The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

The most aggravating thing happened today! I went to this short film thingy that I'm an extra in. I went in the building and for some reason my mom went with me! Then she kept talking to me, and I was thinking "This is so embarrassing!" The she asked me the most embarrassing question in a room full of people! She said "See the girls here? Are any of the ones the girls you like?" This question really got me annoyed, so I said "Mom!" and left the building!

I was almost definitely sure what she said was weird, so I asked two of the girls from my school and one guy. The guy said yea, that's embarrassing and told me about a time his mom did something embarrassing. The girls chuckled, and I said "What, don't your parents ever do anything like that?" And they said "No, because our parents are normal!" (These girls are my friends.)

Going home later that day I told my mom what the girls said, and she got totally mad saying, "Oh what a load of rubbish! I was whispering, and I thought you were mature! Apparently you aren't mature like I thought you were because I've been treating you like an older person and not I'm going back to my original ways." (The even more embarrassing ways!) I tried to tell her it's not normal, but she kept on about the maturity stuff!

Once before a school play she put her makeup on me, She said I needed to wear makeup on the day of the school play, so I'm just testing what makeup I have that works on you! Then she told me she was sure that everyone was going to have makeup on them from their parents! My brother was able to wash it off. I tried for a long time thought I had gotten it off. Guess what! People saw makeup on my face! I hid for the entire play when people asked me, "Are you wearing makeup?"

What do I do? Seriously, this is horrible. It's been like this for the last few months. It's been worse than ever! I don't wish to change her, but I wish she could understand what she's making me go through. I mean it must be pretty bad if I'm asking for help over the Internet!


Answer

A part of the difficulty of changing so rapidly from a child to an adult is that you want some stability where you feel like you fit in with others. Parents have had years of practice being comfortable with who they are. It doesn't bother most adults nearly so much that someone thinks they don't fit in.

Next, you need to add in that your mother, being female, doesn't think the way you do or sees the world the same way you do. She's raising boys, but it doesn't follow that she always understands what makes boys tick.

My guess is that your mom was bored and was trying to strike up a conversation with you. She figured that being a teenage boy you were interested in girls, but she didn't count on it not being the time or place for such a conversation. She thought that keeping it quiet would make it all right. Of course it wasn't all right for you because you found it an embarrassing topic and was certain others would notice your embarrassment too.

It is what happened with the makeup as well. Your mom grew up wearing makeup. She sees it as no big deal to her. However, she wasn't seeing it through a boy's view that makeup isn't manly and that it would make you the target of harassment. Like many people, your mom figures if it wouldn't embarrass her, then it can't embarrass anyone else. (By the way, if you ever have to get makeup off again, you need an oil-based cleanser. Soap and water just doesn't work.)

You won't be able to change your mother, but you can help her become more aware of your view. When she picks an embarrassing topic at the wrong time, walking off won't give you a clue. You need to say, "Mom, can we find something else to talk about, something more neutral? I don't want to look embarrassed in front of other people." Or in the case of the makeup, "The director did not mention wanting us to wear makeup. I have enough on my mind with the play. I don't want to add becoming a target for taunts because the other guys won't understand. But I do appreciate you thinking about me." Neither of these comments belittle your mother, but they do explain how you see what is happening.

When she insists on coming with you, tell her "I appreciate your support and being there for me, but others are going to think that I can't be independent if you are always at my side. I would like you there, but can we find a way that I can have a little space?"

Your mother is still going to have a hard time understanding. She is still going to do and say things that you'll find embarrassing. When it happens, don't take it personally. You aren't the one doing it. Just smile and say, "Parents can be so embarrassing at times, but you got to love them."