~ Academic Monkey
This is my first year of college. So far, I love it. My friends are smart and interesting, my schedule has a lot of interesting classes in it. Things are so exciting! But we’re just in the third week and already my mom is doing weird things – like sitting in one of my classes. Seriously, I just ran into her in the back of my Earth Sciences class.
My mom is one of those volunteer moms. She was always raising money for my school, attending events and soirees, chaperoning dances and field trips. This has always annoyed me, but what could I do? She’s my mom. But now she’s showing up to campus. She has asked to volunteer with the department I am thinking about majoring in. I find her in the library or at the coffee shop near student parking. So today I went up to her and asked her to leave. I told her she was being crazy. She told me I was overreacting and then began critiquing the lecture I just had. I totally lost it and yelled at her to go away. It was so embarrassing!! I really thought this wouldn’t happen. I’m over 18 now! And my parents are an hour away from my school. But I’m the baby in the family, and my mom is really religious. I think she feels isolated in our small town. What can I do? This CANNOT continue.
Two words: Squirt Gun.
You need to train your super-clingy mom that there is a period of time in the mother/child relationship when SPACE IS CRUCIAL. It lasts from the time you move out until you are financially secure. For some people, that is a few years; for others, it becomes a way of life. But a successful transition relies on this period of independence. She has raised you. She has hovered. Time is now to let you try flying, make sure you fail a little on your own, and then when you are a fully-formed, mistakes-made and foot-sure adult, you can fly back into the coop and make her proud.
She is not getting this message so far. What is up with that?
So I propose a multi-pronged approach. It starts with a squirt gun. (warning: maybe get something that is not gun-shaped, in this day in age no one wants to trigger a campus lockdown). If she treats you like a child, act like a child. Squirt her (spray bottle??) and walk away.
More realistically, "squirt her" emotionally. Tell her that every time you see her on campus unexpected, you will not talk to her for seven days. Stick to it. Create a clear boundary. Tell her that this is your chance to take all her love and support and to make it on your own. So if she shows up, you will not speak to her, and you will not take her calls for seven days after that.
But it also sounds like your mom is a bit unhinged. I would alert campus security to her presence. As a parent, and not a student or staff or faculty member, she is trespassing on your campus. If she sits in another classroom of yours, she is trespassing and ought to be removed. Tell security now so that you can make a discreet text next time. Once escorted off, she will probably change her tune. And if she continues this ridiculous behavior, you can point to a pattern of reporting that could lead to (if necessary) a restraining order.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Start by creating clear boundaries soaked in love.
"Mom, I love you and I have been so grateful to you for your time and volunteer energy during my education. But now I have to be on my own to make sure I can swim by myself. Please do not come to campus without asking me first. If you show up unannounced, I will
Then give her a pamphlet to an animal shelter. She can volunteer and coddle the shit out of that.