OF course they do… how can you even doubt that and succumb to my clickbait title?
Let’s just make it a general consensus that every single parent loves his and her children and only wants the best for them. But since I’ve got your attention now, I want to dig deeper with you on how parents act and react to their children’s working lives.
Before I begin, I want to put a disclaimer that this article is purely from my own experience and observation. Some of my views might not sit well with you and that’s entirely your right of opinion, but this is what I have been seeing in my eight years being an employer.
I also want to put a disclaimer that this is not a generalisation of all employees. It is only a story of a few that I have either heard of from other companies or have experienced myself.
Recently, a new executive joined us and she was pumped to start work. She was pleasant, she was adjusting well and all seemed good. One of her tasks that week was to be in charge of the store window display change.
If you’re familiar with retail, you’d know this has to be done after 10pm after all other stores have called it a day. We had no choice. During the interview, we told her that some days she’ll have to work late.
Not only was she fine with it, she was even excited about her new job. But the night she had to stay back to change our window display, her mom kept calling her and scolded her because she had violated her 7pm home curfew.
The team did not know how to react to this since this was the first time they had heard of a home curfew being put on a working adult. She apologised to the team but the fear of upsetting her mom overwhelmed her, so she left.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
When the manager told me this, I was not surprised. I have had many cases where parents interfere with their children’s jobs. I’ve had parents waiting outside the office after working hours for their child to finish and those who demand that their child comes home at 6pm sharp. I’ve also had a parent text me to tell me that his or her child couldn’t come to work because she was down with the flu.
I’ve also had an executive tell me her dad said her pay needs to be increased to RM8,000 a month because she’s worth that....and she was a fresh graduate.
The decision to accept a work offer is almost always the parents’ decision-- I’ve had parents wanting to be in the interview to negotiate their child’s pay. The decision to not attend a work event usually starts with “My dad said…”, and the decision to quit is always because their parents want them too.
At times like these, I feel like I’m running a nursery and children’s daycare, instead of a company of mature adults.
If you ask the parents above, I’m sure they’ll say they love their children and want them to be successful. However, I have not met one successful person who does not work hard, does not work late and comes home at 6pm because dad said so.
Life is full of challenges, late nights and hard work. If you’re an entrepreneur, issues arise daily. If you can’t overcome them, how do you expect to be successful?
There are countless articles online about parental interference and whether or not you want to believe it - it’s an issue that’s happening with millennials.
Can you blame parents? Well, if you ask me, no. Which parent can stomach seeing their child come home late and tired? Which parent does not worry about their child’s wellbeing? Whether you’re 10 or 20 or even 40, you’re always that little baby in your parents’ eyes.
Let me tell you my story. My dad is tough on me, tells me to work hard and to face challenges. “Go be that tough girl I raised you to be,” he would indirectly mean. But his love for me is undeniable. When I was living with them, he would stay up until I came home (he pretended to watch TV but Dad, that documentary on apples really wasn’t the reason you stayed up).
If it was a social event with friends that made me come home late, oh, I would get it from him. But if it was work, he never said a word – he wanted me to be successful and he never gave me the comfort of whining about how tough work is.
I’m sure it was painful for him to watch me go through career challenges, but he knew those times are the ones that will shape me to be better.
My mom? She just worries about me every day. Just yesterday, she asked me if it was necessary for me to work so hard. Bless my mom, but the answer is “Yes, ma!” Why is it a yes? Because (a) work gives me the income to survive and the harder I work, the more I will gain in the long run with promotions, increments and bonuses, and (b) I love my work and (c) because I want to be able to take care of my parents so they no longer have to work when they’re really old.
I’m not only doing this to provide for my own family, but for my parents. I don’t mind being a little uncomfortable now for a comfortable life later, for my own children and my parents.
A PARENT’S DILEMMA
Millennials who give up and listen to their parents when work gets tough think they’re doing the parents a favour by listening to them. But the truth is, if I listen to my mom who worries about me, I would be at home while she taps me lovingly to sleep.
Do I want that? Of course!
Is that the smartest decision for my future? No.
Sometimes standing up to your parents is needed because you love them and you want to be able to take care of them one day. How long are you going to ask them to support you? Wouldn’t it be nice to say “Mom and Dad, don’t pay. I got this.”?
I think parents want their children to be successful, but in the easiest path possible. Unfortunately, success doesn’t come that way. Parents are built to protect you, so it’s really up to you how you want to tackle them.
My way? I don’t tell my parents every problem I have, especially my mom because it keeps her up at night. I ask for opinion and guidance, but I never let it show in my face that I’m worried about something.
Every time I come to them, I greet them with a cheerful “Mom! Dad! I’m home!” and I give them a big smile and big kiss. Of course parents will know when you’re tired or facing a challenge, but I look at them in the eye and say “You didn’t raise a weakling” and it puts a proud smile on their faces.
I am not advocating that you disobey your parents, but I believe you should prove to them that they have a raised a resilient child who appreciates both parental affection and the value of working hard. Show your parents what you’re made of, show them they have raised a fearless and far-sighted child, that you have a strong head on those shoulders. My mom’s hands still rub my hair when I lie down on her lap while she nags about my back-to-back events, but those same hands cut out articles of my achievements in the newspapers and magazines that are a result of my hard work.
Deep down, she knows that I have to work hard to be successful and she feels guilty seeing me “suffer” so it’s my responsibility to remind her that I’m not suffering — I tell her I am building my future just like how she built hers.
And that puts a smile on her face, a smile that I want to see for the rest of my life.
Fashion Valet co-founder and 2018 Women Empowerment Year icon Vivy Yusof muses about the struggles of being a working mum and finding balance as a multi-faceted woman... in heels of course. Follow her journey at @vivyyusof and on her YouTube channel.