On some level, we all want our mother's approval, but if you’re part of the millennial generation -- born between 1980 and 2000 -- you might care about a thumbs up from your mom more than other generations do. The parents of millennials have been hyper-involved with all aspects of their kids’ lives -- including their love lives. Your mom's approval of your boyfriend might make or break your relationship.
Introductions All Around
The only way mom is going to trust that there’s more to your boyfriend than meets her eye is for her to see what you see in him. A few one-on-one sessions are in order, but before you take the step of putting the two of them in the same room, try some backdoor strategies. Introduce him to your friends and some other family members. If you can convince a few people your mom respects of his merits, you’ll make inroads against her potential disapproval.
Your boyfriend needs to know what he’s up against. If he’s not willing to make an effort at making a good impression, maybe he is a loser. If he does agree to make the effort, you need to give him some ammunition for the fight. Help him find common ground by sharing some of your mom’s likes and dislikes. Maybe they both favor the same team or they share a passion for an activity. If they can connect over something other than you, he might be able to chip away at your mom’s disdain.
You’re the expert on both your mom and your boyfriend, so consider a little role playing in advance of the tête-à-tête. Just as your boyfriend wouldn’t go to a job interview without solid preparation, so should he prepare to meet your mom. What are her expectations, and how might she react to some of your boyfriend’s quirky behaviors? If she hates tattoos, maybe he can cover his up for the day. If she’s a stickler for proper dress, he might want to forgo the jeans and don a pair of khakis and a collar shirt.
Face to Face
There’s no way for you to convince your mom that your boyfriend isn’t a loser without the two of them spending time together. For the first meeting or two, choose home territory -- your boyfriend’s, not your mother’s -- to give your boyfriend the upper hand. Neutral zones such as restaurants or activity settings work too. By the way, it helps if your boyfriend picks up the tab. Start with brief encounters and increase time together with each outing. After the visits, talk over with your boyfriend how you think it went.