Shazia Mirza’s Weekend Column

We all outgrow our parents, hopefully. They (parents) refer to this as, “Disappearing up her own backside; forgetting her roots and thinking that just because she lives in London, she’s better than us.”

I was at a gig the other day when the man filming it told me he was from Wolverhampton. He said, “My family can’t understand why I’d want to leave and be a film-maker. They say, ‘Why don’t you be a plumber like your dad?'” And last week I met a writer who works on a magazine. He’s from a village in Lancashire and now lives in London. He told me, “My dad says, ‘Why do you travel around the world? Why don’t you come and work for the local paper?'”

My parents say to me, “You’ve got two degrees, you’ve made a few people laugh, but now why don’t you just give up and have children?”

On one hand, our parents want us to be successful. On the other, not so successful that we’re no longer one of them. I got a phone call from my mother this week and she said, “You’ve been abroad three times this month, you’ve seen the whole world, why don’t you just stop?”

When she got married at 22, ambition had limits, mostly centred around a job, a husband, some children and maybe a hamster. A few generations on, and it seems that too much travel, independence and knowledge cannot co-exist with domesticity. Mum always gets her sayings wrong. This conversation ended with, “Shazia, the rolling ovaries are gathering no moss.”