Your relationship with your mother is one of the most important relationships you'll ever have — for good reasons and/or bad reasons. Your mother shapes your understanding of the world and your understanding of yourself. She can do that with loving behavior or toxic behavior — or maybe a mixture of both. Once you grow up and finally enter adulthood, you will decide how much you want your mother to be a part of your life. So what is some advice from your mom that you don't have to follow?
Even if you distance yourself from your parent, it is inevitable that her influence will follow you. Even if you have a great relationship with your mother, you won't always agree with her opinions — but you may find it hard to ignore her advice. But you have every right to do so. Whether it's a simple situation of "your body, your choice" — like with kids and personal style — or an issue regarding marriage or a career, you have a voice of your own that you can trust. One of the most difficult things we realize as we grow is that our parents are just people. They are not superheroes who know all — you know what's right for yourself. Here is some advice you don't have to listen to:
1. You Need To Be Married By A Certain Age
While pressure to settle down and get married by a certain age — lest you enter spinsterhood — seemingly comes from many different facets of society (media, friends, school, etc.), perhaps the greatest pressure can come from your mother. You must remember, firstly, that you are the person potentially getting married, so your opinion is the only one that is relevant.
Secondly, you must remember that you and your mother grew up in different generations. Fewer millennials are getting married, and a Pew Research study says that 25 percent of millennials will never get married. And even if these statistics didn't exist — you shouldn't give in to pressure to wed if that isn't your goal. To put it simply, you'll never be happy when you get married for somebody else — it's your life.
2. You Will "Regret" Not Having Kids
A child-free life is a choice that is still misunderstood and stigmatized. A study by Infertility Network U.K. found that more than half of surveyed women who did not have kids by age 35 felt stigmatized by family and friends. And your mom may very well be desperate to fill her home with grandbabies — especially now that her own children are grown. And I don't doubt that your mom would be an excellent grandmother, but your body, your choice; your life, your choice.
Children — whether they are biological or adopted — are a lifetime commitment. If you only have children to please a pushy mother, you may very well resent your kids (which they don't deserve) and you will definitely resent your mom.
3. Don't Get Back With Your Ex
She may definitely have a point as a woman who has lived longer than you. And as somebody who loves you, she wants you to only be treated like a queen — and this ex may have hurt you. But you only learn from your own mistakes — if your instincts are telling you to get back together with an ex-partner, then you have to learn more about that relationship for yourself. Otherwise, you won't grow. Also, you know what your heart needs — maybe you and that ex will actually work out the second time around.
4. How To Spend Your Own Money
If you are an independent woman making her own money, that is yours to spend as you see fit — whether that means going to college or not going to college, renting an apartment (your mom may try to convince you to live with the family even if that is not good for your mental health), going on a dream trip, etc. A parent may attempt guiding your financial choices out of genuine concern or because of a toxic, controlling relationship. You know what you need to survive and be happy, and you can use your own income to accomplish what you need.
5. Stay At A Job That Makes You Unhappy
Your mom craves stability for you — and you can't blame her, especially in such a terrible job market. But the workplace is where we spend the majority of our waking hours, and it often decides who we are surrounded by for a huge chunk of the day. Hostile work environments can be sources of harassment, and unfulfilling employment can be a source of depression. You have to listen to your own instincts and mental health (and physical health) when you are the person affected by your job — not your mom.
6. Don't Change Your Hair
Once again — your body, your choice. Your mother may tell you not to dye your hair, not to get bangs, not to get an undercut, not to shave your head... the list goes on. But if it grows on your head, it is yours to do whatever you please. Your mom may want you to stay natural because you are her baby and she thinks you were made perfectly (and you were) — or she may be controlling and judgmental and think you should only look a certain way because of beauty standards and gender norms. If you feel the need to defend yourself (only if you want to spend the time defending yourself), teach her the Jada Pinkett Smith philosophy.
7. Don't Try Dating Apps Or Online Dating
Again, your mom grew up during a different time — before Tinder and OkCupid. She may think online dating is for "desperate" folks who have given up — when these dating tools couldn't be more normalized. I honestly can't list a friend of mine who hasn't tried a dating app. Also, a Pew Research study found that 15 percent of adults have used dating apps or sites, and 27 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds use apps. Do whatever makes you happy in your dating life!
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (7)