About what my mum said to me?(25 Posts)
I am (just) 30. I have recently changed jobs, leaving a badly paid and unstable career to start again in a new industry. I am working very hard to move up, on middling low money. I have a boyfriend I live with, who is lovely, live in rented accommodation. No children (don't want any right now).
My mum visited recently, and one of the things she said to me - after I mentioned I was thinking of doing a car boot to get rid of two black bags of clothes and use the proceeds for a foreign holiday we'd booked, what can I say, I've got a little bit of a Del Boy streak - was that she was so, so sorry for me, and that her heart breaks for me, when she sees how hard things are for me. She thought with "all my education" (I found academic stuff fairly easy, read a lot, have an MA in literature) that I'd have this amaaaazing life.
It's been rankling, and it's making me feel like shit/an utter failure. Points to note:
- She loves me dearly and undoubtedly wants the best for me
- She can be very snobbish
- When questioned, she never has any constructive advice - it's all just magically supposed to fall out of the sky onto my head
- She complains I'm secretive, never share my feelings - gee, I wonder why?
There was also lots of talk about her friend S (four years older than me) who has just married a specialist engineer, is pregnant, and has moved to the US to have a fantastic life as a wealthy housewife
Am I being unreasonable to feel hurt and that she has unrealistic expectations?
The older generation, those who don't necessarily have academic quals think that having a degree, means that you earn loads of cash. If you have two, woah, you should be a millionaire!
She sounds like my mum a bit and probably doesn't mean anything by it.
YANBU to feel a little hurt, but I wouldn't take it too personally.
I don't think either of you are being unreasonable.
I have a good degree in literature and media and I have never done anything with it and worked in relatively low paid jobs. parents always want the best for their kids.
Yanbu at all.
My parents (especially my mum) are the same, disappointed with my life.
When I got married and had kids at 18 my mum refused to come to my wedding and wouldn't talk to me as she thought I'd ruined my life. She only came to see me when I was seriously ill in hospital and very close to dying
I have an okay relationship with them now (since they moved 000's of miles away) via Skype, but I don't tell them the truth about my life at all. For instance, they don't know I am disabled and have fibromyalgia as I've never wanted to tell them
as they'll be disappointed that my life is ruined again, which it isn't
I have a low paid job that I love to pieces which they have nagged me to strive to go further with. I won't be going further with it as I wouldn't like to have my manager's job as it involves no support hours (I'm a support worker) and that's the part of my job that I love, but that isn't important to them as it's all about money isn't it
They are terribly disappointed that I didn't get a degree as, like you, I did very well in school and had good potential to be a high fligher. What they don't seem to see is that I'm happy with my life and I never wanted the life they think I should have had...
Parents are hard work
My mum makes no secret about the fact I'm the biggest disappointment in the family because I focused on having a family not a career (I have one but it doesn't pay well as its a vocational career based in the public sector!) unlike my siblings who joined the same industry as my parents so are raking it in but have no kids.
Yet I'm the failure
Big thank you to posters above - as a parent with teenagers I found your comments a very timely reminder! Note to self: do not make my kids feel only the top uni/status job thing I not-so-secretly long for for them, is 'good enough'. That was a bit of a wake-up call
Looking at it from a slightly different angle, is the fact that you're having to sell your possessions what's horrifying her? In her mind frugal living, recycling, etc could represent serious financial hardship.
Either way, she's taking a very negative view of your circumstances! Your definition of an amazing life and hers differ greatly - perhaps you could sit her down and tell her?
Oh dear sounds like your mum hit a nerve with you OP. You've taken huge steps to change your career path and prospects so that suggests you were not entirely happy with life. Mum was a bit tactless but she wants the best for you and has picked up on you not being 100% happy. Hope the new career goes well.
I'm 37, been married for 15 years and have 3 kids. My mum still laments the fact that I didn't go into medicine and secretly wishes I married a previous dp. It's what mums do
Mine was like this - until I was 'in the bath' with every other phone call. I grew up with, 'why can't you be more like Jane (her friends daughter)'. Until Jane's family spent £10k on a 'fabulous' wedding and her new husband came out as gay after three months. Sorry Jane but it did make me feel better.
My grandmother can be a bit like your mum OP. She loves all of her grandchildren/ great grandchildren dearly but doesn't 'get' why DH and I are renting as we both have degrees (and I have two post grad degrees). She also doesn't understand that my brother who chose to work rather than go to uni is getting paid more than me as he started in an industry and worked his way up.
For a year I worked in a financial services company and when I was due to leave for my first postgrad course I was offered training as an accountant but turned it down as the coorporate world is not for me. I work for a charity now (when not on mat leave) and don't get paid loads or use my degree but I love my job and thats whats important to me.
I don't think it helps that her daughter was in the go to uni on a grant and then get a well paid job generation so her view is skewed.
I just explain each time that its not the same anymore and that uni is more about the experience than getting a job - I had a great time, met my husband and got to live in Italy for a year in my early 20s. xx
My mum can sometimes say hurtful and thoughtless things in a similar vein. For example when we told her I was pregnant the reaction was "it's about time!" - hurtful because I didn't meet my OH until I was a bit older, it took us a long while to get pregnant and we were beginning to think it wouldn't happen for us. She knew all this so the tactlessness of the comment hurt. She does the same with my sister too. I love her dearly but sometimes I think she's just a bit selfish - she's a real worrier so her life would be so much more stress free and free of worry if we could both just have perfect relationships, pop out kids with no problems, have pots of cash without having to work for it, etc!
My sister and I live in the real world however, so we don't let her annoy us too much!
Society is changing. Our parents generation was much more concerned about being financially stable. Ensuring material support was at the root fo their fears about life. Having a "good job" (which meant well paying), or marrying someone who had, was considered the cornerstone of a good life by many people. And there is an expectation that children will do better financially than their parents.
Since the 60s, values have been gradually changing to take into account more emotional aspects. So the fact a career is fulfilling, for instance, has more weight with younger people that it might have with their parents. And the general economic improvement for "the squeezed middle" seemed to end in the early 90s. Lots of jobs that older generations saw as solid decent paying careers leave people struggling nowadays (careers like teaching for instance) and I think that leaves some of them feeling a bit guilty and confused - they based their life and bringing up their children around these values and expectations and it hasn't turned out as they expected.
I think it's quite a tricky thing to understand - how society has changed over the generations when those generations are still alive. So while I agree your DMs comments are unrealistic, I think being hurt by it is a response that's only going to hurt yourself.
I don't think you're being unreasonable.
My mum and extended family were the same in thinking degree = instant success. That just isn't the job market today.
You're obviously very intelligent and she should trust you to be making the right decision for you and not for her unrealistic expectations. It's nice that she wants the best for you, but if you're happy in your new career and are optimistic about the prospects then she should recognise this and cheer you on.
Many middle-class people of that generation are terrified or horrified by social mobility which affects their offspring in the wrong way (i.e
downward mobility). However, you are reacting far better - your approach seems thrifty and far-sighted without neglecting pleasures closer to hand (living with your DP, planning a holiday) - than hers! (her appriach, by contrast, won't "improve your prospects", and also makes you unhappy, so needs to be changed!)
I wonder how many of our parents realise they contribute to the problem by expecting a small fortune for their house and sitting in jobs coasting to retirement which are our only career progression path. Just a thought
I think I would be slightly hurt as well, although she probably don't intend to hurt you.
As others have said, in the past, people with degrees automatically got good jobs ( I'm older than you and it didn't happen to me either!), and most women had 2.4 children by the time they were 30.
Also, selling clothes was a sign of poverty, whilst now, Ebay etc and the recycling ethos has made it more acceptable ( and the norm).
Other people's lives always seem more glamouress as well. however, you sound like you have a nice house, nice boyfriend, good job with prospects, and are planning a holiday abroad - sounds pretty good to me!
Also, it's a wake up call to praise and support my children.
Love the Jane story ( although feel sorry for Jane)
My mum used to forever rub my nose in it about the fact my sister has a degree and I don't. They have never wished me luck for my first in a new job or asked how work is going as my job is not important enough
Some people quantify success with a career that pays lots of money, driving posh car, nice house ect - bit shallow tbh
Everybody's job is important. If we all thought we were far too important say to empty the bins or work in a shop (i choose those as I heard someone commenting the other day) then we would all be in a mess.
Hang on, you reckon you can pay for a foreign holiday with carboot sale money? If your items are so high value, that two bags of clothes are sending you to Crete, then I suggest a different venue... Or are they very big bags of usual clothing? I cant imagine any item fetching more than 50 p.....
YANBU to feel hurt - but I'm willing to bet she's genuinely concerned that you have it hard, and she wanted you to 'have it all', as we do for our children as parents. It's totally unreasonable and unrealistic, but it's true, sadly.
The older generation had it so much easier than we do, and for them a degree was something that opened doors and ensured a lifelong career. Now, of course, that isn't the case - but she probably feels that all she hears about is people like Jane (before the Unsavoury Incident) and she feels unsure about what life holds in store for you.
Thanks guys. I've mostly brushed it off now, was just one of those things that hits you the wrong way, you know?
I have low self esteem and spend enough time beating myself up about not having achieved enough - I really don't need her essentially telling me she pities me. For my very normal life!
The boot sale she was undoubtedly horrified by - just an aside, I wasn't going to pay for the holiday with it, was just intending to put the 50 or so quid toward a nice meal out or something.
She does love me very much. Just.... and breathe.
If your life had taken a different route you wouldn't have met your lovely boyfriend and when you feel ready have his children. You might have been earning loads but you could also have been on your second divorce and lonely and miserable.
I have a lovely DH and wonderful DC. Even if my job is worthless.
And another thing - there are people who would kill to have your life. I keep thinking things like this whenever my mother makes her put downs
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