The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:
I’m a part-time worker in my 50s. I was proud of my daughter, but I’m not happy about how she lives a low-key life.
She is in her 20s and has had a beautiful figure since she was very young. She did very well at school, too. After graduating from a prestigious university, she started working at a large company.
However, she left the company about three years ago. Now she works part-time, and can’t even afford to pay her national pension premiums.
She lives happily and exercises as her hobby, but I have mixed feelings about her as her mother.
When she got the job after graduation, I felt as if a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders because the health of my husband, who later died, was bad at that time.
She had a boyfriend then, and his appearance and academic background left nothing to be desired.
I expected they would marry in the near future, but they have apparently broken up, although I don’t know when.
I try not to interfere with her current lifestyle very much. But considering I have taken so much care of my daughter so far, I have come to feel empty. She seems to want to quit working part-time and make a new start. How should I handle her?
U, Fukuoka Prefecture
Dear Ms. U:
You are well aware that children aren’t born only so their parents can brag about them. But you seem to expect your daughter to be this and that. In fact, she has been your pride and joy since she was very young. However, she drastically changed and now can’t even afford to pay her own national pension premiums. So, you can’t accept this situation.
But think about it more carefully.
I don’t know what happened to her, but she left the large company she had worked for and broke up with her boyfriend. So she must be the one who is most shocked about these things. It seems to me she makes efforts to look happy so as not to worry you as her mother. I think she is the one who feels upset to live the way she does now considering how much money her parents spent to raise her.
You also could think: My daughter is now in the middle of a break in her long life. If she is talented, people around her will notice it and won’t leave her as she is. Sooner or later, she’ll find a job and a boyfriend suited to her.
As her mother, maybe you should tell her you wish her happiness whatever happens to her and warmly watch over her until the time comes for her to find work and love again.
Masahiro Yamada, professor
(from Feb. 23, 2015, issue)