Tuesday, May 13, 2014

We Love You, Now Grow the @!%# Up!

Congratulations. Class of 2014.

This is for my son, Taylor, as he graduates college. 

You’ve been expensive.  Expensive to feed, clothe, house, entertain, and educate.  We don’t dare estimate what we’ve spent preparing to launch you, especially the education part. 

15 years of independent school tuition, 2 years of Pre-Kindergarten because Mrs. Ezzo said you were not mature enough for Kindergarten.  Turns out, Mrs. Ezzo was a genius.  Then there was your college tuition.    

As you venture into the world and embark on your journey of independent adulthood, here’s what we would consider payback:

Support yourself.  Get a job.  You might need two or three jobs.  You may not like your job or your boss, the work might be boring, but that’s okay.  It’s just a job and you can’t support yourself without a job. 

So get a job, keep it, and don’t waste a lot of energy complaining about it.  Focus on the parts of the job you like and realize that you may not be happy every day at work.  Having a roof over your head and food in your belly are reasons to smile.  So slap on a smile, pull up your boots, and get on with it!

If you decide you want to do something different, or need to make more money, then look for a new job, but don’t ever quit your job before you have another one, unless your life is in danger, actually. 
Also, remember how you would call my semi-monthly deposits for your living expenses "payday?"  That was cute.  Well, your "real" payday won't be deposited a day early because you only have $2 left, and you won't get any extra for holidays.  Sorry.

Be a good employee.  Get to work on time, dress appropriately and wear clean clothes, don’t waste the company’s time or resources, and be respectful to everybody with whom you work.  No texting (unless it's me), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr when you should be working.

Don’t call in sick unless you are really sick.  The number of alleged illnesses and deaths of extended family members you suffered in college was truly unbelievable, and your professors did not believe you.  However, while they could not fire you for missing class, your boss can fire you for missing work.  

Never drink alcohol at lunch and don’t share too much personal information.  Trust me, nobody will be impressed that you have watched every Family Guy episode at least 10 times, although Daddy and I are super proud of that accomplishment.

Sadly, your weekday afternoon naps are a thing of the past.  
Work hard.  If you work hard you will get results. 

Don’t believe the hype that there are no opportunities for your generation, so what’s the point?  The point is that we live in a great country and there are opportunities, but you must seek them out, and make the most of them. 

Your parents come from very humble backgrounds.  Your Dad grew up with 9 people in a row home with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.  That he paid 100% of your education is one of the proudest accomplishments of his life.  He works hard.

Please trust us on this one, work hard and we promise you it will pay off.  It will not be immediate, but hard work does have its rewards, and you’ll feel good about your accomplishments.  Keep in mind your "rewards" may not all be financial in nature.

Live debt-free.  Savor the freedom of being debt-free and keep it that way.  Live on what you make and you will always have options.  

If your friends or colleagues appear to have more money to spend than you, 9 out of 10 times, they are living on credit, or their parents are funding them.  

It’s normal to struggle when you are just starting out building a career.  It’s your chance to be normal.

Don’t be afraid to say, “I can’t afford it.”  Don't care what people think. This is not easy to do, so you'll need to work hard at it, but you'll be happier if you are not always worrying about money.

You like romantic things, find the romance in being broke.   

Pay your bills.  Pay your bills on time and protect your credit.  You’ll need good credit to buy a car, a place to live, and for most jobs. 

One day late is late.  I know we had some trouble with this concept with your checking account when you would overdraw it by $1.50, and I had to convince you that any number with a “-“ sign in front of it is still negative, even if it’s a small number.  Remember, negative is negative and late is late.

Create a home for yourself.  You don’t have to live like you’re still in college until you can afford the perfect apartment or house.  Start now to create a home wherever you are living.  Keep it tidy and be a good neighbor.  Do your laundry more than quarterly and leave your “commando” days in the past.    

And, we never want to open another email from your landlord with photos of your apartment looking like a “crack house” and a bathtub that looks like a science project.  Those days are behind us, right? 

Eat well, exercise and stay healthy.  It’s time to take Dominoes off the speed dial, and to agree that Burritos are not a legitimate Food Group.  Learn how to cook a few good things and eat at home as much as possible.  Cereal can be a legitimate dinner if it’s not Lucky Charms.

Make exercise a part of your lifestyle.  Believe us, the weight just creeps up on you, and suddenly you are overweight.  Don’t wait until you’re 50 years old and need to take all sorts of medications because of your weight. 

Stay healthy, it’s cheaper and a better way to go through life.

Live a tattoo-free life.  If you are considering a tattoo, promise to talk to us and then wait 30 days after our conversation before your final decision.

If you do go ahead with the “I Love Mom” tattoo just make sure it’s someplace where you can cover it up.

Always pursue your passion.  If you can make a living doing what you love, that’s great.  If you can’t, still pursue your passion on a part-time basis.  

If you put the work in you’ll end up where you’re supposed to get.

Have fun.  You can still have a lot of fun as an independent adult.  We still do.  You can even still observe "Thirsty Thursday," but know that Friday mornings will roll around earlier than they did in college.  

Be happy.  It’s your responsibility.  

Remember the motto your Nanny lived by, “If you’re not happy, get happy.”

Sorry if this sounds like a lot of nagging, and if you find some of this information so completely obvious.  It made me feel better to know I’ve said it to you.  It's my "helicopter parent" swan song.

You won’t get it right all the time and you’ll make mistakes.  That’s normal.  Just learn from your mistakes and move forward, and remember to ask for help when you need it.  

Congratulations on graduating from college, that is a very big accomplishment and something for which you should be proud. Remember how you feel as you graduate; it feels good to work hard for something and to achieve success.

Good luck.  You make us proud.  We have faith in you.  We love you!

Please don't ask for any more money.  Seriously. 

Mom and Dad


  1. I came across your blog through a mutual friend. This posting was brilliant and I have shared it with all my friends. Keep writing.

  2. Thanks, Ariadne. I'm happy you enjoyed it and you can like my page on Facebook to see future blogs. Come On, That Was Funny! Patti