Yesterday I spent the day with my parents for Mother’s Day, and for some reason, this visit felt particularly stifling.

My mother is quite pleased with my brother and me right now. My brother just got a permament gig, and I have the new job and the boyfriend (or the boyfriend and the new job, if Mom had any say in prioritizing), but she can’t really be satisfied with that. She has to constantly get her two cents in.

I received unsolicited advice/questions/opinions on:

  • Moving my office
  • Buying a new wardrobe for my new job
  • Moving my apartment [My parents think I’m moving in June, and don’t know that I’ve already moved. So I’m a wimp. But at least they know!]
  • What I should do about my furniture
  • MB’s apartment
  • Whether or not we should have a TV
  • Whether or not a grocery store is nearby
  • Whether or not the area is safe
  • That we should save money and buy a condo
  • That we should have some kind of commitment ceremony [Wha??? Well, at least she’s not pushing for marriage.]
  • MB’s job situation
  • That I should remind him to apply for unemployment
  • Other stuff about MB

  • Oy.

    And that was just a few hours.

    I don’t mind talking about this stuff, but hearing someone’s opinion and advice, especially when I haven’t asked for it, all day long is well, suffocating.

    Seeing people get engaged, married, have babies makes me NOT want to go down the traditional path again. It’s everyone’s own choice of course, but for me, I hate feeling those social pressures, from people who think they can comment on my life.

    I told several colleagues that I was moving, and of course they asked what prompted the move, so I told them I was moving in with MB. And two asked about marriage. “Do I hear wedding bells?” one said.

    I think it’s nosy and inappropriate. You don’t know what someone’s beliefs or past experiences are. It’s like asking about children. IT’S NONE OF THEIR DAMNED BUSINESS.

    I’m not saying, woe is me, I’m so scarred from my past, that’s why I don’t want to do this. It’s like this: I envision a road, let’s call it the Road of Tradition, and the first marker is Getting Engaged, next is Getting Married, next Buying a House, and finally Having Kids. (Of course there’s lots more after that, but that’s about as far as I can see right now.)

    And all along the Road are family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and strangers, waving and smiling. For some that’s all they do, but others are also doling out advice and opinions, and expressing their expectations, whether or not you give a shit.

    Meanwhile over at the Road Less Traveled, there is no one. There is just me and MB, and maybe some birds and shit, walking hand in hand. What’s down that road is visible only to us.


    1. I hear you on the unsolicited advice thing. The family wedding I went to in January made me want anything but a traditional wedding. Too many people, too much input and just seemed to have nothing to do with the bride and groom. But then I went to Zero and Jayfish’s wedding and it was everything a wedding should be. And made me want one again. Maybe the key is keeping it small?
      I’ve been getting a lot of the “so are you getting married?” type questions with this move. Mostly from friends I don’t know very well. It’s strange that people think they can just jump in and ask questions/give suggestions when you aren’t asking for it.
      More annoying when it’s parents and you can’t just be evasive. I feel your pain. But at least you are happy :)

    2. Ah, the givers of unsolicited advice… everyone’s favorite!

      I think your analogy at the end is excellent. It’s tough to focus on just the two of you, but sometimes you just need to jump into that whole and forget all the other stuff.

      Yeah, I know… easier said than done!

    3. heeeeeeear hear!

      of course, my mistake in the past has been that i solicited advice, and then had my relationships buckle under the weight of everyone else’s input.

      do things your way, and do what works for you. i have already decided that if/when i get married it won’t be a traditional foufy affair. i am undecided about children (bearing them; i have no qualms with adopting) but too many people are making me feel as though it’s my obligation as my parents’ only child to pinch off a couple spawn.

      i am on the verge of a situation that may not meet the approval of other people, but at the end of the day, i have to tune out the voices of the naysayers (or just the sayers) and do what feels good for me.

      i agee with sitcomgirl, though: it’s way harder to be evasive when it’s your parents. they have some kind of special divining rod to tap into the nerves.

      hang in there and good luck with everything.

    4. sitcomgirl: i know what you mean. there’s still a part of me that wants the wedding, and the chance to do it the way that i really want.

      oh yes, the happiness factor far outweights the suffocation factor. :)

      maia: i guess it’s good practice, right? focus on each other to keep the relationship strong.

      dalia: the parents do indeed have this special power. everything my mother says seems to be heavy with passive-aggressive meaning – do i challenge her and get defensive? or do i just ignore it and let her say it? *sigh*

    5. Parental stories are always good for a laugh. It’s nice to know she cares, right?

      I know many people with different partnering choices. Wedding, no wedding, wedding with only each other, wedding with < 10 people, destination wedding, private ceremony (alone) before family wedding. Just yesterday I overheard a middle-aged man talking about his engaged niece and commenting how he thinks marriage has become obsolete. Legally, I think it was more complicated to not be married twenty years ago, but as laws and expectations have shifted, I think it’s easier now if people choose to just be couple. It’s definitely a personal thing.

    6. Did your mother actually say commitment ceremony? I don’t even know if mine understands that! But I’m glad she’s being really supportive. Don’t you find that once you abandon other people’s expectations, it frees you up to live the life you want?

    7. plue: well, she didn’t say commitment ceremony, but she did say, “some kind of ceremony,” which i interpreted for myself.

      funny, maybe it’s me but i don’t really think of my mom as being supportive. i think of her as being not adversarial for a change. it’s not like i said, “this is what MB and i want,” and she said, “yay! i support you.” it’s like it was just a coincidence that we feel the same way.

      but i’m grateful even for that.