Give Mom a Glass of Wine

Are you one day into a vacation to visit your parents and your mom is already driving you crazy? Or maybe she is visiting you, and nothing you do seems to be right?

Does she talk over your shoulder and offer unsolicited advice while you are cooking? “I would add the onions before the garlic, dear. You’re using two cups of water? Well, do what you like but nobody likes soggy rice.”

Does she talk about your potential and how you’re not living up to it, or compare you to your siblings? “You could be making as much money as your brother if you didn’t spend all your time writing stories.”

Does she tell embarrassing stories from your childhood to your significant other? “Can you believe she didn’t learn how to swim until she was 10 years old? All those swim classes spent pouting in the shallow end.”

Does she bring up past disappointments? “Ever since you left that great job three years ago, I don’t know what to talk to you about.”

Does she talk about your faults as if they are “just so cute” and “what makes you, you”? “You never were good at folding napkins, were you?”

Does she make passive-aggressive insults? “I wish your sister was here. Now she could play cards.”

If any of this is sounding all too familiar, I have just one piece of advice for you…

Give Mom a glass of wine.

The irritable mom turns relaxed. The passive-aggressive mom turns cheerful. And the resentful mom turns grateful. One to two glasses of wine will turn those insults into compliments faster than you can finish reading this piece.

Why wine? There’s something about wine that makes Mom feel classy and sophisticated. People that drink wine aren’t lushes, boozers or alkies. They’re just ordinary people—that is, ordinary people with taste.

The quick, sugar buzz of wine gives Mom an instantaneous upper while the alcohol works its way slowly through her muscles and relaxes them until Mom has reclined deep into a comfy couch, and is asking you, “Say, how about another?”

By all means, give her another. She’ll laugh and tell funny stories about your dad. She’ll tell you she’s proud of you and the decisions you’ve made. She’ll tell you she never had the nerve to break out on her own, as you have. She’ll tell your partner all the things you are good at and this time tell the story about how you won the fifth grade spelling bee.

She’ll suggest everyone go for a walk or to a museum or a movie. She will be full of ideas and open to anything—“really, anything!” she will say.

She may get a bit emotional. She may apologize for being too hard on you and tell you stories of how her mom was hard on her, and say “God knows, nobody wants to end up like their mother, but I guess its inevitable.”

When this happens, it time to cut Mom off, because things might start turning sour. One more drink and you may find her weeping and swinging to the opposite pole, lamenting about how none of her children appreciate her.

Keep Mom at two glasses of wine and you are in for a pleasant evening. The cooking will be drama free, the dinner conversation will be light, and all in all you will be pleasantly surprised at what a charming, sweet person this woman that gave birth to you truly is.

It’s not her fault you irritate her so much and bring out her worst, but it’s not your fault either. So save yourself and her the drama, tears and grief. Give her a glass of wine, and have one yourself. Because, hey, you’re not perfect either.

March 16, 2013

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