Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Do you ever stop seeking your parent's approval??

My parents were so proud when I went off to college...neither of them have even graduated high school...it was the 60's...it wasn't a huge deal back then...they both had jobs, not anything fancy or high paying, but we survived. So, going to college was a huge deal. I got grants, some small scholarships/awards...but it didn't cover everything. Mom and dad had to take out a loan that they had to start paying on right away.

Two years later I graduated with my Associates degree in Floriculture Merchandising. I immediately began working on my field as a floral designer. My school loan deferrment period ended and I started paying it back...I offered to pay back my parent's loan too...they refused.

I worked as a floral designer for several years, in flower shops and then on my own when I started my home-based business. For much of it, I loved it...I had passion for it.....I wanted to be a big success. Then reality set in as I worked hours and hours for very little money. My husband and I debated on opening a store...but that only meant more overhead and no garantee on making more money. Around that time I started writing and fell in love with it. I found myself at a crossroads, either keep on doing what I was doing, or make a career change. If I'd been making a boatload of money, the decision would have been easy. In the end, there were just too many cons to keeping the business, so I closed up shop. After 10 years in the floral industry, I was done...and my school loans were finally paid off!

Then I told my parents my decision. My mom understood....she wanted me to be happy...and she reads a lot so she was excited for me. I showed her my small successes at the time...a couple flash fiction publications and told her about my acceptance for an anthology. Dad....he just didn't get it. He didn't understand why I was giving up my business. He asked if I was going back to work at a flower shop....I told him no. He wanted to know if I was getting some other kind of job. He didn't understand the writing thing.

He dropped it after that, but I felt like I had dissappointed him. Money has always been tight for them, so I know how big of a deal it was for him to pay the school loan they took out for me.

I've told him about my publishing deal...but still...it's not going to be a physical book that will be sold in a book store...it's not a product he an hold. (I'm being epublished).

I hope someday he can understand what I do now and I hope I'll have significant success to prove to him my decision was not a wrong one....and that although I no longer do what my education taught me...it wasn't a waste. I'm still a success and that path led me to where I am now.


  1. This made me want to cry!

    I still feel the constant need to please my parents. I don't think that ever goes away completely. And since we know our parents as well as they know us, we can see and sense the disappointment in them that might not be overt.

    But keep moving along. Keep writing. Promote your ebook when the time comes. And one day, hopefully, your dad will recognize the struggle it took to get there and the success you have acomplished!

  2. This is a very touching post. I spent a lot of my life trying to please my parents, and I still do to a large extent. But, something has happened in the last couple of years. Not only have I learned that my parents are also just real people that can deal with reality, but also my parents have learned that I'm going to be okay, even if I choose to do something that seems risky. This has made things a lot easier between us! I think over time people change, and as both you and your father evolve, a happy situation can develop.

  3. I don't think the desire to please your parents ever fades. But you have to follow your own dreams. My parents are supportive right now, but that's only because I stay home with my son (so they see that as my job and the writing as something to fill my time.)

    By the way, love your playlist. Our iPods would get along. Dirty Dancing songs, NKOTB, Radiohead, Alanis. Awesome.

  4. Hugs.

    When my mom was alive, she was very supportive of everything I did. She really wanted me to get my college degree. I graduated with my Bachelors in Accounting literally a few days before she died.

    When I was a teenager, my dad and I had a big feud and didn't talk for a couple years. Then it was another couple years before we stopped fighting. He was going to pay my college - until the feud. I went into the Air Force after High School and the AF paid for my bachelor's degree. Hubby & I paid for my master's.

    Dad's very supportive of me now including my writing. He's not happy with my husband that he's not that supportive. Dad says my hubby should let me quit the day job so I can concentrate on writing. Hubby would have a conniption ever considering it.

    I still work the full time day job and write nights and weekends. I *think* I could write a lot more, however, if I didn't have to work the other job as well. Oh well. Someday...

  5. My family are the opposite in that-even waaay back (like even great grandparents) education was very important in my family. My great grandmother was from a family with servants and butlers and maids and was very educated-esp for a woman. My grandparents were college educated. My parents (yes, in the 60's!) went to university. Education was a huge, huge deal.

    Now-here's the similarity between us. I went to University and then to College. When I had my children, however, I decided to stay home and raise them, while running a very successful and professionally run home daycare. My family do not understand why I'm "wasting my education" that I paid so much for and that I spent a lot of time and effort in getting.

    They see writing as a hobby, and if it's a lucrative one that will use my education and bring me accolades-great. If not, it's just a hobby to do in my spare time while I do "real work" that I went to school for in the first place.

    It's difficult-and sometimes I feel judged or like I'm not living up to expectations...but I also realize I have to do what feels best for ME...in MY life.

  6. Thank you for sharing your stories!!!

    I had it way better than my parents...who both came from very poor families. My grandfather died whne my dad was only 1-1/2.....my grandma and my dad and his siblings lived in housing projects. They had very little and lived solely on social security. My dad told us about one Christmas where all he got was a coloring book and crayons that his older sister bought him. He basically quit school after 9th grade to support himself and my grandma.

    So, my dad has lived his entire life by working hard...and usually manual labor or factory work. I know he knows that staying home with my kids is very important (my mom did it until my youngest brother started school) but I feel like he thinks I'm wasting all that money by no longer using my education. I don't think he's ever had a job that actually made him happy...work is to make money...that's it...he doesn't get that I want to do what makes me happy.

  7. Even if you become the next Stephenie Meyer, it won't be good enough for some parents. "Why can't you write that literary stuff?" they'll say. "Why are you wasting your talents on those trashy vampire books?"

    The thing is, I think they are proud, deep down. It's that thing they used to tell us in school, about the professors always being harder on the more talented/intelligent students because they knew those students had potential and were going places. There was no point in wasting valuable time and energy on students who just didn't care. I think some parents just don't know how to express that they are proud of their kids. They lack that communication ability.

  8. My dad has never been the mushy type, so even if he was bursting with pride, he'll never say it. I just hope that one day he understands what I am trying to do...that even though it's not a 9-5 type job, it's still worthwhile.

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