Author Topic: "What a waste of an education"  (Read 12360 times)

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Mrs. Pilgrim

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"What a waste of an education"
« on: June 12, 2012, 05:37:00 PM »
Off and on throughout my past, I've had issues with my parents--to the point that I stopped thinking of them as family and merely as the maternal grandparents of my children, in fact.  Well, before that point, I'd been much closer to and more receptive to discussing things with them. (Not that this made them any more receptive to hearing anything I had to say or taking any advice I was qualified to give.)

After the birth of our first baby, I was cheerfully expressing how much I enjoyed being at home, and was looking forward to moving into our prospective new house because it would be lovely to have housekeeping there and fill up the house with kids.  My father smiled indulgently and made a comment about how I'd get tired of it eventually, I'd be ever-so-happy when it came time to send the kids off to school, and then I'd be able to get back to my real calling: being a lawyer.

I told him that wasn't in our plans, that I much preferred being a mommy, and that I was sick of trying to solve problems for people not bright enough to realize that you shouldn't drive after downing a twelve-pack of beer in under thirty minutes.

"Oh, you'll get tired of it, you will.  You're much too smart to find it interesting.  Besides, with the kids in school, it's not like you'll have anything to do all day."

"School?"  I laughed.  "You must be confusing me with someone else.  We're going to homeschool.  We told you that already."

My father began to shake his head sadly, and said, "What a waste of an education.  You have all these opportunities, and you're just going to throw them away.  What a waste."

He was fully aware of how extremely crummy the schools were in our area, considering that I'd gone to them myself and nothing had changed there in the meantime.  He was aware that I had only ever worked as a lawyer in my solo practice, because jobs in established firms were so thin on the ground that if you didn't have connections, you may as well forget it.  He had long since been aware of our intentions, because Mr. P. and I had discussed them openly in front of him and my mother.  But he waited until I was there without Mr. P., in their house, holding my precious month-old baby in my arms, to act like this was all news to him and that I was clearly making an unacceptable choice.

I admit that the silence that followed his extremely rude comments was as much stunned as angry, considering that my mother had been a SAHM even while my sister and I were in public school, and he'd never once suggested she had "nothing to do all day" or that she was "too smart" for it.  Classy.

So I pretty much just stared at him until he got uncomfortable enough to accuse me of being rude.  Then he began chattering happily about how I was going to be "the next Racehorse Haynes" until I announced that I was going to see if Mom needed any help in the kitchen and walked away.  (I was then pronounced rude again, but he preferred to sulk over berating me for that act of concentrated evil.)

The next day, I was conveniently too tired to leave the hotel room Mr. P. and I were living in while we waited for the closing date (he had already started the job that required the move).  Frankly, staying in a hotel room watching brainless TV with a fussy new baby was preferable to being reminded that my father's ego-fueled ambitions were much more important than spending time on and with my own husband and children.

Still, it was satisfying to watch him squirm as I just stared at him like he was out of his mind.
"Use the proper word, not its second cousin." --Mark Twain, Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses

NotTheNarcissist

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 05:56:54 PM »
Wow, I am sad you are going through that with your Dad. Kudos to you for the complete silence. Certainly is difficult to bite my tongue at times & that would have been one of them.

hobish

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 06:08:41 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.

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Judah

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2012, 06:23:42 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.

So educating her own children isn't a good enough use of her education?  Just simply getting an education for educations sake is a waste?  Who gets to decide what a good enough use of an education is?  I'm paying for both my children's educations, well, DH and I both.  It's our gift to our children. What they choose to do with that gift is up to them.

OP, silence was the best option. 
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MummySweet

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2012, 06:26:21 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.

But this isn't just about money.  Mrs. P. invested the time and the work into obtaining her law degree.  I can see myself being disappointed that my child had invested a lot of themselves into something that they didn't like doing... they can't get that time back.  But I know that the money that I invest in my children is to help them become the people that they want to be, and that the whole process is fluid.  In the end my investment of money, time, energy and love is really about raising a happy human being who will have a positive effect on others.

Mrs. P's dad not only waited until she was alone, but he also chose a time that she was likely to be in a heightened emotional state.   His timing seems to have been specifically intended to hurt her.  I think she handled it well.

Moray

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 06:29:22 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.

Thanks, hobish. I was trying to figure out what was rubbing me the wrong way, and this is it. OP, can you clarify? Did your parents finance your undergrad and/or law school? I mean, it's still yours to do what you want with if they did, but I can see where they'd be hurt if you threw it back in their face as somehow laughably inferior.

I'm not giving your parents the green light here, but it may be helpful to consider their perspective. They're probably just as offended as you are, and for equally valid reasons.
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QueenfaninCA

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 06:30:30 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.

So educating her own children isn't a good enough use of her education?  Just simply getting an education for educations sake is a waste?  Who gets to decide what a good enough use of an education is?  I'm paying for both my children's educations, well, DH and I both.  It's our gift to our children. What they choose to do with that gift is up to them.

OP, silence was the best option.

I'm with hobish. The OP didn't just get an education, she went to law school, which last time I checked wasn't exactly cheap. If it had been her plan all the while to be a SAHM, she could have gotten a degree in something more applicable for a lot less money.

My parents paid for my physics diploma (equivalent to a masters degree). As I got it in Germany, the tuition was minimal, but they paid for five years of my upkeep. I would have been embarrassed if I had not done something that required that degree afterwards for at least some years.

dawbs

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2012, 06:31:47 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.
At some point though, this DOES become a 'the gift belongs to the recipient' issue.

Because holding someone, X years later, accountable for wanting to be a doctor when they were 18 is counterproductive to *everyone's* happiness.

And I don't see anything 'degrading' in what was said, did I miss something?

hobish

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2012, 06:33:29 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.

So educating her own children isn't a good enough use of her education?  Just simply getting an education for educations sake is a waste?  Who gets to decide what a good enough use of an education is?  I'm paying for both my children's educations, well, DH and I both.  It's our gift to our children. What they choose to do with that gift is up to them.

OP, silence was the best option.

I think if you help pay for, or pay for a lot of someone's education as most parents do - and they tell you that they want to "be a mommy" you have a right to express an opinion, yes.

ETA: Degrading - I was sick of trying to solve problems for people not bright enough to realize that you shouldn't drive after downing a twelve-pack of beer in under thirty minutes. I am pretty sure there is more to law than that.

« Last Edit: June 12, 2012, 06:36:20 PM by hobish »
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Judah

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2012, 06:34:33 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.

So educating her own children isn't a good enough use of her education?  Just simply getting an education for educations sake is a waste?  Who gets to decide what a good enough use of an education is?  I'm paying for both my children's educations, well, DH and I both.  It's our gift to our children. What they choose to do with that gift is up to them.

OP, silence was the best option.

I'm with hobish. The OP didn't just get an education, she went to law school, which last time I checked wasn't exactly cheap. If it had been her plan all the while to be a SAHM, she could have gotten a degree in something more applicable for a lot less money.

My parents paid for my physics diploma (equivalent to a masters degree). As I got it in Germany, the tuition was minimal, but they paid for five years of my upkeep. I would have been embarrassed if I had not done something that required that degree afterwards for at least some years.

According the OP, she did use if for a time and decided it wasn't for her but, that's neither here nor there. If her parents were going to put strings on their gift they should have been upfront about it.  I can't accept that the OP should not make what she feels to be the best choice for her family to satisfy her dad.  He gave her a gift, it's up to her to decide what to do with that gift.
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Judah

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2012, 06:37:21 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.

So educating her own children isn't a good enough use of her education?  Just simply getting an education for educations sake is a waste?  Who gets to decide what a good enough use of an education is?  I'm paying for both my children's educations, well, DH and I both.  It's our gift to our children. What they choose to do with that gift is up to them.

OP, silence was the best option.

I think if you help pay for, or pay for a lot of someone's education as most parents do - and they tell you that they want to "be a mommy" you have a right to express an opinion, yes.

To me this is more about the OP's parenting choices, staying home and home schooling, and no one has a right to express an opinion on that except OP and her husband.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

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Knitterly

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2012, 06:38:30 PM »
I'm a little stunned that people are supporting the OPs father in this. 

My sister has a master's degree and received no end of this sort of comment from vague acquaintances and even from some (former) friends.  It's one thing to hear it endlessly from mere acquaintances, but it is quite a bit more hurtful to hear it from one's parents.

This isn't a case of wasting an education.  This is a situation where the OP made her intentions to raise and educate her own children very clear.  Her father chose a moment where he could be deliberately hurtful without the consequence of being called out on his bad behaviour by others.

My mother does this to me often.  She is sweet as can be when Mr. K is around, but when he's not, she can be incredibly unkind.

I find it interesting that the OP's father didn't even have the courage to belittle her choice to be a SAHM in front of his wife (who had also been a SAHM).

Mrs. Pilgrim IS using her education.  She's just not using it in a way that her father approves of.

I had plans to be an accountant.  Once I actually started, though, I found it tediously incompatible with my personality.  I am now a stay-at-home-mom, too.


I think if you help pay for, or pay for a lot of someone's education as most parents do - and they tell you that they want to "be a mommy" you have a right to express an opinion, yes.

One can express such an opinion politely and kindly, which the OPs father did not do.  One does NOT, however, have a right to belittle a choice once it has been made.

I'm with hobish. The OP didn't just get an education, she went to law school, which last time I checked wasn't exactly cheap. If it had been her plan all the while to be a SAHM, she could have gotten a degree in something more applicable for a lot less money.

Perhaps... but what if she couldn't have kids?  What if she had a hard time finding the right Mr. Pilgrim?

Sometimes life takes us in all sorts of directions.

To me this is more about the OP's parenting choices, staying home and home schooling, and no one has a right to express an opinion on that except OP and her husband.
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Nika

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2012, 06:43:17 PM »
I have been sitting here trying to figure out how to phrase what I wanted to say... then Knitterly posted exactly what I was thinking. So I will sit just sit back and say that I agree with everything she said.
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Luci

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2012, 06:45:51 PM »
This should be some encouragement.

I graduated with a teacher's certificate in math and English. I only taught nine weeks (I was a permanent sub at the end of the year for a cancer victim). My parents paid for all of my education, including my senior year when we were married. They sent us the same amount of money that they had paid the previous year.

Mom died far before we realized that I wouldn't teach. But Dad always said that he was glad I had something to fall back on if I were left alone.

My MIL, also an educator, said that I shouldn't worry about it because an education is never wasted. She was right, because as a school librarian (an aide job), I used many of my skills learned by just being in college that one would never expect would be helpful. I was also more supportive of our children all through their educations and my husband in his teaching career. (I also hated teaching classes, although I loved tutoring, so I probably would have had to have therapy if I had taught. Those potential students dodged a bullet and don't know it!)

Of course my degree isn't as spectacular as yours, but I would support you and know that it is your right and privilege to do what you need to and want to do. You child and future children are very lucky.

I agree that you can't ever talk your dad into understanding, so complete silence is probably the best policy.

hobish

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Re: "What a waste of an education"
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2012, 06:46:37 PM »

Did they pay for you to go to school? I think if i spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to help someone reach a goal and they told me they were planning on not using it at all, and even degrading it ... i'd be a little peeved ... and if it was my kid i would tell them so. Having a "precious one month old" on the arm is irrelevant, IMO. If they didn't, and you didn't discuss it with them is one thing; but if they did i am not sure what you were really expecting. That's got to hurt as a parent.

So educating her own children isn't a good enough use of her education?  Just simply getting an education for educations sake is a waste?  Who gets to decide what a good enough use of an education is?  I'm paying for both my children's educations, well, DH and I both.  It's our gift to our children. What they choose to do with that gift is up to them.

OP, silence was the best option.

I think if you help pay for, or pay for a lot of someone's education as most parents do - and they tell you that they want to "be a mommy" you have a right to express an opinion, yes.

To me this is more about the OP's parenting choices, staying home and home schooling, and no one has a right to express an opinion on that except OP and her husband.

Then why is she discussing it with them? It's not very fair to bring things up and not allow anyone else to have an opinion on it other than, "How lovely for you, dear."

Quote
I'm a little stunned that people are supporting the OPs father in this.

... and what was an interesting little debate sinks to condescenscion and "I can't believe you think like that" in less than a page. It's been fun.

OP, i wish you the best and hope you can have some understanding for your dad. I know if it was my dad who had supported me in breaking into law or another male dominated field to hear me say i want to be a mommy he would be shocked and hurt. Maybe yours does, too. Give him some room.

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