indian mother

Is Your Mother Wise?

At a SUPER young age, I was taught, told or understood the value of telling my mom important details of my life. I guess, I truly believe she has my best interest, and there is no one one in the world who will love me, sacrifice their needs over mine, or genuinely pray for my happiness more than my mom.

I was talking to my friend Summar last night about how I am one of those kids who is an over sharer, and I told her, I guess it stemmed from my mom telling me this story of one of her sisters. One of my mom’s sisters has just had a tougher time than my mom, and my mom attributes it to her not being candid with my grandparents. My mom says, she could have been spared from tough moments that happened in her life had she just been candid with her parents and asked for advice.  My mom really holds my grandfather in high-esteem, and she trusted his judgment and truly believed the advice he would give would only be to help his child and that he would consider all of the facts (my grandfather was a small town attorney- so, I too believe that his advice would have been well reasoned).

After talking to my friend Summar,  I can definitely think of people in my life (and even my own mom) who sometimes had a biased view on things.  I listen to my mom and share a lot with her, but for some reason, I believe I have the ability to weed out the dumb stuff she says. For example, I have gained a few pounds after getting married, my sweet mother has told me on multiple occasions that this is a biological thing and it happens to women after they get married. LOLOLOLOL. Sorry, its so ridiculous that  I have to laugh. I am fairly sure she is being serious. I know that I’ve packed on a few pounds because I have been making HORRIBLE decisions food wise. I’m not mad or sad about it – my body is a product and reflection of my decisions.

Enough about my body & back to my mom. Okay, so then it occurred to me, I really wanted to write a piece on how I weigh my mom’s advice and how I decide to use it or ignore it.

  1.  Every decision I make is my own. Even if my mother provides guidance on something that I have solicited guidance on – I make sure to understand that I have to OWN the decision I make. If she provides me dumb advice and I take it, then it’s on me – it’s not on her. For example, before I got married I really wanted to buy this really beautiful diamond necklace it was 3 ctws and so beautiful. I consulted with my mother, who agreed it was a good idea, but LUCKILY when I went to place the order for it, they didn’t have it readily available and the next few days when I pondered the purchase – I realized it was a dumb idea. I do not need diamonds now, I needed to pay off my student loans.
  2.  When your parents provide unsolicited guidance, question the motive behind it. My mom wasn’t into my brother moving to NYC, but, nonetheless, he did. Her reason for holding him back was based off of her own fear of being lonely without him and she wasn’t really thinking about him, she was thinking about herself. Parents are human, and sometimes, you need to remember that like all humans, they will have their best interest in mind, and might not understand how your actions are serving YOUR best interest. Weighing the two interests is something you need to do on your own.
  3. When you parents try to meddle. Say “No”. I trust that my mom would never meddle. She provides me guidance, and, has never taken my personal battle with someone as her own personal battle. I used to really dislike it, especially when I would get into scuffles with siblings, cousins or a specific uncle, but, now as a young woman, I really value her decision not to do so. You know the saying, “Too many chefs in the kitchen, spoil the broth” I think problem solving is similar. It is okay to ask people to reflect on the issue with you and to hear different thoughts on it, but at the end of the day,  the issue you have with someone is between you and them and you do not need to drag in a third person, or have a third person speak for you, unless you are paying them and they are your attorney.
  4. Reflect on your parents lives. Do you view your parents as successful? Do you see them holding good and positive relationships in their lives? Are your parents happy? I have a feeling if they are happy  and if they are happy in their marriage & with their other relationships (friends and family) and are, in your opinion, living a good life – then you should trust their judgment for tough things and really give their opinion some extra weight when they tell you to not do things/ do things. They have done something right to maintain happy relationships with those they love, & the advice they give you will come from past experiences that obviously lead to a past positive result.

I am sure you know bad advice when you see it, but the above are just a few things to consider next time your mom, or anyone that is important to you, provides you guidance. I hope it is helpful and allows you to obtain some perspective.

Peace, love and happiness.

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Poof. You Are An Adult. English is Their Second Language.

One of the toughest parts about getting older seems to be having to watch your parents become older. I am fortunate enough to have an incredibly close relationship with my parents and, simultaneously,  I have an incredibly unique relationship with my parents, since I have always considered myself their protector and interpreter of western culture.

My parents moved to this country from India. My dad got a head start by coming here in the late 70’s. Whereas my mom, finally came with my siblings around the late 80’s. Seeing as my dad went to school here and obtained a PhD and Masters, it only makes sense that he has mastered the language and western “culture” more than my mother. He has an accent, but not as strong as my mother, and he can communicate fluently [and apparently effectively, since he has obtained awesome opportunities throughout the years in his career].

My mother, she is a different story. To a certain extent, my mom didn’t need to master the language, she ran an ethnic story in the early 90’s (no language barriers there) and worked in some sort if I.T. testing division in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. She dabbled in day care before and after the I.T. position, but working with little kids did not necessarily require her to “learn” the language or the culture.

So now, my parents are getting older – whats the big deal? So growing up when it was just me and my mom running an errand, I would try to make sure the store clerk was talking to me, so that I could interpret the information over to my mom. I did this with simple things and more complicated things (like car issues or calling manufacturers in regards to warranties on home appliances), but I remember going to college and having this thought, “how will my mom communicate her needs effectively or understand third parties without me?” I gave my mom little or no credit, and I gave myself a LOT of credit. My mom did fine, she didn’t need me [as much as I had lead myself to believe]. I put this thought of her inability to communicate in my own head.

I remember coming home for Christmas break one year and intentionally being quiet at the store so I could witness the interaction. I thought the store clerk could have been kinder, but, I guess from his point of view my mom’s  tone when trying to speak English does not always come off as lovable, since she is more focused on trying to get the right words and conjugation out.

I created my own problem. I, like many of you, LOVE helping my parents! I love them – they are wonderful humans, who continue to do a lot for me and everyone else around them. So as an adult I see myself trying to revert to my old ways of simply doing things for them, but at the same time this is not as sustainable since I live in a different time zone, married and a young lawyer at a large firm [who by the way is studying for the Missouri Bar].

For example, the other day my mom wanted  me to send her the address of a salon near her, so I got off a call with my husband, while at Target running errands, Googled the salon and sent her the address. See the issue with this is that this is something she could have easily done, but I have reinforced her to believe that she cannot. So this morning, she told me the salon was closed [she said it in a way where it was closed forever]- I said why don’t you Google it again and try to give them another call. She hesitated, but with a little subtle encouragement she did it! She called them – made an appointment, now knows they are closed on Mondays, and even rescheduled her appointment after a second call!

This whole article was initially geared towards writing  about aging parents , but it ended up turning into an article about my mother– Happy Mother’s Day -I guess! I am amazed by how awesome she is, and I am learning to understand that our mother-daughter relationship needs to evolve and is evolving. We are both learning new things. I am learning to teach my mother how to catch fish, and she learning to not be afraid of catching the fish [broad -broad overstatement- since she does A LOT without me – but I like giving myself more credit sometimes].

 I am sure many of you struggle with these same scenarios and situations, and I would love to hear about how you handle things. Feel free to comment below – interested in your thoughts.