Mother Trouble

Note (made 5/9/09):  After I wrote this post, the next day, in fact, Mom said she was just joking about the husband…Where it concerns me, at least.  She’s still subtly pushing the church thing, though.  Eh, well.  As with everything else in life, you win some and you lose some.

I had good things to write about since last Wednesday, positives coming out of negatives, moments of beatuy, that I just hadn’t found the time to write about.

Unfortunately, right now, all this is eclipsed by this nearly-blinding anger I’ve got rolling along my bloodstream at a boil.  If I was more akin to a tea kettle, steam would be coming out my ears and nose and I’d be whistling like crazy!

Without going into the whole exchange again, my mother suggested yesterday evening that the only way she will not worry herself to death over me moving into my own place and my own life is if I find a man that meets her approval and marry him.   Yes, she wants both her daughters married off, as she apparently doesn’t believe either of us capable of taking care of ourselves.

I said something along the lines of, “That’s very patriarchal of you, Mom.  Great.  It’s like feminism never happened!  I can take care of myself.”

I mean, it’s like I was instantly transported from the U.S. in the 21st Century to Regency England!   If there were any doubts before, now I know why I love Pride and Prejudice so much!  I’m like a modern day Elizabeth living with the 21st Century Mrs. Bennet!

Then, as if that wasn’t enough to make my blood boil, she said, “I’m going to have to get [you and your sister] back in church.”

Aaaahhhh!  Like that’s magically going to turn us into what she wants us to be?

She hit adulthood right in the middle of the Women’s Movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s!  That’s what’s so perplexing!  She’s generally been politically liberal.  I had no idea she was so backward-thinking!

I mean, I do get it, in a way.   She’s terrified when it comes to our safety and security in the world as it is.  She’s having a hard time with letting go of control of her children.

With me, she’s always freaking out because I am not petrified to travel alone…Because I’m planning to move away alone.  I would like traveling companions, but their availability in my general geographic area is scarce when choosing from my friend pool.  I like spontaneous little day trips, too, and most of my nearby friends don’t have the luxury of taking spontaneous trips as they have husbands and children and family gatherings and shift jobs to juggle.  I am afraid of Mom’s reactions at times, that’s true.  Sometimes it’s just not worth it to have to deal with her begging me not to go someplace alone.  I suppose she thinks my obtaining a husband will provide me a traveling companion, who will, by his very (male) presence, protect me from the other men who would seek to rape and pillage.

She’s always warning me about the dangers of being a young woman out alone.

By and large, though, rapists and random attackers prefer to attack what they consider to be weak, easy, and distracted targets.  I’m 6 feet tall, large-boned, and muscular.  I’m very attentive to my surroundings.  I carry a cell phone and personal security alarm at all times.  In the course of my work at this office job she considers such a safe workplace, I’ve faced a mentally unstable man carrying a concealed hand gun, entirely alone in the office at the time, which gun I could not see, but I could smell the cleaning fluid, went totally on instinct, and got out unscathed and actually ended up with him going on his disturbed way, though he actually threatened someone else with said gun later that day and was arrested.  (Of course, I didn’t tell her about that incident or she’d fuss every time I went to work.)  I’m not exactly a weak, easy, distracted target.

I just want to shake her and tell her that security and safety are illusory!  There are no guarantees that we will have either of them!  Getting married is not going to change that.  (Besides, I don’t want to marry merely for the illusions of safety and security.)  Living with my parents forever is not going to change that.  I may as well go out on my own!

Actually, I can see that talk coming, about safety and security being illusions.  I mean, I could walk out the front door to get the mail on any given day and be struck by lightning!  A disgruntled client could come in the office and swiftly shoot my boss, my coworker, and me.  A drunk driver could slam into my car in my very own neighborhood with my parents sitting on the front porch watching.  It doesn’t mean those things are going to happen, just because they’re possibilities.  It’s ludicrous to go through your life terrified about the  possibility of these things happening either to you or your loved ones.  If you spend all your time that way, you miss out on the good stuff!

I can also see I’m going to have to have a talk with her about letting go of trying to control every minute aspect of my life.  While I agree with her that my 19-year-old sister is very irresponsible and, yes, unable, at this point, to truly take care of herself, I am not her.  I am responsible.  I can take care of myself.  The only reason I’ve not moved out entirely on my own by now is that I’m trying to save up money, a sizable nest egg, to provide myself a better chance of financial security in this shaky economy when I move away, and also because I want to leave my current job and this town without burning all my bridges.   I had thought it may make my Mom’s parental transition easier not to leave right away, too, though now I know that’s not the case, and, instead, seems to only be making it worse.


I don’t know what I’m going to do with her.  First step, though, is the two aforementioned talks about the illusions of safety and security and the fact that she is being evicted from the driver’s seat of my life.  Furthermore, it is healthy for both of us that she be evicted from the driver’s seat of my life, and by me, not some man whom she hopes will take her place!

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One thought on “Mother Trouble

  1. This is an amazing post! (sorry, my reading’s a bit behind)

    Your honesty and resolve here are fantastic!!!

    Oy, what a mess!

    The only thing that comes to mind (she may say she was kidding, but she wouldn’t have said it if there weren’t some truth in their somewhere) is this:

    ~information does not change belief, only experience does.

    You can talk to her until you’re blue in the face, but she’s got many years of developing this particular mindset and I doubt that anything much will change her mind until she witnesses you actually living this free, independent, safe, happy, productive life on your own. And even then, depending on where her unmet needs and worldview are, she may not change.

    I believe it’s a rare thing for parents to ever stop viewing us as children who need their help and relate to us as capable adults. I envy those who have this. (Just this past week my mom was telling me again that she thinks I need braces! I’m 41 and she’s almost 80. And this, THIS is what we’re discussing!)

    {Hmmmmm. I’m thinking a road trip to Dayton (ALONE) to meet some women you met on the Internet might be step in the right direction! Hee, hee!}

    So, yes, definitely boundaries. And reflective listening on your part (she needs her fears to be heard). And then soar off to live your life, dear one. 🙂

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