How to deal with my mom?


Hello, I am hoping you all can give me some advice about how to deal with my mom. But first some background… I am 22 and have been married for just over 9 months. My husband and I are graduate students and will complete our masters’ degrees in a year. Currently we work as graduate assistants at our school and we make enough to just squeak by. But hopefully after we graduate we will be able to get jobs that have decent pay (my husband is getting his master’s in architecture and I’m getting mine in public health). Currently we are postponing pregnancy using NFP. However, we are hoping that after we graduate we would be in a in a better situation to start a family.

Well… my mom always wanted me to be a physician. For the past 4 years I have been telling her that I do not feel it is for me, but she just breaks down crying hysterically when I tell her this. My mom’s number one goal is for me to be successful, and in her mind the only way to be successful is to be a “professional.” I am actually interested in conducting research and am trying to figure out if my masters degree will allow me to do the work I want to do or if I should pursue a PhD, but I am currently tired of school and after I graduate I would like to work for a while/ or if we are able I want to start a family! :smiley:

My mom says that I promised her (when I got engaged, 2 years ago) that I would complete a MD or PhD before I started having children. When I tell her my current plans of starting to having children in the next few years, she breaks down crying hysterically and says that I was lying to her and my dad and that my word means nothing to them, etc. I know this is not here decision, and that my husband and I have to prayerfully decide when we should have children, but it makes me so sad and so angry that she acts this way.

I guess I am just venting and looking for support for how to deal with my mom. Is there any book I should give to her? I have had to teach my parents about why contraception is wrong and my mom is finally coming around to NFP… but I think she still approaches NFP with a contraceptive mindset.

This issue really weighs on me and I’m just looking for some help.



Wow, I can’t wait for my daughters to get married and start giving me grandbabies. One of my daughter’'s is getting her MA in August…and hopefully will be engaged around the same time. The other is 23 and beginning her MBA studies in September and also plans to be engaged soon. I would be so happy if they started having babies…even if it meant putting off their studies or careers. I had my babies before starting my MA and now I have a doctorate…but I really want grandbabies. I will keep you in prayer. Good luck in finishing your studies.


I sure wouldn’t let my mother have hysterical fits when I tell her of my plans. Walk out of the room when she starts carrying on.


Hi! I’m so sorry you are dealing with this! I know how tough it can be because I have a very similar situation. I’m 25 and taught high school for 2 years after graduating with a BA. I’m now a stay at home mom to my son who is 9 mos. old. When I told my mom I was pregnant (3 mos. after getting married) she seemed shocked, and I got the feeling that she was disappointed in me-- and she did say that she always thought I’d go through grad school etc. before starting a family. Truth be told, so did I. But my husband and I felt strongly that we were being called to be open to starting a family, and we now have an amazing son! My point in telling you this is that I am blown away by how much my mom adores her grandson. It’s crazy :slight_smile: She is totally in love, and neither of us expected it. So I’m guessing that your mom might have no idea what it will be like to have a grandchild. It may surprise her as it surprised my mom!

It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job of witnessing your faith to your family. I always get tongue tied :frowning: That will help your mom b/c at least she won’t be surprised. She will at least understand why you are making the decisions you are. Continue to pray for wisdom and courage to do God’s will. Also, Kimberly Hahn’s book Life-Giving Love is really good, but you should read it first and decide if your mom would be open to it.

Best wishes :slight_smile:


CCC 2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them - quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family.

you sought mom’s counsel, you didn’t get it. instead you got a heap of hysteria. hysteria isn’t judicious advice. you move on from here ***accepting ***that your mom doesn’t understand her role as mother of a sacramentally married adult woman.


Sounds like Mom might be trying to force you to live her own dream, that she didn’t for whatever reason. That may explain her irrationality.

I agree with the PP who said don’t let her do that to you. Next time she starts into a fit, just tell her you will not allow her to emotionally blackmail you anymore, and leave. Do this EVERY time she goes into the crying. If you are on the phone, say, “Mom, I have to hang up now.” Then do it.

If you do not allow her the venue, you take away her power. And she is trying to exercise inappropriate power over you.


What everyone else said. Next time she does that, invite her politely to go out and get that medical degree herself. She seems to want to live her dreams through you.

Simply tell her that was your dream maybe before you got married, but you are being drawn to motherhood now, and you would want to give her grandchildren the most attention and care possible and not hand them over to others to raise while you went to school.

Something tells me her hysterical crying fits usually get her what she wants. What does your dad say?


In your marriage, 3 became one…one of those three was not your mother.


you cannot deal with your mother’s unreasonable expectations, nor with the reasons why she feels this way. you can only deal with your marriage, your family, your career, your vocation. Tell her on a day she is relatively calm that you will be happy to inform her when you make decisions about your future when it is her right to know, but if she overreacts and starts telling you what to do, that communication will end, and you will be talking only about the weather from that point on. having said that stick with it.

the person to discuss your future plans with and make decisions with is your husband. Parents should not be involved unless and until you mutually agree to ask specific advice on a specific topic: getting a mortgage for instance.


Script for mom’s fits:

“Mom, I see you are really upset right now. Let’s put this conversation on hold and come back to it at a better time.”

Whether or not a “better time” ever comes will be a matter of judgment.

Heck: an MPH is a mighty FINE professional degree. You go, Girl!


mercygate’s suggestion for wording is perfect.


:thumbsup: Agree 100%. My mom tried to relive some of her dreams through me too…


Dead on.

Agree. This is really none of your mother’s business. You are a married woman and this is you and your husband’s decision. You are not requesting input and you are behaving morally. You have told her repeatedly that your plans have changed. Your mother is stepping over the line big time.

What mercygate said. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Medical Education: These days the average debt for a graduating medical student is about $140K. That doesn’t count the debts accrued for things like a house and car. Deferred undergraduate loans start coming due during Residency – not a high-bucks earning period. Even successful physicians often cannot clear their educational debts until well past their 40th birthday.

Under the best of conditions, the practice of medicine is a high-pressure profession. Add to that the fact that third-party payers are getting stingier and stingier, and the practice of medicine becomes a stress-filled day-to-day struggle with the pressing needs of patients pitted against the fiscal realities of life today.

If I were your mom, I would be very gratified to see you choosing a solid, public-minded career that is not fraught with these pressures that can brutalize marriage and family life.


Thank you for all your comments. I will try to implement some of the conversation techniques you all suggested.

Usually I don’t bring these topics up with my mom because I know how she will react, but sometimes the topic slips out. For example, this last one happened yesterday, I was going to the doctor for a soar through and I told my mom, and she said remember to be careful what medicines they prescribe because you could become pregnant (she does not trust NFP)… but still this is good advice, because it is true I could become pregnant and I would want to give my child the best chance to be healthy. And then she says “but hopefully it won’t be for 6 plus years before you get pregnant.” And I say, "mom, hopefully it won’t be that long, maybe more like 1-2 years, "… and there she goes down the crying and hysteria… the “you promised you would get a MD or PhD”. Then, I tried to explain to her that I feel a calling to motherhood and that as a married woman I should not be “putting off” having children unless we have just reason. She gets more upset and then hangs up on me!

So in this situation, she ends the conversation on me, and I am the “bad daughter”… :frowning:

So I will try instead the way you all suggested, hopefully it will work better.

Yes, I agree that much of this stems from her trying to live her life through me, though she will never admit it.

God bless you all! :slight_smile:


Something tells me her hysterical crying fits usually get her what she wants. What does your dad say?

You are right, she does get her way a lot… and she does the same thing with my dad. My dad is the opposite; he is very calm and logical. But he will usually agree with her, because if he does not then things start to get much worse. But in private I have talked to my dad a few times, and he says that as long as I live my life in an honest and good way then he is happy for me. He says I have to do what’s best for me, not necessarily what my mom wants me to do.

Heck: an MPH is a mighty FINE professional degree. You go, Girl!

Aww… thank you! :slight_smile: I think it’s good career path (but my mom sure does scare me into thinking that we will be destitute if I’m not a MD), I currently work on research that looks at ways to prevent birth defects by finding ways to change ones diet and environmental exposures, so I think it is meaningful work… but to my mom if I’m not a physician then it’s not really helping people.


Hey, I used to be premed and gave it up simply because it really wasn’t my dream. I’m glad you’re living your dreams, not allowing your mom to live vicariously through you.

You didn’t give “your word”, you changed your plans. You’re allowed to do that:) And you’ve finished school, are married, and working on your Master’s. Your life is yours, not your mom’s and if she can’t handle that her daughter is now an adult and has dreams of her own family, that’s really sad. She should want you to fulfill God’s purpose for you and be happy, not do something that you really don’t want to do.

By the way, public health is an AWESOME field to get into. One of my friends is currently getting a degree in it (even designed her own major for it) and another has hers in International Relations and has taken a lot of classes in public health, with the hope of doing something with it. God bless!


Ditto on all the other advice on how to handle it. I have some conversation topics that really need to be avoided with my mother, but for some reason, they often slip out anyway. I know I could probably do better at avoiding them, but I guess there’s a big enough part of me that wants to be closer to my mom, that I end up letting myself share information that ends up leading to unpleasantness. Tough lesson to learn.

Meanwhile, when your mom gives you the “you promised me” line, if you’re not ready to stop the conversation and walk out of the room, you might say to her: “You’re right Mom, I did promise you that. And I owe you an apology. I never should have made a promise like that to you.” The ideas is that rather than try to convince her of why your current direction in life is a valid one, you should address the tactic that she brought up - the promise. Because ultimately that is the problem here. At some point in the past, she had you more under her thumb (or at least she thought she did) than a mother should have with her child. Now things have changed, but you are still being affected by the level of control that she exerted in the past. And she can’t handle losing control over you. To her the mistake is happening now, but you know that it is the promises of the past that were the mistakes. If there is conversation to be had (and there may or may not be), it can’t hurt to point out that that is the real issue.


This thread caught my interest because it sounds like you are where I might be in a little while.

I started out aggressively pursuing an MD/JD and what it has really come down to is I am pretty discouraged by the current atmosphere of the medical field and also worried about how long the average income will continue. (Especially seeing as how insurance can take up a huge amount of your income and certain fields pay much less, such as my chosen field of neonatology.)

Anyways, what it basically comes down to is I am beginning to show interest in alternative routesm just as you decided on a MPH. Something still in that science/people category, yet not directly in the practicing medical field.

My mom had some moments of worrying that I would get married and have kids and never finish college or become a “professional.” But let me tell you that once the wedding plans got underway, she was the happiest person after me and DH. Now that a baby is on the way, she is even more exuberant. I bet things will affect your mom similarly, too.


You poor thing, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this situation. I agree with a lot of the previous posts about ending the conversation when she gets out of hand. It’s so important that you do this now so that she doesn’t feel she can continue to do this on other topics. When you have a child she may decide to tell you how to raise the kid and get hysterical if you don’t do it the way she wants. By taking care of this problem now you are saving you and your future family a lot of anguish. I’m sure this is effecting your husband too. My best friend deals with her moms disapproval on almost everything and her husband gets very upset with the whole situation. He’s almost gotten to the point of making her cease contact with her parents b/c of the effect is has on her and then their 3 kids.

I’ll be praying for you! Oh and you may want to remind your mom about how parents are supposed to have unconditional love for their children. In a sarcastic tone you may ask her if she’ll write a list of conditions on her love so you can review them for the future. :wink:



Sarcasm is totally unacceptable and unproductive. When was the last time somebody laid a sarcastic snipe at your doorstep and you responded:

“Why, thank you very much. You are so right, and I am so wrong. I don’t know how I could have been so insensitive.”

Not only is sarcasm disrespectful, it is both ineffective and exacerbatory.

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