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a controlling mother

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I was watching season 3 of “Love Island” recently (I know I’m a little late to the party) and along came the episode when the parents visit the islanders. I don’t know if any of you recall, but Montana of season 3 did the dirty on screen a few times with her beau Alex. So when her mom visited her on the island – her mom who had been following the show – I thought for sure she was going to get a talking to. Instead, her mom just playfully said something to the effect of, “I wish you hadn’t had sex on TV.” “THAT’S IT?!!!?!” I literally screamed this and jumped up when this happened. I was watching the show thinking, “If I were Montana, I’d have about 15 yelling voicemails waiting for me from my mother when I got off that island.” I forget that some people have moms who are just…pretty chill. I understand that most mothers would not like to see their daughters doing the deed under the sheets on a reality TV show. But for the record, that would get me disowned by my mother. Lesser things have nearly gotten me disowned. If you have a controlling mother, you know what I mean and probably know of these experiences.

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You fear answering the phone

When your phone rings and you see it’s your mother calling, you don’t know what you’re going to get. She’s either just calling to say hello, or to yell at you about some perceived slight that she’s come up with while you were just minding your business. You start searching your brain for possible ways you may have upset her, so you can be prepared, before answering the phone.

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Your outfit is always a problem

You’ve almost never seen her without receiving some critique of your outfit. Either she thinks it’s all-out terrible and insists that you change, or she finds the one tiny thing to point out – like a lighter shade of shoes would have made more sense with those pants or you need more jewelry with that dress. She can’t not say something.

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Even when she bought you the outfit

There have even been times when she criticized your outfit, and you were wearing something she bought you. When you remind her of that she says, “Oh, well, it fit differently back then” or “Well, that’s not how I intended for you to wear it.”

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Your boyfriend could always be better

No matter whom you date, your mom always thinks your boyfriend could be better. Your last boyfriend was an artist, your mom said “Can’t you date someone in finance?” You actually later dated someone in finance, and she said “The sector of finance he works in isn’t the best – he should consider changing paths.”

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Having her over causes anxiety

There are few things in life that cause you more anxiety that a pending visit from your mother. Your home is just riddled with things for her to criticize. There aren’t enough photos up of her. Or she doesn’t like the ones that are up. It’s a bit dusty. Your neighbors are weird – are you sure you want to live in a place with such weird neighbors?

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You limit her time spent in your home

You go to extreme lengths to limit the time your mom spends in your home. Like making a lunch reservation for 1pm, when she’s arriving at 12:30 and then “remembering” that “Oops, the reservation is actually for 12:45 so we should really just get out of here!” You’ve lied and said your place was recently painted and there were fumes and she shouldn’t come in.

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You have one friend she sees as perfect

You have one friend who your mom has honed in on and believes should be your role model. She just thinks that friend dresses so well and has such a good career path and such a nice home and such a perfect husband. She’s always telling you what that friend is recently up to – she stalks her on social media, of course.

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You’re given social instructions

Any time you go somewhere socially with your mom, the car ride over is full of social instructions. “Don’t bring this up around this person. And don’t do that thing you do when you’re eating soup. And stand up straight. And be nicer to this person.” You’re a full-grown adult and she’s telling you how to socialize.

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You edit everything you tell her

You’ve never told her the full or entirely true story about anything. You pick out details that she may criticize or fuss over, and you remove those. Before telling your mom anything – good news or bad – you create the mom-friendly version. And you ask anyone else who may tell her the same story to make the same edits.

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You nearly have a secret life

You often feel that you have to identities – there is the real you, and the you that you present to your mom. You feel that your life away from your mom is this secret life. That’s where you get to be the real you. Your mom actually has no realistic idea of what your life looks like because you wouldn’t dare tell her.

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Your social media gets you in trouble

Your social media has gotten you in trouble many, many times. You tried blocking your mom, but she realized you did that, and demanded to know why, asking what you were hiding. So you’re back to letting your mom see your posts, and being very careful about what you post. But sometimes other people tag you in posts that get you in trouble with your mom.

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She dislikes your job, but has no other suggestions

She’s always found some issue to bring up about your job. It doesn’t pay enough. It could be depressing. You work with too many people and could get sick. She never likes your job, but, at the same time, she has no suggestions as to what you can do about it. Or she does, and they’re unrealistic, like “Can’t you just be a news anchor for CNN?” Yes, because that’s so easily done.

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You wish she’d get a (different) hobby

You probably know that your mom’s obsession with your life stems from her not having, well, much of her own. Maybe she is retired. Or she doesn’t make a big enough effort to have a social life. So you’re always trying to encourage her to get more hobbies or see more friends (so she’ll lay off your back).

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You feel bad introducing her to your boyfriends

If you date someone long enough, he inevitably needs to meet your mom, and you feel very bad when that day comes. You already know the ways she’ll interrogate him. You know the backhanded comments she’ll make and the way she digs for information. It won’t be a fun day for your boyfriend. He’ll be pretty shaken up after.

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You feel bad introducing her to friends

You have some friends that you know your mom will not approve of. You love them. They are…many things. Quirky. Fierce. Outgoing. Outspoken. Carefree. Many of the things your mom sees as problematic. You don’t want her to meet them, because you don’t want her judgment tainting this beautiful view you have of them.

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