Oh, yes! All your years as a mother — all the cunning you’ve developed, the subtle hints, the sneaky machinations — have led to this moment. One of your children has graduated from college.
And it’s time for him to get a job. What can you, his mother, do to speed up this process? Let me count the ways.
1) Focus on the positive and be generous. E.g., “Hey, honey! Why don’t you take the weekend off? Then you can hit the ground running on Monday.”
2) You know the life you want? Well, you have to envision it out loud. Raised voices or shouting may be necessary, at times. For instance, “You know, this fall — after you’ve been working fulltime for a few months — you’ll probably want to get your own credit card.”
3) Keep on envisioning that ideal life. Keep on shouting. For example, statements such as, “We know how you hate sponging off your parents and not being independent” can be quite effective, even when evidence to the contrary is all around you and may, in fact, be lying on the couch where it is watching Sopranos re-runs on TV.
4) Don’t make obvious comparisons (too pushy!), but don’t shy away from frequent mentions about what other kids of a similar age and educational level are doing — particularly when they’re already gainfully employed. “I know Jeff’s parents must be so proud that he’s got a great job. Yes, Jeff, the one you always thought was such a big loser in high school. He seems to have turned out quite well. Did I mention how proud his parents must be?”
5) References to how much you and your spouse have spent on college tuition and living expenses over the past four years are unseemly for at least the first few weeks of job-hunting. After that, all’s fair in love, war and parental anxieties.
6) Hide any subversive reading material that highlights recent sociological info showing that this generation of kids — the Millennials — are now called Emerging Adults and won’t be financially or emotionally independent till they’re 30. Any kind of dangerous filth like that needs to be shredded as soon as possible.
7) If you’re religious, pray for the economy to get better.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)