From How to be Healthy Happy and in Fabulous after 40 or at any any age.
Images and pictures:
- Random shots taken in London during the pandemic (2020)
- Some snaps of San Diego (2019)
Sincere condolences to those who’ve lost their parents, loved ones & family members during the pandemic. ❤️
First thing to note – I definitely don’t have all the answers.
Every family and circumstance is different.
You have to do what’s right for you. (I’m definitely not a perfect daughter).
Writing this during the pandemic, I reflect on my own relationship with my parents over the years.
I think, like most of you, I come from a relatively caring & loving family.
My parents are both modern and yet in some ways, traditional.
There were a few challenges during my late teen years to my early 20s but other than that time, for the most part, I’ve been very lucky to have such a good relationship with my parents.
They care and think for me as best as they can (given their circumstances).
They had hardships in the past and like a lot of families, they have certain expectations from their children (some of which have and haven’t been met in our case).
Speaking of expectations, let me introduce you to my mum.
I spoke to her yesterday.
On the phone.
I told her I love her. ❤️
I felt the outpour of love and care as we both talked about missing each other, news events, Corona-virus and what she and dad did that day including taking a walk in the park, etc.
Then she annoyed me by interrupting anything I had to say with a lecture on how I should think. 😂
But I love her, because unlike anyone else in my life, I care about her opinion of me to the extent that it upsets me if I dissapoint her.
I hate arguing with my mum so I’ve learnt over the years to try to keep my mouth shut!
But then she says she wants to hear my honesty. 🤷😂
Its definitely not a win win scenario and we have had all sorts of colourful arguments. 😂
I left home at 20 and I remember crying near my dad’s bedside that night as I woke him up to say good night before my early morning flight to the States.
Having left my parents so young, I deeply missed them, living in California for 13 years.
I came back every year for about 10 days to visit my parents. This time was really was never enough, leaving me to wear my sunglasses on the plane all the way from the UK to California, hiding my tears from other passengers. 😢✈️
For years in California, I idealised how lovely it would be to return back to the UK to see my parents more often than just once a year.
But I also held reservations because those years living in California had made me so independent!
I knew if I moved back to the UK, things might change.
I would need to keep a little distance in order to maintain my independence.
Y’see despite my age, my parents still think of me as 19, and in our culture a woman is not expected to live independently unless with a husband.
Alas, I can’t say they were proud of me after my divorce, but that’s pretty standard in most families I think? Nevertheless, I can’t blame them for thinking that way about me.
Despite my divorce, they still loved me!
Although I loved living in the US, I got tired of not being able to see these incredible people who still loved me no matter what!
When I first came back to the UK, I was in heaven for the first six months being back in the city I love!
Combined with this, I was able to take transport and in just two hours, I could see my parents! Compared to a 13 hour flight, this was simple, breezy and less costly! 🤗
I saw them once a month for a day and I loved it!
I still love the fact that my parents are only two hours away from me, but unfortunately my monthly day time visits were not enough for them and they started asking me to stay overnight and visit often.
Once I stayed overnight, that suddenly also wasn’t enough as they wanted me to stay with them for a few days more often.
Then a few days with more costly train tickets, that wasn’t enough. This would then turn into a guilt trip about why I wouldn’t live with them permanently, and so on.
Needless to say, they definitely vocalised that I don’t see them enough or do enough. We would squabble and fight as a family which I found exhausting. 🤦
I realised one year, that meeting parents should never be this stressful so I decided to take a break one Christmas season, especially as I didn’t feel I made a positive difference being with them, as we always seemed to argue and bicker.
During this time, I realised that over the 13 years I was away from the UK, my parents had changed a lot or perhaps it was me.
During those years we developed different expectations from one and other and again, perhaps it was just me.
When I was in the US, I changed into this person who wanted to spend “quality” time with my parents and get to know them as people – treat them to lunch, dinner or meet them for a nice day out at the museum or go for walks and enjoy the sights!
This was what I wished for more than anything, and I really tried this when I came back to the UK.
(My parents didn’t seem to enjoy “that type of time” or found some nitpicky comment on what they didn’t like about visiting me in London which was disheartening and annoying. 🤷)
The reality was that they wanted to spend a “quantity” of time with me in their home on their terms only, with domestic and daily squabbles.
(Lots of bickering and “we need to clean”, “this is how everything should be done”, “let’s talk about property”….or even the dreaded subject of “why aren’t you married?”. 🤷 )
They wanted me to be that little girl who lives at home with them and agrees with their opinions all the time 100%. Unfortunately I can’t be that girl.
I like my laundry and cleaning done a certain way.
After work, I need quiet “me” time to read/watch/excercise as I please, without criticism or questions.
I like routine. I plan things as much as I can.
I like to enjoy my weekends with quality, non-stressful and a non-bickering way of life.
They live very differently from me and have different priorities.
And then there’s the expectations for me to give them grandchildren. They already have a few so wanting more is just…well ..greedy! 😂
Now it has come to a point that my life is not as significant to them as it would be if I gave them grandchildren.
(Their life involves seeing their grandchildren which understandably for them is a highlight – this is what makes them motivated and excited).
They may not realise this but my presence is merely an example of failure or non-existence as a woman in their eyes (most likely) 😆.
Despite all of this, I never feel like a failure. I’m pretty strong minded and confident in who I am but I need a break from that atmosphere, where the only thing that matters in life is grandchildren and “who is married” or who “so and so is and what they do”, gossip gossip, etc.
However, with that being said, I feel I need to see my parents from time to time in order to feel “whole” again and…to make sure they know, I love them very much!
Yes they drive me bonkers and yes they have completely strange habits to me, but I’m sure they see me in the same light – difficult, argumentative, annoying. 😂
I know not all families are the same and some people might be very justified in never seeing their parents (especially if the parents are destructive or abusive). I’m very grateful to my parents and feel lucky as I know not all families are as caring as mine.
On the other hand I know some parents who are really supportive to their daughters and love to spend that “quality” time with them without the bickering.
Perfect or not – my parents are who they are and I would never trade them for anyone else…even millionaires! 😂🤷
Since the pandemic I haven’t seen them, as I worry they might be exposed to my “Londoner” germs. I miss them a lot at this time.
I’ve enjoyed the pandemic in some ways because my health has been better with less stress from not arguing and staying with them. 😆
Putting the pandemic aside, I do think seeing my parents over the years has been good for me.
After all, I couldn’t be the woman I am without them. They have taught me so much about myself and what I want out of life.
I’m grateful for whatever they have taught and given me and they are the most generous people I know.
As I said earlier, I can’t advise others because every family is different.
Plus we all go through phases with families too – I know I do and I’m certainly not a perfect daughter.
However we don’t know how long we’re here for.
So (depending on circumstances as every family is different) it might be worth your while to make time for them, if you can and if you are able to.
I realise that it can be difficult to get on with parents for many people, but ultimately you should have no regrets in life! (I say this as someone who has had some rocky times with my parents).
Apparently we all end up becoming just like our parents! 🤦😂
So if you can, speak with your heart and tell them with sincerity that you love them.❤️
They are after all, a part of you! 🙂