You took off from work a few hours early to prepare for your special evening. Your sweetie’s mother has agreed to come to your place for dinner so the two of you can meet. Sweetie is extra excited and you’ve outdone yourself on the preparations: you’re wearing your new, super cute shoes, your skirt is a modest length (hanging right above your knees), and the food is utterly delish. Your home is immaculate and smells fragrant with fresh flowers. She will love you. Everyone loves you.
Sweetie and Mother Dear arrive and she studies you up and down as she stands in the foyer of your home. Her nose wrinkles and she rolls her eyes. She utters a barely audible, “Hello.” She gives him her coat and remains standing until he guides her to the couch. Then Mother Dear wrinkles her nose again and emits a series of three dainty sneezes that you’re sure are fake. She asks Sweetie, “Are there flowers in here?” The flowers are relegated to the patio and your ire is rising.
When you serve dinner, Mother Dear does not bother to even push the food around on her plate to pretend she is eating it. She merely takes a tiny bite off the plate and then sits quietly, wearing a mournful expression. She only addresses Sweetie for the rest of the dinner. It seems she doesn’t care for your food much. And she doesn’t seem to care for you at all.
Depending on your personality, you will likely want to do one of two things. Either you want to remove one of your cute shoes and bop her upside the head with it or you want to run and hide in your own home until she leaves. Neither would be a good idea. The shoe might be ruined if you hit her with it and running and hiding in your own home is just wrong.
There are a few things you can consider, however, that might help you maintain your sanity throughout the evening, and possibly throughout your relationship with Sweetie.
- Remember to be yourself. Nothing will put her Fraud Alert Radar up faster than sensing deceit, and that would give her more fuel for her fire. If you cooked the dinner, admit to it if the subject comes up. If you ordered it, admit to that, too. Are you really comfortable in skirts? If not, wear an outfit you are comfortable in. Same with hair and make-up. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t.
- Resist the urge to be ugly to Mother Dear. This doesn’t mean you have to take any abuse from her, but if Sweetie thought enough of the both of you to bring you together, he wouldn’t like for there to be any bickering or fighting between you. Instead, be respectful. Hint: respectful does not mean weak. Respectful means recognizing her as the woman who gave birth to your sweetie, and the one he wanted you to meet.
- Also resist the urge to lean on Sweetie to make him choose between the two of you. Mother Dear was there long before you arrived and there is a more than likely chance you would lose a fight for his affections. Pressing him will make you appear more like the bad girl in the situation, regardless of what Mother Dear is doing. He will appreciate your being supportive and showing him that his mother’s attitude does not have any bearing on how you feel about him.
- Understand you may never be able to win her over. You have no idea what Mother Dear doesn’t like about you and even if you asked her (which might not be a bad idea if you can do so without blood being shed), she may not know. There are billions of reasons why people behave the way they do and surprisingly, many of them probably have nothing at all to do with you personally.
- Know that the two of you do not have to like each other to co-exist in Sweetie’s life. This is a hard one to swallow, but you and Mother Dear can maintain a lifelong disdain for one another and still manage to hold your positions in Sweetie’s life. Unless the two of you are living with her (and if you are, that’s a whole different situation), you are still the woman of your home. And she, hers. Be cordial and respectful to her whenever you are together and you will come out on top.
Everyone else will still love you. Especially Sweetie.
Photo credit: Dark muscle woman, Rikard Elofsson, https://flic.kr/p/e1uTq1