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home : columns : dear harriette October 20, 2020

8/27/2020 7:52:00 AM
After ultimatum, mom still hasn't sold house

DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom and I do not get along. She was a single mom, and when I was growing up, she had a ton of rules and complained and yelled about things in the house not being a specific way. She kicked me out for multiple months at a time while I was in high school. I am now 23, and she has remarried. I do not get along with her husband either.

Five months ago, she told me she was selling our family home to get a one-bedroom apartment for her and her husband, and I needed to move out in two months. I have my own place now, and we have spoken regularly, but I have noticed that three months have passed since I left, and she has not put the house up for sale. I cannot help but think that she lied to me to get me out of the house once and for all. I feel betrayed and have not brought it up because I feel like she chose her husband over me. I know an argument like that would end any relationship I would care to have with her. Am I assuming the worst of her? -- Abandoned

DEAR ABANDONED: I am sorry that you and your mother have had such a combative relationship. It is obvious that it hurts your feelings deeply. Now that you are an adult, though, it is time for you to be independent. No one knows if your mother will actually move, but it is good that you did. By living in your own space, you are in charge of your destiny. You do not have to abide by your mother's rules. You can create your own and begin to build self-esteem on your own terms.

Let go of your questions about whether or not your mother will move. Turn your attention to your own life, dreams and goals. Focus on yourself. Also, wish your mother well. If she is happy, she will likely be kinder to you. I hope that over time you can let go of the feeling of being abandoned. Consider yourself like a baby bird who was pushed out of the nest -- all so that you can fly!

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son returned from college last summer. He finished with a bachelor's degree in education. We agreed that in 2020, he would begin applying for teaching jobs to start this fall. Now quarantine has passed, and school is starting next month. I have been waiting for news of his new teaching job. When I finally asked him what school he will work for, he told me he has decided to go down a different path -- but he is not sure what yet. I'm speechless. He has a degree he does not intend on using. We spent so many months in quarantine, and he still does not even know what this new path is. Why would he waste so much time? -- My Son's Not a Teacher

DEAR MY SON'S NOT A TEACHER: I wish you had been talking to your son throughout the quarantine period. He probably needed to talk through his plans and reconsider his future. Education right now is tenuous at best, even for veteran teachers. It is not surprising that your son is skittish about taking a teaching job -- if there is even one available. Many schools have hiring freezes at this time.

Move past your disappointment and talk to him so you can support him as he looks for a new path. Millions of people have recently filed for unemployment. It may be very difficult to find work. He needs your support.





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