While I’m away, readers give the advice.
On a college student’s resistance to parental control: Show your real independence. Ease the financial burden on your parents by paying for some of your education yourself. Even if it is supplies and/or fees for a year.
I found that my parents viewed the fact that I took part of the fiscal burden on myself, when it was not expected, to be the most mature thing I did during college. Not my academic performance, not my activities, but the fact that I tried to make life easier for them. It was not the amount, but how hard I worked to earn that money that made the biggest impact.
Happy I Did It
On feeling awkward about one’s highly advanced children among parents of regular kids: My first child had 13 teeth by the time he was 1, and my second was walking at 9 months, and knew the alphabet by 18 months. Oddly, none of their college applications asked about these superhuman feats.
On the other side of hunting bridezillas for sport: Every time I express an opinion or speak declaratively about my fiance’s and my upcoming wedding, I hear “bridezilla” spit back at me. For months I tried to laugh along, but the shaming has gotten under my skin because I’ve really tried to be accommodating and laid-back. I don’t think any of my opinions or our plans have been over the top, and have been reassured as much by my fiance, parents and bridesmaids.
For example, this week, co-workers asked if I’d picked out dresses for the bridesmaids yet. I said I was letting mine pick their own, but had given them some loose guidelines on color, length and fabric.
They laughed and one said, “They can’t even pick what fabric they want?! Bridezilla!” When I told my future father-in-law we’d had a problem with our room block at the hotel, he said, “If they know what’s good for them, they won’t provoke Bridezilla!” In both situations, I told them I didn’t find it funny and in both situations they told me to lighten up, because it was all in good fun.
My fiance never gets teased, even for making comparatively ridiculous demands and statements. I think it’s rooted in people’s impossibly high expectations for women.
On people who pry into your reproductive intentions: I think people ask and pry into whether you’re having kids because they want to know if you’ll be in the club that validates their decision. I think it’s in the same vein as married couples who suddenly drop single friends only to reconnect when they’re married. Or religious people who are uncomfortable around atheists (something I find more common than the reverse).
Whether it’s what handbag you’re carrying or whether you (also) will be having children, people more than ever want to sort others in/out of their tribe.
When I am asked that question, I say that one does not need a reason not to do something.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.