My friend, who is obsessed with her daughter’s success, is in trouble with her daughter and doesn’t know it - yet. She is unwittingly teaching her kid things that I do not actually think are true. For instance, my friend wants her daughter to get into the business school at UVA and come out a shark. She dreams of the days when her kid can work really really hard and make a ton of money and then retire at 40 (it’s the new 30 after all).
But what her daughter explains to ME is that she dreams of becoming a guidance counselor and working in an at-risk school. She wants to make a difference in the world by leaving a small footprint (i.e., a minimalist lifestyle) and focusing on relationships not achievement OR material possessions. My friend’s daughter is sad that her mother does not “get her” and I am concerned that this conflict may lead to not only a relationship schism but an array of mutual misunderstandings.
Of course, there’s another side to this story. This mom got pregnant with this child when we were in high school. My friend who is brilliant and capable and filled with drive and ambition chose to become a single mom rather than accept the invitation to go to her dream college (too far from family support). She chose to ditch her dream of going to medical school (too hard without a husband to help raise her daughter). Does she resent this? She says not. But she is acutely aware of feeling under-educated and she mourns the loss of her own unrealized goals.
Lately I’ve been pitching the idea that mom consider going back to school and studying anything that makes her heart sing. She is coming around to giving it some thought. All I know is that these two lovely women really love each other and I have a feeling they will work this out.