Mothers Have a Special Language
I was having lunch with some female friends and the topic turned to our mothers and what they think of us, our reputations and our relationships. The common theme seemed to be that our mothers are terrified other people will view us as "damaged merchandise."
Friend #1, prior to meeting her husband, was subjected to motherly comments such as, "Why are you still single? Your sister is fatter and uglier but she still found a man. You're getting old!" (Translation: Hurry before your ovaries shrivel up and turn into dust).
When Friend #2 announced her engagement to a man her mother didn't adore, the admonishments changed to, "You're still young! Why do you need to settle down? Take your time." (Translation: Find someone else).
When Friend #1 and her fiancé bought a house, her mom said, "Oh that's so nice!" (I can remind all of my friends that my child is more successful than theirs).
After they signed the papers her mother suddenly realized, "Oh my god! You're going to be living in sin!" (I have to tone down the bragging about the house to our relatives!)
Friend #2, who is currently living with her fiancé, was recently introduced to his mother's relatives. Prior to the visit, she begged her, "Please don't let them know you're living together! Please don't tell them!" (I want my family to think my son is marrying a pure, virtuous girl).
Friend #3 remarked her boyfriend's parents didn't know they were sharing living quarters until they came to visit. She decided that surprising people instead of telling them in advance gives them no time to object.
My own mother likes to remind me, "You're looking really old and tired." (Eat more, and take your vitamins).
She's also asked, "Do you think your boyfriend will dump you for someone younger and prettier in a couple of years?" (Take more vitamins, so you'll stay young longer).
My mom has told me more than once, "After he finishes medical school, he'll have money and lots of women will try to steal him." (I told you to take your vitamins).
We shared the stories and then laughed it off. When we were 13, we would have probably thought, "Your mom is a crazy woman trying to destroy your self-esteem, too!?"
Fortunately, we're old enough to realize they say awful things, not because they're awful people who want to ruin our lives, but because they genuinely believe that it is helpful. I doubt that I and my friends would be as opinionated and independent if our mothers kept their mouths shut.
Thanks Mom for being a loud, irrational worrywort.