As a quasi-independent woman virtually living on my own for the past three years and thus having the unbridled freedom to do whatever, wherever, whenever I want, it is exponentially difficult to come back home to my neurotic, old-fashioned parents.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Mom and Dad with all of my heart. They’re wonderful people who have given me the world, moon, and about five other celestial bodies in the universe. They purposefully raised me to learn how to handle my own issues and situations. It just amazes me that they still assume my curfew — despite living on my own as a 21-year-old in one of this nation’s largest cities — is some time before 1 a.m.
Case in point: my wonderful, unassuming, completely independent boyfriend came home with me for Thanksgiving after we’d both spent the night prior pub-hopping and eating copious amounts of greasy Chinese food (#ThanksgivingEve2012). In what I’m sure was his attempt for a friendly conversation, he happily told my mother he couldn’t wait to stuff his face with her delicious food despite him and I having had a pre-Thanksgiving feast at 5 a.m.
Upon hearing the words “5 a.m.”, my mother turned to me with an incredulous, subtly horrified, I’m-going-to-pull-you-aside-and-talk-about-this-later look that lasted for a split second, but answered him affably. I can only imagine all of the conclusions that shot through her mind: drunkenness, sex, violence, and other shenanigans her only daughter could get into with her youthful boyfriend at such an ungodly hour.
I’m lucky that my parents aren’t too controlling, but I have some friends who I know are still, at age 20-something, unwillingly wrapped around those proverbial apron strings every time they come home. Here are some tips in not dreading the holidays and fully enjoying time with the ‘rents:
1.) Do some humble bragging. Your parents may be the only people in the world to who you can blab your awesome, noteworthy achievements and they will be genuinely happy for you without any reservations. A 3.85 GPA for the semester? A significant raise in your salary? If your dad is anything like mine, he’ll probably break out the wine and your mom will shower you with prideful hugs. Enjoy the attention and bask in their praise. Got dysfunctional parents? Get your smug on and show ‘em you’re just fine without ‘em. Be proud if you’re the first person in your family to attend college or earn over $65,000. Boast away!
2.) Take initiative. Believe me, it’s much easier on everyone if you just do something without having your parents nag you about it first. If you accidently leave your dirty socks on Mom’s pristine couch, remove them before she has the chance to see.
3.) Appreciate the little things. Especially if you’re a college student, or you work and don’t have time to cook for yourself: when’s the last time you had a warm, healthy, home-cooked meal? Mom’s spaghetti vs. 99-cent ramen = no comparison.
4.) Get out of the house. Take a walk, go to the mall, and hit up some of your old friends. Take time to get reacquainted with your past and catch up with some buddies if you truly feel that you can’t stand to be around your parents that much, or…
5.) Suck it up and show some love. If you don’t live with your parents and have a healthy relationship with them, use this time to really have some quality time with them. Relate to them as adults; ask them about their experiences when they were your age. They’ll be more than happy to tell you and can even further your bond. If you don’t have such a great relationship with them, perhaps it’s time to use the holidays to repair your connection. ‘Tis the season of love, cheer, and forgiveness; why not start with your roots? If you consider yourself a mature adult, it’s time to establish mature relationships with important people in your life.
By the way, my mother never addressed me about being out until 5 a.m. Maybe she’s finally accepted that I’m no longer thirteen years-old.
Happy holidays, Bauces.