Dear Annie: I'm a young woman with a degree in education. After spending several years as a student teacher and co-teacher, I decided that I really don't want to remain in teaching. I know I should have switched majors in college, but I hoped this would work out. I also was worried about what my family would think.
These same well-meaning family members are now actively pushing me to accept a teaching position in a nearby small town. I went to the interview to please them, but the entire time, I was wishing I were somewhere else. I have told only my immediate family that I'm going to turn down the job if offered.
So what do I tell these other relatives about my job decision? How do I keep them off my back? I'm already suffering health issues due to anxiety, and I don't know how much more I can take. I'm tempted to move out of the area, but I love living in my town. Any help would be much appreciated.
- Ready To Run Away
Dear Ready: You have to develop a stronger spine. Your career choices belong to you, and although some folks may be disappointed, that's their problem. Their disapproval should not determine your future. Practice saying, "I'm sorry you are unhappy with my choice." You don't have to talk about the reasons, nor do you need to create excuses. But you have to be able to withstand the fallout, which will be temporary in any case. This, too, shall pass.
Dear Annie: Last year, my son married a girl we adore. He and his new wife live in the same town. But ever since the wedding, he barely speaks to us. It's as if he started his new life and forgot about his old one.
He'll respond when I call or text, but he never initiates contact. He treats his siblings the same way, which makes me sad. The only way we see him is when I invite them over for dinner. We got along fine when he lived at home, so I don't understand how he has seemingly forgotten us. I don't know how to address this with him without coming across as rude.
- Lonely Mom
Dear Mom: You are making this an emotional crisis, and it doesn't have to be. Your son still loves and cares about you. Let us explain: When your son lived at home, you saw him every day, and contact didn't require any effort from him. Now that he lives away, it doesn't occur to him to call or text, because he never had to think about it before. He is conditioned to let someone else do the work.
Here's how you fix it: Let him know you miss him and would love it if he'd remember to call or text once or twice a week. But understand that you'll still have to do most of the work. Then make friends with his wife. Call her. Text her. Ask her to go shopping with you or meet you for lunch. But also be sure to give them their space. While they are both part of your family, they are first and foremost a unit unto themselves.