Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Prideful parents.

I have no time for parents who measure themselves on their children’s successes – or are ashamed if their kids aren’t quite keeping to the plan they set out for them the second they were born. 

Yes, I know this sounds blunt – yet also very pointed – and, well, it is. 

This isn't tea. This post is, though.


The other night at a party I spoke to a family friend, and asked how their kids are doing. They then excitedly gushed about their daughter and how well she’s doing at university in her incredibly academic combined honours course  laughing as they recounted something she’d said about not understanding half of it and thinking the other half was ‘a load of b*llocks’. I laughed along, of course, but then realised a few moments later that these friends also have an older son, and they had neglected to mention how he was doing. So, later on when I caught them again, I outright asked. 

The floundering was immense. Then the tone of voice in which I was told that he was working locally, living at home and ‘didn’t have much career ambition...just wants to chill with his mates!’ was the kind of tone that would be accompanied with sarky (but secretly ashamed) laughter and eye-rolling, were we not in a party atmosphere at the time. Then a casual ‘I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of him!’ was thrown in...and I had to bite my tongue so hard I almost tasted blood. 

On the way to this party, I picked Dad up from the pub where he and his friends were sinking pints with a pile of change in the middle of the table. One of them mentioned their kids, and how happy they were to have their son on his way to getting a high-paying tax-free career – and how excited they were that their daughter, a recent graduate, was now living with her boyfriend’s family, and definitely not returning to their family home. I’ve since been told this was said in jest and good spirit, that this particular friend does love their kids, but still, it stung me a little that it was this big joke. 

Firstly, due to the ridiculous nature of house pricing at the moment, more and more of my generation are having to go home after uni – or stay at home for longer than planned after school, despite having an income. That’s just a fact. It was never this hard when millennials’ parents were this age.

Secondly, surely all parents would be inclined to help their offspring, if they were really struggling in the current financial and social climate? I know I may be a special case in this as my parents and I are very close, and my living in the family home at 25 is mostly due to things out of my control (here meaning: shitty health), but I like to think my peers would always be welcome to return to their families if they needed support, or even just a bed between rented homes. I also know a lot of couples who, after renting together for some time and becoming more serious in their relationship, have had to move in with one set of parents together so they can save for a ‘forever home’. It’s really not uncommon, and it makes perfect sense.

Anyway, that’s not even what this post is about. This post is intended to shake the shoulders of ‘proud parents’. Or rather, selectively proud parents. In fact, 'prideful' seems more appropriate... 


I took these photos. Pretty alright, no?


I know of some families who will always talk about one of their kids – the one who smashed every A Level and got into their first choice uni, before starting a graduate scheme in the city and then being promoted mere months into the permanent position, and is now engaged and buying a house – until the metaphorical cows come home. However, they’ll need prompting and a few drinks before they quietly mention the other kid – who is living with friends above a furniture shop, on a zero hour contract at the local pub and picking up shifts delivering pizza, unlikely to ever make them grandparents and perfectly happy with their lifestyle...but not ticking any of their parents’ shiny little boxes. 

I, of course, talked with my parents about this, asking them if they have any expectations. This talk coincided perfectly with a mini-meltdown I recently had, worrying my life wasn’t as ‘on track’ as it could be as I approach my 25th birthday – again, mostly due to circumstances beyond my control. 

They both said immediately how proud they are of how varied and creative my life is at the moment; how I’m making the most of my free time awaiting surgery working hard in the areas I someday want to make my millions (lol) in, and sparing no expense when it comes to having fun despite my dwindling savings. This reassured and relieved me, and made me wish all my peers could have such a positive home atmosphere. Sadly, not all of them do. 


I know this is a tricky topic, but I feel so strongly about it. Do you?
I’d love to hear from you all about your parents. 
Drop a comment below, or tweet me any time.


6 comments

  1. My parents have always been great, I mean there have always been times when I feel like they might be more proud of my sister than me, but I feel like that's more normal sibling envy than anything that was actually happening! My parents have certainly never brushed either me or my sister off when talking about us to their friends and they'll talk quite happily about both our achievements. My sister is one of the millenials who will be coming home soon, my parents weren't thrilled because we just moved to a smaller house and she had told them (rather brashly) that she wouldn't be coming home but now of course she has had to, but there was never any question that they would make space for her to come back and that she'd be able to stay with them as long as she needed-she wants to get and job and not be living at home as much as they do!

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    1. Sibling dynamics are so tough (I'd write about that, but I doubt it would go down well with my sis...!), I totally understand the envy thing. I hope everything is okay for your sis, and that she isn't imposing on your folks for too long. x

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  2. Weirdly, I think my experience is the exact opposite. I stayed over at my mum's over the weekend for my birthday, and she was so excited about my having "come home to OUR home". It made me a little annoyed, honestly, because of the work I've put into building my own home with my husband and our cats. She said she didn't mean it like that when I called her out on it, so I hope I've reminded her to be a bit more careful with the language she uses.

    Which, I guess, is pretty much the same thing you were saying after all. Also, I'm glad your parents are the best.

    x

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    1. Ooh, very interesting. My parents love having me home, but also understand that I need to leave within the next year. They encourage me, in the nicest way possible! It's a tricky thing, isn't it!? x

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  3. Great post Grace! I'm totally with you, and I have had much of the same meltdown to my parents and they were also really supportive. They don't care where I go, what I'm studying, where I work, or who I'm with so long as I'm safe & happy. And I know so many of my friends who have the opposite, & I honestly wish I could slap their parents sometimes. It's heartbreaking to see them living at home & being made to feel worthless by people who should be encouraging them. I don't understand it at all. Also my parents always talk about my brother & I equally & help us equally, which is really important to both of us & we would call them out on it if they did any different.

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    1. That's lovely, Amy. It's so important, and sadly not as common as it should be, to have supportive and loving parents who are proud no matter what you do - and are a constant source of encouragement and love. x

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