Mailbag: My Mom Hates My Sorority


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I don’t know how to make a mailbag submission so I’m just guessing but yeah.

Nobody in my family has ever been in a sorority, and a majority of my family are against Greek life because of what they see in the media. I go to a school where Greek life is so big, that almost half of the student population is involved, and I’ve wanted to be in a sorority since I was like 14. My mom tried really hard to talk me out of going through recruitment, but I went through with it and found a sorority that I love.

My mom is embarrassed and ashamed of my affiliation and doesn’t want her friends or my aunts or uncles to know about it. For example, I tagged her in a Mom’s Weekend photo and she removed the tag immediately. Also, she’s fine with me wearing my letters just chilling around the house, but if someone’s coming over or we’re going in public somewhere she insists that I change into something else. I pay my own dues, but she tries to manipulate me into disaffiliating by saying that I need to use that money for my tuition, even though that isn’t an issue for my family. My sisters and my sorority are such a huge part of my life and who I am that it really hurts my feelings that she has such a negative view. What can I do to help her see how much I love it, and that she should be happy that I found a place I can be myself and enjoy in the bonds of sisterhood?


Dear A,

First of all, for you and anyone else out there, to submit a mailbag you just email us. It’s that simple. Now, on to things more complicated than emails and sent messages. When I joined Greek life, my parents weren’t about it either. They were so not about it, in fact, that once I decided to go against their wishes and go through recruitment, I was told that not only would I have to pay for the sorority, but also for my education. Yay me, right?

The “smart” thing to do would have been to cut the shit, sit down with them, and figure it out. But I was nineteen, I was itching for friends, and I wanted to be Greek more than anything. So I said “to hell” with their rules, took out some loans and rushed anyway.

Now, in their defense, they weren’t paying for college to begin with. I was still taking out loans like I always had, but now I needed a job to supplement the money that I was no longer getting from them.

So what did I do? I got my big, my bid, and my sisterhood and I made the best of it. My parents didn’t care about family weekend. I never got to gush about my Greek little. If my sorority ever came up in conversation at home, it was always to poke fun at it, never to support it. So what did I do? I got a career centered 100 percent around Greek life and got them to eat their words. Karma, bitches.

But it took years. And it’s obviously not the common route. So here’s how to handle having a parent who doesn’t ~love~ Greek life.

First, show them all of the good things you do. From volunteering to making friends, make your mom see all of the benefits of being Greek — not just the cute pictures and drinking events. Most likely she just doesn’t understand what it’s all about. If you’re not Greek, you won’t. From the outside looking in, you know? Instead of trying to thrust it upon her, try to ease her into it. Instead of calling a girl your “sister” call her your friend. Maybe invite your little (who is also just your “friend” in this situation) to visit your home over break. Let your mom see these girls as people and not just letters.

But say you did that. You don’t thrust your affiliation down her throat and you try to ease her into it and she’s still not budging. What now? Well, just like a friend who doesn’t share an interest you have a choice: either bore her with the details or find some other way to connect with your mother.

It’s hard when you want nothing more than for her to love your sisters the way you do. You want a mother who’s proud to have a Greek daughter and who is thrilled to come to events. But your mom might just not be like that. And no matter how hard you try to get her to see that being in a sorority is the right thing for you, she might not. You can’t force her. Just like she can’t force you to *stop* loving being in a sorority.

So my advice? Try to slowly get her to see your side. And if not, accept your mother for who she is. I’m sure she has qualities that you wouldn’t trade for the world, so try to focus on those instead of the negatives. And whenever you get down about not having her support, just remember — you have the support of hundreds of sisters who are there for you no matter what. It’s okay to have two families and it’s okay to love them separately. And hell, maybe work for a company centered around Greek life someday. That will show her.

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(yeahokaywhat) Aspiring to be the next Tina Fey, Rachel spends her free time doing nothing to reach that goal. While judging people based on how they use "they're" vs. "there" on social media, she likes eating buffalo chicken dip, watching other people's Netflix, and wearing sweatpants way more than is socially acceptable. Hate mail and puppy videos can be sent to:

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