When 28-year-old political-science student Sesili Butkhuzi decided five years ago that she wanted to live on her own, her family, she says, “took it very badly.”
“They did not get why should I be moving out when I had a home.” Butkhuzi’s mother, who, herself, lived in Brussels, argued that “I was free even if I lived with my family.”
“It took me a year to explain to her. We were arguing constantly. It took a lot of time for her to understand . . . “ elaborates Butkhuzi, a part-time bartender who now resides with her ailing grandmother.
That runs particularly true outside of the Georgian capital, in Georgia’s more conservative regional towns and rural areas.
When 23-year-old Tamara Tabukashvili told her Kutaisi family several years ago that she intended to live on her own and attend university in Tbilisi, they objected that “I am a girl and I don’t have a father,” she says. (Tabukashvili’s father is no longer living.) They wondered, ‘How are you going to livealone? Don’t you need someone to take care of you?’”
Relatives usually try to take on that role. Once Tabukashvili moved to Tbilisi, her local relatives constantly checked on her at work and home, she says. She found the attention stressful.
“I had the feeling that no one was thinking about me; they were concerned about the family name and honor. However, I had support from my mother. If not for her, nothing would have worked out.”
Tabukashvili’s mother, Maia, believes that, at 18, “[I]t’s already time for a young person to take on some responsibilities and learn to cope with them.” While parents might find the initial change difficult, she adds, “it’s essential to let [their children] find their own way independently.”
Tamara Tabukashvili now lives with a roommate in downtown Tbilisi.