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Author Topic: Having to defend my plans  (Read 8589 times)

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Having to defend my plans
« on: March 14, 2016, 12:17:22 PM »
I'm going back to school in a little over two weeks (yay!).  This is both exciting and scary for me--I've been in college before, but it's been over a decade since I earned my last BA.

Bit of background:  the last time I was in college, I worked a TON of hours while going to school full time.  More than I really should have, plus I was a commuter student to boot.  I graduated, but my grades were really not great.  Not to mention the constant outside stressors I was dealing with (some are rather disturbing so I won't mention them here).  I had chosen a major in a topic that came relatively easily to me (English) and I'm rather certain that was one of the only reasons I graduated at all.

Fast forward to now.  I'm pursuing a far more rigorous academic pursuit, and determined to do better than the last time around.  After lots of talking with DH and planning/budgeting, we've decided that for the first couple years at least I will not hold an additional job but instead focus entirely on my studies.  I feel incredibly fortunate that not only can DH provide for us, but he also has the skill set to be able to help me with some of my classes (woohoo!  live-in tutor!).

Yesterday I made the mistake of mentioning to my mother that I would not be working while going to school.  You'd think I had told her I was going to run away with the circus.  Now I've been getting grief over how I'll only be studying, how easy it is to work full time and go to school full time 'as long as you're not lazy' (note: she did this but never finished college because she got burnt out), how 'I've always been so good at school so it shouldn't be that hard to keep up', etc.

I'm kind of worn out already and I don't particularly relish the idea of having to spend the next few years dealing with PA anecdotes about her other nieces and nephews that worked their way through school.  Could I do the program through night school?  Sure, if I wanted to spend 3-4x as long at it (and this is already a four year program) and be exhausted the whole time because my day job certainly isn't cutting me any breaks.  I'll be 35 in September and I'd like to be back in the workforce with my degree before I turn 40.

I'm hoping that after a few quarters of "look, ma, I made the honor roll!" I can get her to lay off, but is there anything I can do in the meantime?  This isn't something that I'm just impulsively doing, we've been planning for months.


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2016, 12:25:44 PM »
A number of Ehell approved phrases spring to mind, including 'don't engage the crazy' and 'drop the rope', to say nothing of 'don't JADE'.

You and your husband have been planning this for some time; good luck, and enjoy your second chance.


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2016, 12:54:45 PM »
"We have decided this is the best plan for our family."

Cut and paste. Don't justify, it's not her decision.


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2016, 01:12:36 PM »
"This is what we've decided is best for us. I"m sorry you disapprove, but frankly you're not going to change my mind. If you keep bringing it up, I'm just going to want to speak to you and see you less. So please don't bring it up again."

If she continues, tell her you'll leave or hang up if she brings it up, and then enforce that boundary. You do not have to put up with haranguing for a few terms while she comes around to accept your decision.


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2016, 01:24:27 PM »
If you get tired of it, you could go on the offensive and say, "And how did that work for you when you worked while going to school?" 


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2016, 01:25:18 PM »
Goodness gracious! I would be very limited about what information you give her regarding your school and work plans, since you know her stance.

I wish you the best in your second degree program! I'm preparing to start my masters.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2016, 09:03:16 PM »
I got this kind of response when I went back for my JD after about as long away. My husband and I BOTH quit our jobs to do this, so we're even wackier than you guys. I really wanted to try to figure out a way to work (and I have worked a little, but just odd jobs and internships), but I am SO glad I didn't get a job during my first year, especially. It's a huge adjustment!

"It's recommended by my degree program." (The back-to-school equivalent of my-doctor-says-so)

"I want to give it my all this time around."

"It's not like I'll never be able to get a job again just because I quit one. I promise, this makes the most sense for us."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence!"

"I'm building myself a better future through hard work and sacrifice. You raised me right, so let me take the wheel now, OK?"

"We don't have to worry about our finances right now. Thanks for the concern."


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2016, 01:57:16 AM »
Your mother sounds like mine.  I got her to stop needling me to move back to my Small Hometown from Big City where I live by getting her to start comparing and contrasting them, which was all favorable to the Big City (hometown, due to poor planning, doesn't even have fewer traffic jams to recommend it).  When she'd gone over several things that Big City has in spades and Small Hometown is sadly lacking in, I looked at her and said, "So why on earth would I want to move back to Hometown again?"

Maybe you can get your mother to start talking about how she got burnt out and quit college.  Then follow up with, "So, I don't want that to happen to me.  I'm not working while I take this extremely rigorous program because of your experience."

I also recommend "The cat is on fire, got to go" terminations of phone conversations when the PA anecdotes start up.  Even if you just think it might be a PA anecdote. 


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2016, 07:30:48 AM »
I wouldn't JADE (justify, argue, defend, excuse) when talking with her. But you can politely let her know, "Since we do not agree on this topic, we will not discuss it again." And then be prepared to end conversations or switch to a different topic. If she continues, "Mom, I would appreciate you respecting my position and leave this topic alone."


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2016, 10:28:28 AM »
If you get tired of it, you could go on the offensive and say, "And how did that work for you when you worked while going to school?"

I already did that last time I was a student.  Her answer was typically along the lines of "because I expect you to try harder than I did".  I suspect on some level she completely forgot how hard it really was.


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2016, 02:22:39 PM »
Mom, this topic is not up for discussion.  How about that beandip?"

If she keeps bringing it up, repeat ad nauseum.


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2016, 03:20:10 PM »
My mom is like that. I made a series of "mistakes", including quitting my career path (I no longer enjoyed working in the field that my degree was in), and moving in with my boyfriend with no promise of marriage. Every conversation devolved into her chastising me and giving me unsolicited advice (I was in my mid-20s).

I went from calling her pretty frequently to pretty rarely. And she noticed. When she called me out on it, I pointed out that it's no fun talking to someone who is constantly putting down your choices and questioning your reasons. It helped a little. For my own sanity now, whenever a question about my career/marriage/life choices comes up, I inexplicably have to go. I don't even give a reason anymore. "RainyDays, you really should xyz." "Mom I have to go."


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2016, 06:03:37 PM »
I would use one of the suggested versions of  "WE made a plan and we are fine with it" and then drop the rope.  I'd stress the WE so she knows you are both on board with this and hopefully she won't try to recruit your DH to help her make you see how wrong/lazy/whatever you are.

And best of luck with your new studies!!!!


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2016, 06:30:59 PM »
There are lots of great phrases and ideas in this thread, when I'm in a position where someone seems to have a legitimate concern, and I care about allaying that concern, I'll explain enough of the details to share how I (we) arrived at the decision. If the person pushes after that, like your mother is, I move to an "asked and answered" strategy. "I've already shared how we arrived at this decision. Thank you for your concern." And then... beandip.


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Re: Having to defend my plans
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2016, 12:51:12 PM »
For most of my college career, I worked full time and was probably at about 75% of a full course load, sometimes a full load if my schedule cooperated. And it could have been worse, but it was not "easy" whatsoever. I had class almost every day after work, plus studying, working on projects and papers, etc. I had to say no to a lot of social events and it got tiring. I had a lot going for me, my boss worked with me as much as he could with my schedule, I worked on school stuff at work, and didn't have a lot of other responsibilities besides school and work. I got really good grades, probably because I finally learned to study, I breezed through high school somehow and never really studied, and my first attempt at college was a failure. When I went back to college a few years later, I did much better. But that doesn't mean it's anywhere near easy, or ideal. And it's not about "trying harder", you have so many hours in a day/week, and so much mental capacity, you can't do everything and do it all well!

None of that really matters, I was just throwing in my 2 cents about how "easy" it is. The point here is, you and your husband made a choice for your family that you are both happy with and your mom's opinion really doesn't matter - there are lots of good suggestions here already on how to deflect her. It may or may not be a good idea to have a long list ready when you get the inevitable "So what have you done all day, you know, since you don't work?"  >:D