Posted by: unlikelygrad | March 10, 2010

expectations, part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, my mother has very high–perhaps unreasonably so–expectations of all of her children. For example, she lauded me for staying home while my children were young, but told me I should have continued my education. She praised Chrissy for the meteoric rise of her career but scolded her for putting her girls in daycare.

However, I do actually understand the reasons she pushed (still pushes, in fact) so hard. The reason is illustrated by the following conversation which she had with me when Will was a baby:

Mom: “So, when are you going to go to grad school?”

Me: “Probably never.”

Mom: “No, you will go to grad school some day. I just know it. And you’re going to love every single minute of it!”

See, here’s the real reason she pushes us: she knows each of her children incredibly well. She knew of my insatiable drive for learning (I read constantly during my at-home years), and also that I loved science. It wasn’t too hard to draw the conclusion that I would never be completely happy until I’d jumped back into the scientific realm.

My mother’s wishes for my life are sometimes unreasonable, but she could have been worse. She insisted that we all take music lessons as children, for example, but never pushed me to become the next Sarah Chang. We were never forced to participate in organized sports, though both of my parents encouraged us to exercise regularly (and led the way by example).

Any expectations Mom has which seem unreasonable are really her desire for us to have a perfect life. Sometimes, of course, she has no clue what would (or wouldn’t) make us happy, so her dreams collide harshly with reality. But overall, what I’ve come to see over the last few years is that her high hopes for her children are just an expression of her love. And so I’ve learned to accept the reasonable expectations, and laugh when she goes over the edge. My mom is an awesome woman, and I love her.

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