For years I have reflected on not feeling like an adult, mulling over theories as to why that was. Sheltered upbringing, shy disposition, internalized negative views about myself. Now that I am in my late (argh!) 30s, I know what I need to do to shake this nonesense once and for all. Basically, I cannot care what others - my mother in particular - think of me. I cannot go through life trying to please someone else.
It doesn't matter if my mom approves of what I eat, how I raise my daughter, or who my friends are. It doesn't matter what she thinks about my decisions or preferences. She has her own opinion, but I have mine, which is equally valid. I am not her. If she takes it personally that I make different decisions from ones she would make, that is frankly not my problem.
Of course I hate to see my mom upset or disappointed, but I cannot keep thinking that these reactions can in any way be mitigated by me. I do not control her - and she does not control me. I say this, I believe it, now I wonder how long it will take before I internalize it and start living as though I'm my own person, regardless if I have my mom's approval or not. Her approval doesn't make my decisions ok. My decisions need to be ok on their own. Only I am responsible for my decisions, whether she likes them or not.
It's going to be hard to try to overhaul 30+ years of trying to please my mom though. Still, it's the only way to go forward.