How to Impress your Mother-in-law & make her your new BFF

So there I was making my way out of my then boyfriend’s apartment (now, my husband aaaooww)… face beat from hell, hair: a beautiful mess, wearing a borrowed T-shirt… looked like a classic “walk of shame” but in this case… I had legit rights lol, he was mine and he knew it…and I was in  a rush and blah, blah, blah aka “walk-of-shame” to my canary yellow Audi TT (details of the car are completely insignificant… but in my head I couldn’t had been in a more subtle car… it had to be yellow 😂). I knew who she was, from pictures obviously and he told me she was on the way… but never knew she was a ninja, and well she showed up in a matter of seconds. “Oh! hola Señora! como esta? yo soy Mary.” (open door to car, slip in, look up at Randy looking out the window dying laughing.) I do not remember what she responded, I spoofed and thought to myself that I was doomed with la Doña.

Later on I connected with Randy, obviously, I interrogated him…asking him every detail and syllable enhancement she made while talking about her encounter… he assured me that I was fine, and kept laughing.

That weekend or so, we arranged a proper meeting. We hosted her at his apartment, I cooked and took over for the night. This was a super BIG deal. The things you do on the first encounters with your Mother-in-law (MIL) matter. So here was my strategy to “play it cool”.

1. I thought I blew it, by looking soooo umm casual that first day (let me not even get into what she might of thought of me with her Traditional-Catholic-Dominican-conservative beliefs…as I am pretty sure I depicted the devil).

2. Hosting her will allow me the opportunity to vanish her first impression of me, by really showing her what I am about…oh, and I did.

I proceeded with making my famous lasagna, the best meat blend, best fresh mozz, and tons of basil and garlic.. (you know, to have something to talk about lol). I didn’t miss a detail, a green salad, a choice of wine, and dessert. Ah, here is where attention to detail comes into place: find out what she likes and dislikes…and well sneak that in there here and there, and whatever she does not like well stay away from that… unless you guys have something in common that you guys dislike together lol. Your partner MUST be  your ally in this, he/she has to give you the scoop, but you also need to do your homework by asking these types of questions, so you are prepared for this encounter. But let’s go back  little… let’s talk about my appearance. I did not dress to impress, I wore something chic-comfy I mean we were in his apartment on a Sunday during football season… lets’ be real. My hair did look really nice, my makeup was subtle but done, nails were of course manicured. I did not change the way I talked, I was trying to show her who I really was without making it so obvious that I was trying to impress. How did I do that, and what you must keep in mind:

  1. Don’t do anything you cannot keep up.
    1. be yourself, if your plan is to be around for a while then it will be difficult to keep up appearances.
    1. I cooked, yes, a hella good lasagna. Yes, that sends some kind of message, that of I like to cook maybe, and that I am willing to slave every time she’s around… NOPE, that’s not me! so, I made sure I drove the message I wanted to send. “This is a special occasion, I don’t usually cook like this (or ever), I prefer to go out to eat, but will hold it down if I have to” and I did that, by making casual and subtle jokes like “I hope you guys enjoy the meal…it might be the last meal I will ever cook in  my life” and laugh…and then follow by “no, seriously I am not joking lol” you get the point. Its ok to show off, but its more important to show who you really are.
  2. Dress the part. When you go to a job interview, you dress the part right? well, this is no different. If your intentions is to be with your partner forever, then you need to understand that la Doña is one of the most influential people in his/hers life. Therefore you want to look like a regular version of you, but in a way that conveys “I care”.  Listen, no judgement here… if you are Goth or Emo, more power to you, but if you know la Doña might cringe at your drawn in tears, maybe lay that day go easy on her with your regular look, but don not O.D. You know what I mean. This is very important that you understand this, and also learn to understand how MIL thinks… oh she’s a republican? she believes in such and such and maybe this and that. Take notes, because you don’t have to agree with what her beliefs are, you just need to navigate around them intelligently. For example my MIL is a Republican, while I am not. I try not talk politics around her and her husband, because 1. I can’t keep up on the conversation (politics its just not my thing) 2. We will disagree, and I know myself enough that I will sit there 4 hours trying to make my point if I have to (nope, not worth it) 3. She is who she is, and I love her for all that, and I like treating her with the respect she deserves and vice versa.
  3. Expose your weaknesses. Relax! breathe… trust me! your strengths will naturally shine, and you know this. So really really on those super powers and shine like a diamond. However, by talking about a weakness or two you are making yourself vulnerable, you are being real and setting the right expectations for the future. No one likes an ego, so speaking of say for example “I am a terrible cook” (to keep the theme going) is good! it shows that though you do not have an affinity for the culinary arts, you put forth some effort to host. It will also save you from casserole duty for family parties lol (I get no requests… maybe a fruit salad 🙂 ). To be honest, I cook, but I cook what “I” like… so if la Doña is not into ceviche… but I am that’s cool. We will just keep at “I don’t cook for crowds.”

Now, it’s been a few years since that first experience. But there have been a lot of “firsts” with la Doña and I. You will have those too, like who turns the candles for the cake and brings it to him/her lol… (it has happened to me) or, who initiates grace in your own home. So, always keep in mind that YOU are the new person in everyone’s life in your partner’s family. So, do not take things so personal, they are honestly getting used of you as much as you are getting used of the idea of them. I recall getting upset at many different things… but let’s be real… in-laws will always thing “we”are babies, though we may be able to run circles around them and have successful careers etc.  My first experiences with my MIL have all been unique, and often I have had to speak up and ask for her to take a seat, and often she has handed me the baton to lead the crowd… I am lucky, because my MIL is honestly an angel. Yes, she has spoiled her kids rotten, but she is loving, respectful and has embraced me as a daughter. To the point where my husband thinks she sides with me on everything. I give her fashion and beauty advice, I introduce her to tech like Amazon.com (I mean, same-day delivery curtains!!? hello? #IWIN) and Pinterest (I blew her mind).

Our relationship has grown so much, and today I am so grateful to have her. She is one of the very few people I trust my daughters with. I seek her advice ALWAYS, when it comes to home-remedies and other mom-stuff. At times, I even open up about my relationship with her son, and she honestly gives me sound advice without coming from a judgmental place. She respects that we are very different, and praises me to others. I have earned her trust and respect because I have always, and I mean always kept it 100%. Never have I smiled things away, just because of who she is, and she admires my backbone. She respects my decision making, because I have reassured her and proved that I am as capable as any other “fantasy daughter in law” lol… her grand children are well taken care of, son too, and my home is on point. That is honestly all they care about… Me, Goth, Vegan it does not matter, as long as everyone is alright. I know deep in my heart she thinks we are babies, and that is ok (my mom thinks the same), but  little by little I keep building with her. She is now a very good friend, and mother to me. We maintain an open communication style that allows for feedback and gratitude.

Please enjoy the video embedded below:

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