Maybe some of us never stop seeking the approval of our parents. Even when we wholeheartedly know that what they want for us is not best. And not me, as the daughter, just “knowing” in a child’s naive way of stubbornly declaring that they know everything and don’t need their parents’ advice.
But truly, body and mind, KNOWING that your choice is right, and yet still wanting their approval.
Before I married my man – who I have now happily been with for almost 10 years – my mom felt the need to have an honest discussion about how she felt regarding our decision to marry. She didn’t disapprove, per se, so much as express concerns. And that’s fair – a mother has the right to voice her fears, and it’s easy for someone involved in the relationship to not see it as clearly. Her fear was that my DH was not going to be able to provide for me financially. In all fairness, that had been a concern of mine as well. He struggles with health which makes it difficult keeping a regular sleep schedule, and despite his honest efforts to do work, he does struggle and complete tasks more slowly than many when he’s sleep deprived. Not a trait that many employers would seek in this fast-paced society of ours.
But, since childhood, my family has raised me to take care of myself. I knew that I had a secure future in my career, and if DH was willing to play housewife, then so be it. We didn’t have kids nor plans for them – why would we need dual income? Income from him would simply be bonus.
Regardless, DH and I got married, and have had 4 years since that beautiful day. And on a trip back to my parents house, Mom and I got to talking about relationships. My younger sister hasn’t married, but has had serious relationships that didn’t end well – and we usually saw it coming. My older sister is on the verge of entering her 3rd marriage. So, offhandedly, I sort of joked to mom, “Hey, I know you’d had some reservations about me and DH getting married… but here we are, still happily married, and I’m glad I did it!” I expected a smile back and some sort of “yeah, I guess it’s worked out” or “yeah, you two are doing well.” Heck, we moved over seas, ended all ties with the family financially, rent a nice house, have a new car, and three kids of the four-legged furry kind. I have a great job, and many offers often coming in. DH still plays housewife, but we’re both still okay with that division of responsibility. So yeah, I’d say we’re doing well.
But no, her comment was more along the lines of a deep sigh and a “well, has he submitted a job application anywhere?”
Why are people so obsessed with money?? We are not lacking. And I find it far more beneficial to come home to a house that’s clean with a dinner that is cooked, so I can spend my evenings studying, reading, swimming, dating my husband, or whatever else fancies me at the time! I consider myself damn lucky and blessed to be in these circumstances! Who cares if he has a job that makes extra income? So we can have more money, but less time to do anything fun and relaxing together??
Despite all of her wonderful motherly qualities, this disapproving comment hit hard. It made me angry, and made me feel – on some level – shame that I was doing something “wrong” in her eyes.
And then I get an email from dearest DH back at our home while I was away, where he says “I’m doing fine despite being without the biggest piece of my heart.” And I smile, and melt, and have to remind myself that parents aren’t always right. Mine do always love me, but they don’t always get my life.
I know that she wants the best for us, and in her own way, prioritizes what would define “best” for life. But she is not in my shoes. She does not know what I know and feel what I feel. We are different people with different goals and needs. And I respect that her own life lessons and experiences have lead her to her beliefs. But I am glad that another gift my parents gave their children when growing up was the ability to think for ourselves, challenge expectations and assumptions, and make our own paths.
It is hard to know that my path doesn’t always have the approval of my mom. I do want her to be proud of me. But I need her to be proud of me on my terms, and with my choices of happiness. And I hope one day she will see what a wonderful path I am walking, and realize that money alone didn’t pave it.