Please understand that I love my mom the most

And if anyone else talks smack about her they're gonna get clobbered. But Jenny and I realized last night that neither of us have told this story and it's too good to keep in.

A couple years ago we were all together at Christmas. Jen was finishing up at BYU and had switched over to some touchy-feely new Family Life major because it was the one that would get her graduated the fastest. At this point she already had one baby and didn't want to be in college for 15 years.

Understandable. I guess.


She and her classmates were being asked to help develop the major and give input about the kind of things they'd like to learn. Jen was frustrated because she wanted the program to be more academically rigorous and address some of the sociological issues associated with the family. Her classmates wanted it to be a continuation of really bad Young Women lessons--the ones where all you really learn is that children are a precious, precious gift and that to save money you should feed your family canned soup. (It's also a good way to give them scurvy. You know, if that's what you're after.)

When Jenny brought up her points and pushed for a more challenging curriculum, the other girls gave her the stink-eye. They were a bit younger than she was and lots of them just wanted to coast through to get their degree because they had zero plans of ever working. This always stuns me because to get into BYU nowadays you generally have to be quite the academic achiever. But I guess the point for those girls was just to get there and then they didn't want to work on anything but their "Mrs" degree, as it is called by old men who need a smack across the mouth.

Anyway, Jenny was venting to Mom about this while I sat nearby, reading smut and filth. Jen was saying how much she hated her new major but she needed to finish now or she never will, and she just hates being surrounded by these girls who think she's a freak for wanting to learn something that she couldn't get from her own common sense--or a trip to the grocery store. ("Guess what, girls? Canned vegetables last longer than fresh! You'll want to remember that.")

Mid-rant, Mom interrupted her and said in a very slow and serious voice, "Now Jenny, you know you have what all those other girls want. You have a husband and a baby."


Blink blink.

I had just barely lifted The Eyebrow and began to uncoil from the couch to assume Strike Position when Jenny did my freaking out for me. And since this was Jenny, it was loud and involved many words and a little bit of sputtering.

"MOOOOM! What the heck?? What does that even have to do with anything?? You can't just say crap like that!!" Etc etc.

It felt quite gratifying to have Jen come to bat for me, even though I feel bad afterwards when we've bawled out our poor sweet mom who is just trying to help.

So now whenever Jenny complains about the latest expensive thing her children have destroyed or the ways in which family life is generally sapping her soul, or cries when I tell her I'm going to Prague, I say, "Yes, but Jenny, remember. You have what Every Woman Wants."

And then she feels better. As well she should.


Jenny said... [reply]

Those girls were such freaks. Seriously. It was such a blow to my ego to be associated with such wrong thinking people.

Janssen said... [reply]

Awesome post; stupid girls. You'd hope that, at some point in the high school effort to get into BYU, you'd have picked up at least some interest in learning and such. But, alas, it doesn't seem to work that way.

And I love that you referred to it as a "touchy-feely" major

Squirrel Boy said... [reply]

Color me a bit confused. On the one hand you say these girls were obviously just there to get married and then never work real jobs. But when your mom says that these girls just want to get married, have kids, and stay home, that's not okay? I feel like I'm missing something.

Also, I think The Eyebrow should have its own label.

Joe & Jeri said... [reply]

It always amazes me that these are the girls who work so hard and do so well in high school and then give it all up the second they're in college. Do they think that return missionaries are taking resumes?

Nemesis said... [reply]

SB, it was more about my mom talking about Jenny having what every woman wants in front of me that was the issue. This was just after I'd decided to head down the path of spinsterhood, even librarianship.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Also, love the suggestion about labeling The Eyebrow. Will do.

kristen said... [reply]

I think I remember you telling me this story. Nice.

I guess I picked the wrong major. Didn't know THAT would guarantee marital bliss. (Actually, my cousin majored in that and is separated from her hubby who is addicted to PORN).

I love how your mom generalized what all women want. Good times.

I still like your mom, btw.

Squirrel Boy said... [reply]

"SB, it was more about my mom talking about Jenny having what every woman wants in front of me that was the issue. This was just after I'd decided to head down the path of spinsterhood, even librarianship."

Oh, duh. Suddenly all becomes clear.

Jér said... [reply]

I have trouble even talking to girls like that—I can't imagine ever marrying one. Even if I were straight, I mean. And yet, they do get married! It's mind-boggling.

NB: It's the "MRS" degree, not the "Mrs" degree. One way is hilarious; the other way is just completely offensive and inappropriate. :-D

chosha said... [reply]

Apologies in advance for doing the deep rant over what was actually a funny story, but I guess it touched a nerve. Maybe two.

While I would have been jumping up and spluttering at your mum basically patting your sister on the head and telling her that she was only looking for something deeper because she already had the 'husband and child' in the bag (or her completely missing the appalling lack of recognition on the part of the girls that analysing those deeper social issues might actually be of value to them if they wanted to get married), I didn't see anything offensive about your mum saying that 'women want a husband and baby' IN FRONT OF YOU.

I know that technically it's a generalisation, but DON'T most women (and men!) want those things? Don't YOU want those things? I've never seen anything in your blog to suggest otherwise.

I mean, I get angry and frustrated when people think that marriage and kids is the ONLY THING women want (or need to be happy), or assume that a single woman (especially one over 25) will automatically want to marry any guy she meets, as if a ring on her finger is an end in itself, devoid from any consideration of actual connection and common values.

But when did being modern or educated start to mean that it was somehow wrong for a woman to want (or admit wanting) fulfillment of two of humankind's most fundamental needs? In the context it was a silly comment, but is it wrong in general for your mother to say that you want something you do want, just because you don't have it right now and other woman do? Are we supposed to feel ashamed of having the same needs as everyone else, just because those needs are (at present) unfulfilled? Is being human really so embarrassing?

amyjane said... [reply]

I'm going to respond on behalf of Nem. I think all that you said was very poignant and valid, and I think Stephanie would agree with you. The point was just that she did not yet have those things and it's always awkward/painful when little sis has those things and you still don't and well-meaning relatives keep bringing it up. I think it's just one of those moments.
Kind of like that single girl whose mom wanted her to go try on wedding dresses on behalf of her younger sister who was getting married but simply too busy to try on the dresses.

abby said... [reply]

If these stupid girls really wanted a man, they should have majored in computer science, physics, or engineering. At least with the male/female ratio in their favor, they would have doubled their chances of getting what the man they wanted. Then again, they would are too stupid to figure out the statistics.

The first day in my freshman BYU ward we had to announce in RS what our goals at BYU were. Everyone of those girls said to marry a RM in the temple. I remarked I wanted to get a bachelors degree. I would have gotten one whether I married or not.

Nemesis said... [reply]

To add to what Amyjane said, a lot of it was just the sheer randomness of my sweet mom's comment. Like the reason the girls were actually upset with Jen is because they're secretly jealous of her--as all women must be.

Not that my mom was probably trying to take it that far.

Jenny said... [reply]

I'm all for getting married and having kids, but I was just surrounded by too many clueless girls without a desire to gain knowledge AT COLLEGE. And as a poor,full time student married mother of a nine month old I was horrified each day in class when the girls would say how 'fun' and 'precious' it will be mothering children. Aside from talking about making cute hairbows and themed birthday cakes they really didn't seem to be interested in marriage or motherhood prep.

Also, It was just a little ironic when my mom said that because I'm sure I smelled like baby crap or barf or both, my daughter had a cold and was fussy, eating out was when my sister took me, I was out of shape and hadn't recovered fully from having the baby and talked about the color of my daughter's bowel movements and how many hours a day she slept to people in regular conversation. And while I love being a mom, I doubt those moments are the moments when most people really envy my lifestyle. I know my sisters don't... :)

scienceteachermommy said... [reply]

When Plantboy graduated in December, half of the walking graduates were el-ed or family and human development. Hundreds of them, each trying to marry one of TEN engineering graduates.

I could also never understand the sheer waste of money (or LOANS) to got to college to not gain anything useful.

I do like chosha's comment though. Several months ago in our ward a young sister gave a farewell talk, which, unfortunately, happened to be on mother's day. As she spoke about motherhood, she expressed deep regret about not being married and couldn't understand why the Lord meant her to go on a mission instead. It was the "instead" that was so disturbing. Who said she was making a choice? And if that was her attitude, she'd be better off staying at home on the man-hunt than ruining some companion's life.

I guess I think the circumstances of our lives are primarily a product of our choices, but sometimes they are just, well, circumstances. While, admittedly, mothers should be highly sensitive to their children, I doubt that if Mr. Right came along tomorrow (or next year or ten years from now) you would turn him down for a life of great travel benefits and supreme independence. The glorious choice you have made, Nem, is to find happiness in the circumstance that others would see as less than ideal.

One question: What was the smut? It sounds like a great book.

Okay, two questions, did Amyjane REALLY know a mother who did that? Very nurturing. Kudos, mom.

Nemesis said... [reply]

STM, very well-said by you. And I don't remember what the smut was. It was probably a tame piece of YA fiction but "smut" sounded better.

And oh my yes, we know the mom who did this. I wrote a blog post about it, which you can read here.

Azúcar said... [reply]

It's true: my life is sunshine and moonbeams. Sometimes it's hard to contain all that happiness and joy.

I majored in History. I can't tell you how many times I was asked, "Oh, History Teaching?" NO. NOT History Teaching. Is it shocking and inconceivable that I'd major in something that was not intended to send me straight into a classroom? Then again, I happened upon my MRS, I didn't go seeking it out.

Azúcar said... [reply]

p.s. I graduated after getting married and before my husband did. Why? Because I was going to graduate and make something of myself with or without him. Why? Because I am Right Thinking.

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