20 Notes to a Mother from a 20-Year-Old Daughter by Reid Kremer
A mother is a daughter’s prime role model for how to be a good person. Although she can be a little opinionated at times, I know my mother simply wants me to be happy, healthy, and successful in whatever I pursue. Her nagging reminds me that she cares.
So, to moms of twenty-year-old daughters, I’ve compiled a list of twenty thoughts you may want to keep in mind while assisting us through our pathway towards adulthood. To my own mom, just know that I love you, respect you, and appreciate everything you have done, do and will do for me more than you know. Thank you for being my crazy mother.
1. If I don’t know what is best for me, neither do you. I get it. You were once my age and, therefore, know what will make me happy. Wrong. You grew up in a different era under different circumstances and, most importantly, as a completely different person. I may not know who I am or what I want yet, but only I can figure it out.
2. Repeating, “You should get an internship,” over and over again does not increase my chances of actually getting one. I have come to loathe the word “internship.” Every time I hear that empty word, I flush it down my mental toilet. I know I need an internship. Unless you plan to help me find one, saying that I need one just increases my stress.
3. Try not to freak out. If I think that you are going to get hysterical when I tell you that I’m failing a class, then I am not going to tell you.
4. Either pick a side, or stand aside. Mothers are confusing. They have a tendency to change their opinions about what we should be doing with our lives. “Take summer school to get ahead,” followed by, “Don’t take summer school; it’ll burn you out.” I am confused enough as it is about the quality of my life choices. I don’t need you making it worse.
5. Don’t just offer advice, listen. My friends know when I’m on the phone with my mother because I fall silent. It’s not that my mom is a bad listener. She’s just a bad talker. Most mothers are bad talkers because they feel the need to impart their priceless wisdom on their innocent daughters. I appreciate your advice (sometimes), but occasionally I just want to vent.
6. Stop stating the obvious. I know you want to make sure I am doing everything right, but stop telling me all the things I “should” do. I “should” declare a major soon. I “should” eat better. I “should” get a job. I know this. Telling me does not help.
7. Stop complaining that I never visit home, and visit me. Are hotel rooms really that expensive?
8. I am terrified about my future, and your nagging me about it doesn’t help. Don’t waste a phone call on nags. If you really have to get it out, send an email. Then you can say it, and I can delete it.
9. I want to make my own decisions. If I don’t feel like I’ve made the decision to be a biology major completely on my own, then I am going to blame any unhappiness with school on you.
10.I still want your approval. If I am really excited about joining a rock band, support me.
11. I don’t need your approval. I am living on my own, far away from you. So, although I appreciate your support, I’m still going to do whatever I want.
12. I don’t love my boyfriend more than you, he’s just more interesting. He’s a lot cuter than you and can stay up past ten o’clock at night. But, don’t worry, you’re place in my life is probably more permanent than his.
13. Just because I am farther away doesn’t mean that I don’t still need you. When I’m really upset or stressed, there is nothing like the unconditional love of a mother to make me feel better. And, sometimes, I just need that gigantic mommy hug.
14. Let me make my own mistakes. I understand your desire to “save me” from making all the mistakes you did when you were my age. But, if I don’t make mistakes, then how can I learn and grow? Unless I am hurting myself or others with my decisions, let me be stupid. I’m twenty. I’m going to be stupid. I need to be stupid. I want to be stupid.
15. If I say I’m too busy to talk to you, it means that I’m too busy to talk to you. With school, friends, work, extracurricular activities, and trying to figure out my future, my days can be pretty hectic. I promise I will call you when I can, but making me feel guilty about not leaving anytime for you makes my heavy work load even more stressful.
16. Don’t be offended if I don’t call you for help. On my drive up to school this year, I missed an important exit and ended up lost. I called my roommate for help, not my mom because: a) I was afraid she would spend more time trying to figure out and explain how I got lost than actually helping me, and b) I wanted to feel independent from my parents. Don’t take it personally. Sometimes other people are going to be more helpful than you.
17. Let me be an adult. Stop commenting on the way I dress, the food I eat, and how I choose to spend my time. This was annoying enough when I was in high school. Now it just makes me not want to visit you. The more you comment, the less you see me.
18. Let me be a kid. After grueling finals, accept that I may just want to watch cartoons in my pajamas all day during my short break. I don’t have much longer to acceptably be immature.
19. Trust that there are things that I know more about. If I say that my advisor doesn’t know much about graduate school, believe me. Saying, “I don’t believe that,” doesn’t magically make it true.
20. Accept that I don’t know what I want to do right after college. Right now, I’m focused on doing well in my classes and graduating. Trust that I’ll figure out the rest when I come to it.