“Hey, Mom!” Series Part 3
Edited by Marissa Glover
Editor’s Note: Melissa Fenton (creator of 4 Boys Mother) has written countless articles for a very diverse audience of moms. Some of those articles have been published on the website Grown and Flown, where topics cater to parents whose children have grown up and left home. Melissa knows what this feels like, and many of her readers do too. But what are the grown-and-flown children feeling? What’s leaving home been like for them?
Each day this week, we will post an article written by a current college student. These students were recently asked, “If you could tell your mom anything at all, what would you want her to know about you or your life?” These articles are their answers and offer moms a different perspective–a chance to see the world through your college-aged child’s eyes.
What I Would Tell My Mom, If Only She’d Listen
by Natalia Figueroa, 20, Junior
I know I have gained weight since I went away for college, and I know I don’t weigh the same as you did when you were my age. Sorry.
I know that you mean well. And I know that you are just trying to look out for me, but sometimes the things you say really hurt me. Every time I go home, I feel pressured to look as skinny as I can look. Sometimes I try so hard to look the way you want me to that I don’t even feel like myself. The main topic is always how much weight I have gained or how much weight I have lost. How do you expect me to feel when the minute I come back from college all I hear is “You need to start exercising;” “You need to do something about your weight;” “You have to control what you eat”?
I know you probably think that I’m just a college student and that I haven’t lived in the “real world,” as you call it. You think that my life is simple and easy—that I don’t have things to worry about. You always say that there is nothing to be worried about at twenty. But you know what? I do have fears. I do have worries. I do struggle. My mind is constantly rushing as I try to make everyone around me happy. I have anxiety. I stress out. And you know what? Sometimes I eat my feelings.
As a college student, it is hard for me to manage my time. I want to do everything at the same time, and I usually feel like I don’t have time to even breathe. I have homework to do, tests to study for, a room to organize and clean, laundry to wash, and a social life to keep active. I didn’t go to college just to study. I want to make friends; I want to meet new people.
I am trying to make these four years as memorable as I can, because after graduation I will have a job and financial responsibilities for the rest of my life. I want to enjoy my time as a college student, and that means I don’t always have time to work out or diet.
Mom, even though we are extremely close, we are not the same person. Please don’t expect me to be the same weight as you when you were my age—we are two different people. We don’t have the same body type; we don’t have the same digestive system; and we certainly don’t have the same eating habits.
You always tell me that I shouldn’t eat dinner because you don’t get hungry at night. But you know what, Mom? I do get hungry at night, and I want to eat dinner. My body is not a reflection of you, and what I eat isn’t really your business. I get tired telling you what I had for lunch or for dinner. I like salads, but I hate feeling pressured to eat them. I want to eat what I want to eat. I want to drink what I want to drink. And I want to be me without feeling pressure to be someone else.
I know you want me to stand out from my family members; I know you have your doubts when it comes to my future. But I want you to have faith in me and believe in me. I am working as hard as I can to make you proud. Every time I go to class, all I think about is trying my hardest so that I don’t let you down.
I appreciate that you worry about me, but you don’t have to. I know what is best for me, even when you don’t agree. I realize that you want me to be happy, but you need to let me decide what will make me happy.
If you ever find yourself wondering if I’m doing okay, just remember that I was raised by my best friend and the strongest woman I know—you. Te amo, Mamá.