Keep on Keeping On

I told my parents about my decision to leave my course almost 2 weeks after my meeting with my personal tutor, and after I’d already signed to say I was leaving. This was because my dad had an operation coming up, and I thought it best to wait. I found that really nerve wracking (see prior post!) but it was definitely the right move. Telling them went fine, I chose to do so by email and invited them to then call me to talk about it. They said a few strange things but all ok.

Fast forward to now- two weeks later almost and I’ve come to London to see them while they’re back in the country for a bit. We went out for dinner (dim sum, nom) and things were fine but I knew they wanted to talk further about my plans. This conversation began just before we got the bill.

It’s important to me that they feel heard and that they can express their opinions. Unfortunately they come at things with a very different world view, although there are many things we agree on. As a lawyer and a doctor, they find it hard that I won’t have a job title, or be very well paid for my efforts. They don’t want me to do foster caring mainly as they don’t value looking after children as a worthwhile use of time or talents (hence us being kinda raised by nannies), and I won’t get any recognition for it.
Some phrases used ‘you seem to be narrowing down your life’ ‘what are we supposed to tell our friends’ ‘this won’t use all your talents and skills’ ‘you didn’t give nursing a fair chance’ ‘you keep giving up on things’ ‘you would have been an excellent doctor’ ‘you’re setting your sights lower and lower’ ‘if you’re up against someone with a degree you’ll always lose out’ ‘to do fostering you really need a child psychology degree’.
They have some things that I’m interested in a box marked ‘acceptable’ and others in a ‘disregard’ pile, it seems. Roots of Empathy instructor – tick, fostering – bin, Place2Be training – tick, nannying – bin.
They said they wanted me to be able to support myself (‘I believe in feminism – that you should be independent’. Interesting interpretation, because I thought feminism was about my right to choose what I do). My sister is a box called Artist, so is ‘allowed’ to work at things she hates (restaurant, cabinet painter) to make money to fund her art time. For some reason I’m not allowed to do something I love (nannying/childcare) to fund the things I really love (RIE training, Roots of Empathy, mentoring). Oh but tutoring is ok for some reason- which I’m also planning on doing, of course (why would I not want £20/hour!). They’ve spoken about how my other eldest sister is considering doing some Montessori or Steiner teacher training so that she can have an independent income just in case (tick- sounds legit) but the fact that nannying will pay the same, as my just-in-case option, isn’t ok.
They need to give me a chance to build up experience (some of it unpaid), so I can go forward with my plans (getting training along the way), in order to perhaps in 10 years time be someone who people value the opinion of and who can speak up about things.

I feel like this is it, that I’ve lost their support – though of course not their love. This will rear it’s head many times until I reach a level they’re happy with, and we will rehash the same conversation over and over.

But I remain confident that pursuing my passions and interests is the right thing to do.

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