Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thanks, Mom

It has taken me this long to understand where my mom was coming from. 

Back when I was still living at home and antsy to get out into the big, wide world, my mom laid it out for me:  once I decided to move out of the house, I was ALL out.  There would be no financial support, and I wasn’t going to be moving in and out again at my convenience if things got tough.  I had to be sure I could make it on my own. 

To be fair, she did issue a caveat.  She knew that I’d most likely be moving in with my boyfriend and, the ever-suspicious mom, she did say that they would take me back if he ever hurt me.  And, not ‘hurt’ as in a broken heart.  If we broke up and he kicked me out, I was still on my own.  But ‘hurt’ as in a broken arm – that was a different story. So there was that, at least.  But only that.  At the time, I thought it was pretty harsh.

Nevertheless, I moved out.  I didn’t jump without a parachute, of course.  I had a car, a job and an apartment to share with my boyfriend.  But that’s not to say I didn’t have to learn some things along the way.  

I learned never to shop when you’re hungry unless you want to blow through two weeks worth of your grocery budget.

I learned about the credit card trap and, subsequently, I learned about consolidation loans.

I learned that having good credit is no joke.

I learned that sometimes you have to work at a crappy-ass job - or two - or four, whether you like it or not.

I learned that the weekly ten-cent wing night at the bar next door can help stretch your food budget.  And provide some great free entertainment, to boot.

I learned about consignment shops and flea markets.

I learned that paying rent to live in not-so-ideal conditions always sucks, but that it’s a powerful motivator.

The point is, I learned.   More to the point, I might not have learned these things half so well if I’d thought there’d be a comfy cushion to fall back on.  And I wouldn’t have learned them at all if I’d had things handed to me.  I might not have tried so hard or been so resilient or learned to rely on myself to get me out of trouble.

So, now I understand what my mom was setting me up for.  And it turns out, her intuition about how to create a responsible adult was right.  So right, in fact, that I hope I have the fortitude to do the same with my kids.  Even if, down the road, we can give them the things they need to have a comfortable life, my hope is that we don’t, and that they learn to earn a comfortable life on their own, struggles, lessons and all.


P.S. Yeah, yeah, Mom knows best – usually.  Her suspicions weren’t always spot-on, though.  The boyfriend I moved in with?  He never hurt me, not even once. In fact, he treated me so well that it was a no-brainer to accept his proposal when he finally asked me to marry him 17 years ago :)


  1. I love your blogs. I also liked the Mr Budweisers wing night reference - they were some good times :)

    1. Thanks, Michelle. Cool that you caught that. Tons of fun. Wish it was still there!