And then he said it…

I want you to meet my mother. Seven little words. No harm, no foul, right? Well, picture this…

There you are in your perfect little black dress, wearing the earrings he gave you last month. You look fabulous. You’re sitting at your favourite table in one of your favourite restaurants. The two of you enjoy going out for dinner; a chance to catch up and talk. You’ve been dating for just over six months now. It’s going well; you enjoy each other’s company. So why are you so nervous? Pretty simple really, he wants you to meet his mother and she’s joining the two of you for dinner. Tonight. Need I say more?

Trying to calm your nerves, you do some subtle deep breathing, repeating to yourself, “There’s nothing to worry about. Everything is going to be fine. I’m a grown woman, for crying out loud. What on earth am I nervous about?” Then the restaurant door opens and there they are, all smiles, arm in arm, your date and his mother. Every ounce of your manufactured calm melts away.

What is it about meeting his mother that can bring a woman to her knees? Here we are successful women, not giggling, gawking awkward teens. We’ve made our own way in the world. We’ve dated a few men in our time; been married and divorced. We’ve traveled, we’re well read, conscious of world affairs. And yet, when that moment comes, no amount of antiperspirant can stem the flood.

Really, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Well, let’s run through the possibilities, shall we? She could be outright rude to you. She’s charming all evening in front of her son, but when you end up in the bathroom together, she demonstrates a mastery of the passive aggressive. Or she’s an absolute delight all evening, but then hacks you to pieces when she is alone with her boy. She focuses all her attention on her pride and joy, giving you the cold shoulder. Or she could be lovely, not a flaw in sight; absolutely perfect in every way. How can you compete with that, right?

It happens. But why? Even popular culture throws it at us – think Sex and the City: Charlotte, Trey and Bunny. Or Kevin, Charlie and Viola in Monster-In-Law. Or Mike and Molly and Peggy. (Shudder.) Is it us? Or is it them?

What’s your experience been? How did you or do you handle the meeting his Mom?

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