Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published several times a month.

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, "Dear Bro Jo" is not an LDS Church website. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

Nothing here is meant to take the place of talking with parents, leaders, or Church authorities. Please, if you need serious help, talk to a trusted adult, leader, and / or professional counselor.

Please like our Facebook page, and check it often for Discussions, Notes, Events and just General Good Stuff!

Everything here is copyrighted. If you're going to quote any part of anything here, please get Bro Jo's written permission. You can reach him at

Friday, July 25, 2014

Becoming Your Own Person

Dear Bro Jo,

Unlike most Mormons I didn't go to BYU or BYU-I, I ended up going to a small Catholic university close to home. I can say that it has not been easy.

My parents don't want me to live on campus because they don't feel that it would be a safe environment.

So I have been living at home and commuting every day.

This has caused a couple problems.

1) My social life is basically non-existent because it is a 45 minute drive from home to school and because my mom wants constant updates about where I am and who I am with. I understand that she wants to make sure that I am safe, but it's a little much sometimes. I always have to get her approval to stay for something. I can't just text her and say I'm doing this and I'll be home later.

2) I have found it hard to make friends because everyone just wants to go out and party. I have a few friends from my major, but it's not like they are inviting me to hang out with them. I often feel very lonely.

3) Out of the few friends I do have, I have one great guy friend that is basically the only one who ever invites me to hang out. But my mom does not like him. She thinks that he is telling me that I don't have to listen to her because I'm 18 etc. That is only somewhat true, he was like that at first, but I explained to him that my mom is concerned about me and I need to keep her updated. So now he knows that I have to ask my mom first. This often causes me and my mom to argue.

4) My mom promised that since I was staying at home for college that she would give me more freedom and that I wouldn't have to do as much around the house so I could focus on school work. That promise has not really been fulfilled. Like I said before I can't even leave the house without telling my mom where I'm going, who I will be with and how long I will be gone. I'm okay with telling my mom all of that, but I'm not okay with having to get permission to go out.

I'm 18, shouldn't I be able to tell my mom that I'm going out and not have to ask if I can go out?

Especially since she promised that that's the way it would be.

Whenever I try and bring this up she always gets mad at me.

I tell her that if I had chosen to go to BYU-I (I was planning on going there, but plans changed) instead of the school I'm at now that I wouldn't have to inform her about every little detail of my life.

As for helping out around the house, that has not changed . . . I should tell you a little about my family.

My parents have adopted 8 kids, which turned our family of 7 into a family of 15.

For the last 5 or so years, I have been the main helper around the house.

My older sisters could always find ways to get out of helping.

Now back to today.

My mom said that I wouldn't have to help with the kids so much so I would be able to focus on my school work.

Yeah not so much. 4 out of 5 days I'm not home until 6 or 7, but I am still roped into getting kids in pjs, helping with homework, bathing, and getting them in bed.

Getting 8 kids ready for bed is no easy task, but we get done with it around 8:15 or so.

After this I usually have dinner and then it's time for homework before I go to bed between 10:30 and 11. 

More often then not, my mom asks me to help clean up the house.

So this means that I'm not free to do homework until almost 10 and by then I'm exhausted.

I try to get as much homework done during my breaks between classes, but I still have a lot when I get home.

When I try to talk to my mom about it she says that I barely do anything and that she and my dad do everything.

I don't know what to do.

I realize that this is a lot to take in, but these problems are making me think about moving up to campus (which is very expensive) or transferring to BYU.

I don't want to leave my current school, but I'm just getting so stressed out with everything that it's really hard to like staying here.

I could really use your advice.

- Stressed Out Commuter

Dear Stressed,

Look, I need to let you know that your email caught me in a particularly ornery mood . . . I don't think my advice on this is going to change, but it might come out more harshly than usual.

For that I apologize.

I think you need to start acting like the adult you are.

It's time to be your own person.

Take responsibility for your own life and your own education.

Transfer to the Y.

Get scholarships.

Get a job.

Support yourself.

Hug and kiss your parents.

Tell them you love them.

Then move away and become your own woman.

Your parents are the ones that adopted all of the kids, not you.

It's not your job to raise them.

Now is the time in your life when you need to find and make your own way.

If you're going to live at home, then commit to that choice and live that life.

But if you're as stressed out as you say, I think it's time to go.

- Bro Jo

PS:  For the record, "most" Mormons do not go to the Y OR the Y of I.

1 comment:

J-Dawg Fluffy said...

In her defense, sometimes it's not financially feasible to up and move. I had to wait a year between when I applied to BYUI and when I actually enrolled because my parents weren't willing to help me in any way, and I could not afford it on my own, because at 23 I would have been "dependant" on my FASFA, so my EFC would have been over the COA, making me ineligible for financial aid. It suck when things like that happen. I was working two jobs (3 at one point for about 2 months) but I couldn't get the money needed. After I turned 24, however, I was able to apply for financial aid as independant and got all the financial aid needed. It was all for the better, because I would have never gotten together with the woman to whom I am now married had I moved to Idaho when I first intended to.

That said, it's also very possible that she has the ability to go to another school and just isn't willing to stick her head out.