Mothers (7/20/05)

Dear Zelda,
Whenever my mom meets any of my girlfriends she says, “Call me Mi-mi.” Mi-mi is the grandma name she already has picked out, though I'm just 25 and have no intention of settling down for a while. She reminds me constantly that she expects grandchildren. Soon. As for me, I'm in no hurry. How can I get her off my back?

Single by choice

Dear Single,

I have 44 words for Mi-mi.  

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a family with a child born in 2000 can expect to spend about $165,630 ($233,530 when factoring in inflation) for food, shelter and other necessities to raise that child over the next 17 years.

Tell your mother that you will take that in the form of a cashier's check and she can sign it Mi-mi.

Zelda

Dear Zelda,
I have tried to be warm to my mother-in-law but I find her insensitive much of the time. She has mastered the art of guilt and will sometimes say uncensored thoughts that hurt our feelings—especially my teenage daughter's. AND, she seems to care more about her animals than her family. I don't want to speak badly of her in front of my children but sometimes it's very difficult. How do I include her in family gatherings without feeling the stress of her presence?

Stressed Out

Dear Stressed,

Isn't amazing that in the HUGE boxing ring of relationships you can be related to someone...yet not relate?

People like your mother-in-law relate to one thing and one thing only - confrontation. They are used to saying what they want without
consequence.

I think it's time to implement what I call a "Confrontation TKO." Don't worry, no one is physically harmed in this ring of emotions but, there may be a nice sucker punch to a certain someone's ego. This is the training plan: The next time you feel one of her insensitive punches heading your way, slap on the mental boxing gloves and give her the 'ol 1-2-3 combo with a simple phrase that I think you'll find very effective: No matter where you both are, no matter who's standing around, look her straight in the eyes, mental boxing gloves to the ready, feet standing firm, with a voice as strong as Muhamad Ali and say..."Why would you say that to me?" This next part is very important. Don't back down your stare and don't walk away. She will not expect it, but trust me, she will feel it. If you can wait for the answer I think you'll find that you've thrown her off balance and without a doubt, and by a unanimous decision...round one will go to the new champ formerly known as "Stressed."

Now, this may sound simple but, when said with enough conviction, you will be dancing around like a featherweight champ, floatin' like a butterfly and stingin' like a bee.

Now, as for caring more about her animals...

Can people ever give animals enough love? I may be biased...but I say not.

Good Luck Champ!

Zelda

Dear Zelda,
Several weeks ago our pedigreed dog had her first litter. The pups, which we'll soon be selling for a bundle of money, are flawless. But she went through hell to deliver those pups. I would love to be able to breed her again but at the same time I don't want to cause her harm by putting her through such an ordeal. My husband says we should neuter her. That's kind of like killing the goose that laid the golden egg. What do you think?

Proud Dog Mama

Dear Proud,

I think we may need to re-evaluate the reason you got your dog to begin with. Was it A.)  You love dogs and wanted 101 pedigrees running around licking your face and bitin' your heels?,  B.) You wanted your pedigree puppies to be the beenie babies of 2005?  or C.) You wanted your dog to experience the joys of motherhood once for herself and as luck would have it...you were able to make a few bucks at the same time?

In the old fable of the goose that laid the golden egg, the moral of the story was that greed destroys good.

Let's remember why dog is man...or wo-man's best friend. The love is unconditional and has no boundries. As the smarter of the two, you set those boundries while we  follow along always with happy tails wagging. Asking this question meant that you were on the fence and not sure which way to jump. I hope this gave you the confidence to make a choice without consequences.

Here's hoping your fable has a "Happily Ever After."

Zelda