Late last week, while having a “cough” discussion with my 13 year old daughter, I realized I was slowly becoming my Mom. And, in this instance, I was mortified. Our discussion focused around her choices when it came to school work. It then moved onto to career choices. She said something along the lines of, “Mom, nothing I decided to do/be when I grow up is going to be good enough.”
Silence. Sobering silence. She rendered me speechless which is a rare thing. All weekend long, this conversation kept on creeping back into the front of my thoughts. What am I doing?
Exactly what my mom did to me. I’m the youngest kid of five. I was the one who liked school the most, who seemed keen on going on to college. In fact, I am the only one to go to, and graduate from college. I think because of this, my mom put a lot of her hopes and dreams on me. She grew up in a time when most women did work. But she did prior to being married. And the few stories she told about it growing it, she loved it: She loved taking the bus downtown, getting dressed up, all of it.
Because of this, I think when I mentioned as a teenager that I wanted to grow up to be a lawyer, she grabbed onto that dream with both hands. Unfortunately, after my first pre-law undergraduate course, I didn’t. I hated the class, and hated the thought of taking more. I dropped that dream like a hot potato, and honestly, have never looked back with any regret. My mom, though? not so much.
So when my girl told me that I poo pooed all of her career ideas, I felt awful. I had. Excited conversations and ideas of “When I grow up, I want to be….” often have ended with me being overly practical. “You know, only a really small percentages of people with this degree actually get to do what you want to do. There just aren’t enough available jobs in this field.” “That might be a good choice for a hobby, but I don’t think you can expect to make a living wage doing that.” OUCH! I’m a bitch. A big fat royal one.
I see so much potential in my kids. I believe they can make positive changes on the world. Solve world problems. End wars. Create life changing/saving things. I hope all parents have these thoughts. But, I also hope other parents realize what I’m just now realizing, and that it’s their life to live. I want to be the parent who says to their kid, “I’m going to love you, and be proud of you, no matter what you choose to be growing up. I will support and help you accomplish whatever it is that you want to do.” In order to do this, I’m going to need to learn to be more accepting of my kids choices, and learn to sometimes just be quiet and listen. My opinion is just that. Mine alone.