In a relationship or life jam? Lemme unstuck your life: [email protected].
I am a woman in my mid-20s who is in a relationship with a man I have been friends with for years. We went to the same high school, ran in the same group of friends and stayed semi-in touch. Last summer, we reconnected on a dating app and, to both our surprise, developed a very loving, committed relationship. He is a perfectly respectful and adoring boyfriend, and has a great job he is advancing in, not to mention he is fine as hell and our sex life is off the charts… So here is the problem.
Because we are such old friends, I have also known his mother since I was young. She is elated that we are together — almost too much so. Since having dinner with her for the first time as my boyfriend’s new partner last year, she has poked and prodded me about having children. Not even marrying her son — just having children with him. Every photo of us together on social media, every time I say anything about my nieces, any time my boyfriend holds friend’s/family member’s babies. Now, I understand that mom’s get a little carried away with things like this. My own mother has cracked a few jokes here and there about us getting married one day and having kids. But I have been with this man for less than a year, and his mother is starting to sound less jovial and more insistent with every mention of babies.
She really is a nice lady, but this is making me very uncomfortable. I have addressed this with my boyfriend, and he basically says it makes him uncomfortable also, but he isn’t sure how to approach it, because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. One of my big concerns is that I’m not even sure if I ever want to get married, let alone have children — I love my boyfriend very much and do envision a future with him, but those kinds of commitments are things that I have not been interested in for a long time. I am open to the idea that I may one day change my mind, but it isn’t on my plate right now, and the constant jokes are irritating, not charming. What can I do?
—Your Baby Jokes Aren’t Funny
P.S. Boyfriend is an only child, thus the impending pressure of a wannabe grandmother kinda treating me like nothing more than a vessel for creating her son’s offspring (but a vessel that she thinks is very nice, and she likes to take shopping sometimes, so is it really right for me to complain? I don’t even know).
P.P.S. According to boyfriend he actually has told his mom that he finds this behavior irritating, but it continues to happen.
So, at some point between you sending me this email and me responding to it, I had a Facebook friend post “When are you giving me grandkids?” Isn’t funny, and it puts undue pressure on relationships. Among the outpouring of compassion and co-signs was a baby crazy meemaw-in-waiting who was straight up like: Nope I’m Still Gonna Bring It Up All The Time And Be Pushy About Wanting Grandkids Because I’m Old And I Do What I Wantz. And I Want Them Like Yesterday By Any Means Necessary. OK, well maybe not exactly that, but that was basically what was said. My friend patiently tried to reason with her, but she was not having it. Gave my pal the social media equivalent of “Toodles!”and bounced.
Immediately, all the hope and optimism I had planned to imbue you with fled. I had to scratch out words I hadn’t even written — about how your boyfriend could put boundaries in place with his mama and insist she respect them for your peace of mind. But I see now that simply isn’t going to happen. So, instead, I’m giving you advice for how to endure.
You and your boo can make a game out of his mom mentioning babies, “Every time she mentions grandkids you have to contribute $5 to my mani-pedi fund!” Or really lean in and get her going, “Grandkids, yes! Should we start right now? Lemme just get these jeans off…” Or “So, glad you brought that up. We’ve been doing the math, and it’s going to cost about to 2 milli per baby, so we wanted to go ahead and work out a financing plan for you. It’s kind of like a 401K, you invest now, and you get to enjoy grandkids decades from now.” Just focus on all the good your partner brings into your life and try not to hold his mom’s nagging against him.