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My parents came for a rare visit last weekend. It was an OK time, though I always feel quite judged when under the eye of my parents. I’m old enough and independent enough that I should just get over it by now, right? Right. I think I’m getting better at it, but it is still a challenge to have no reaction when someone tells you that they feel that you are not only doing wrong by yourself, but by your kid as well.

My parents are big on “surface harmony”. Everyone getting along, smiling, laughing, having a gay old time. It’s not until they have gone back home and have assessed our time together that they decide to regale me with their report on how they felt the weekend–and my life–went and is going.

On this occasion, my mother felt the need to list all of the things she felt were problematic in my life today. According to her, there are many danger spots, some of which are out of my control, but problems nonetheless, and how I need to be more careful about letting these bad things occur and not expose my kid to them because clearly, they are affecting her in a negative manner and if I don’t watch out, it will get worse. So what am I going to do about these things?

Parents mean well. I have to remember this. I repeat it like a mantra. My other mantra is that I’m a grown-up and this is my life. Other people’s perceptions of my problems are just that–their perception, based on a sliver of observation and through the lens of their own experience. Don’t take other people’s shit on as your own.

My mother’s…advice? was not helpful at all. In fact, it was wholly unhelpful in that it created problems where none existed before. Who needs more problems? Not me. Give me surmountable challenges, sure, but telling me all the ways you feel I am failing? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

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