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DM is driving me crazy! Obsession with money

(4 Posts)
DMdrivingmecrazy Tue 12-Mar-19 14:41:03

Have NC for this...

Over the past year or so I've become aware that my DM is absolutely obsessed with money. It's literally impossible to have a conversation with her without it ending up as a discussion of how much X spent on this or that, how much Ys house is worth, how much Z earns etc etc

I don't really understand where this obsession has come from, I know she had quite a frugal childhood as she was bought up by a single mum but she's doing very well for herself now, she and DSF are both nearing retirement and both have very healthy private pensions (I know this because of course she's told me all about it in great detail).

In the past I've just ignored this but recently her obsession has begun to be aimed at me. A few years ago (at age 30) I decided to go to university as a mature student to retrain in a completely different career. After my BSc I stayed on to do a Masters to improve my career prospects and I'm due to finish in September this year. I've done a lot of research into the industry I'm going to work in, and I've decided I want to go into a specific area (don't want to say what as it's fairly outing). It's a slightly more altruistic/ethical career path rather than a corporate one, still with good career and salary prospects (far more than I had before I went to uni), just not quite as much money as if I went into consultancy or something similar.

When I last saw my DM she asked about my plans after my Masters I told her what I was going to do and she was horrified, she essentially said what's the point of going to uni and doing a Masters if the end goal wasn't to earn as much money as possible? I explained I would rather work in an area of the industry that I found more interesting and rewarding, even if that meant taking a slightly lower salary. She told me that she spoke to her DB (my uncle) who works in the same overall industry as I will be in, but not the same sector, and apparently he said that if I want to earn big money I need to take the corporate career path and if I don't do that it's not worth working in this industry.

We (DM and I) ended up arguing because I told her it was really none of her business what I was going to do in my career, I'm an adult who can make her own decisions and I didn't care what her aspirations were for me. I suspect that she wants me to take the corporate career path so she can brag to her friends about what I'm doing career-wise (I've witnessed her doing this with regard to my brother who has a high-flying career in finance). She told me I was being rude and asked me to leave, which I did.

Was IBU? In my eyes, I'm a responsible adult who has never asked for anything from her so why does she suddenly think she has the right to dictate what I do with my life?

Sorry this is long smile

SummerInSun Tue 12-Mar-19 15:04:30

I think it's fairly normal, particularly for parents who grew up with little money, to be worried about the financial security of their children. Read Michelle Obama's biography - her mother never offered advice or tried to steer her and supported all her choices, except when MO said she wanted to give up her highly paid lawyer job and do something more worthwhile. Then, to her amazement, her mother told her to make the money first.

But like MO - who didn't take her mother's advice and forged a rewarding career working for worthy organisations instead - you are absolutely right you need to make your own decisions. As you say, you are a responsible adult who has researched carefully what you want to do. And most very high paying jobs also demand very long hours and a lot of stress, which might not be what you want either.

I'd try not to fight with your mother about it. A polite "I know you just want what's best for me and for me to be financially secure, and I appreciate that. But I've researched this carefully and I believe the route I am going down will allow me to be both professionally fulfilled and financially secure". I'd try to keep it away from any discussion about her values or what you perceive to be her materialism.

suziedoozy Tue 12-Mar-19 15:55:58

I returned to being a student at almost 40 and my parents who grew up very poor were really unhappy as I had a well paid career before and the studies are for me - won’t make a difference to my career.
They have found it very hard to deal with and like you I have an overachieving sibling - for the first decade they appeared embarrassed of my professional, well paid career until I got to a certain job title!
The not working has really thrown me and it is clear that my DP, particular DF who doesn’t really have any qualifications can’t get his head around it.
As adults we get to choose what we want to do - I am not having any impact on their finances / lives and support myself (with help from DH) - so I can make my own decisions about what I want to do.
I have no doubt they will be proud parents at my graduation even if the whole thing bemuses them!

DMdrivingmecrazy Tue 12-Mar-19 23:42:13

Thanks for your reply SummerInSun, I argued back because I was so shocked by just how negative she was about what I felt was a really positive decision, when I next speak to her I'll definitely try to be calmer and more reasonable! To be honest this isn't the first time she's been like this about my decision making, she doesn't seem to have accepted that I've grown up and have my own life now.

suziedoozy ah yes, the trials of living with an overachieving sibling! My course is vocational-ish, not with a defined end career like medicine but most graduates work in a particular industry. If I'd told her I was going to do a degree purely for the sake of learning I think she'd have been even more of a downer about that sad I agree with your point about impact though, nothing I am doing is impacting her life in any way so why does she feel the need to be involved?

Good luck with your degree!

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