mistreated them as children, they both grew up to be loving and caring parents themselves.
Perhaps it was because they knew firsthand how much pain and suffering a child could endure at the hands of a parent, and they were determined not to inflict that same pain on their own children. Or maybe they simply turned out to be good people despite their upbringing. Either way, it's a heartening example of the resilience of the human spirit.