Post # 1
I haven’t met SO’s mom yet, although I know it’s going to happen in January at the very latest. However, I’m really nervous about meeting her because she sounds kind of grumpy based on what my SO says (he adores her so he’s not deliberately portraying her as such – it’s just a feeling a get from his anecdotes). Also, his older brother married a nice, Serbian girl while I’m a nice, not-Serbian girl (I’m Asian, which will probably be visually shocking on top of everything else) – am wondering how much of a problem this will be.
I hoped that circumstances would be on my side because she has no daughters and in my experience, daughterless moms are only too happy to have me around. But apparently she’ll loudly & insistently tell anyone who asks that she was SO glad both her kids are boys.
Bees, do any of you have any tips on how to win over an East European mama? Are they anything like Greek or Italian mamas? I’d really appreciate it!
Post # 3
FIs roommate in college was Serbian. Granted his mother was from Croatia, but regardless, she was really sweet whenever I saw her. They came by a couple times a month and always engaged us in some sort of conversation. The one thing I remember was that she always brought him food. Like, frozen weeks worth of food and directions on how to reheat it. She definitely hovered a bit. Not like “helicopter mom,” but more “If I don’t bring him food, he’ll sit on his computer for weeks without eating.” A valid concern. Obviously, I never dated him or had to win her approval, but that was my general impression. She also only had boys. Also, they were very old school. The man provides for the family, the woman cooks/cleans/takes care of kids. Maybe when you go over make dessert? Show that you are capable of taking care of her son. Ask if she can teach you how to make his favorite dish?
Post # 4
@ChicFoodist: I hope he tells his mother that you are Asian and not Serbian. I would not want to witness a bad reaction if there was one.
My FH and I have a large age gap. I made sure that before I met his mother that he explained this. I did not want to walk into her home and witness a gasp. Geeeez!
Post # 5
@HonoraryNerd: SO’s mom is like that too! He won’t take everything she gives him (because he can’t carry it all, LOL), but she loves to stock up his fridge. Home cooking is a huge thing for them so thank goodness I’m a decent cook. I’ve also thought of bringing over something I made! His mom’s diabetic so she makes her own food apart from everyone else’s and she won’t be able to eat mine, but at least she’ll know I can cook, and it’s a nice gesture. 🙂 Great idea re: asking her to teach me to make his favourite food – thanks! 😀
I also see that gender roles are very traditional – although SO grew up here, so he likes to cook for me sometimes and he’s all for pushing me to develop my career.
But in my culture, it’s super common to go out to eat several times a week. My family’s from Hong Kong, where a person can not just survive but thrive eating out every single meal and never cooking because the food is so good and so cheap. So compromising on how much we eat at home and how much we eat out was one of the first things we had to adjust to as a couple. 😛
Post # 6
Okay, so I’m Eastern European, and I cannot overstate this enough: bring home made food!!! Think home baking, comfort food, desset, etc. Don’t do perogies or anything overly eastern European because she might think your trying too hard the first time you meet.
Be polite. Also can’t stress this enough. I think Eastern European parents are very similar to Asian parents and Middle eastern parents in terms of culture, especialy for women. So, don’t wear anything too flashy but dress nicely, perhaps act a little more reserved the first time you meet her, show a lot of respect to elders, etc.
In terms of you being Asian, I don’t think this will be a big problem. My sis married an Asian dude and it was fine even though my parents are quite traditional.
Don’t take it personaly if she seems grumpy or a bit standoffish. In my experience with EU parents, they are either very friendly, give you lots of hugs , etc, or standoffish and hard to read.
Overall, I’m sure you will be totaly fine!
Post # 7
My mom’s eastern european. Whenever I hear about outsiders dating eastern european men, my usual thought is “RUN” and my second thought is “GOOD LUCK”, haha. Eastern european mothers have an odd mix of jewish mother and italian mother in them, multiplied by 1000.
Some tips- always bring food or alcohol if you’re visiting. Coming with empty hands is a sign of disrespect. Always be put together, eastern european women don’t understand sneakers and sweatpants and they look down on women that wear those things, even to the grocery store. If your man says something, even if you disagree with it, don’t argue with him in front of other people or in front of her. So in a nutshell, bring food, bring booze, dress nicely, behave politely, dote on your guy in front of his mom. And be prepared that she might never warm up to you 100%. haha.
Post # 8
@atlbride2013: hahaha “an odd mix of jewish mother and italian mother in them multiplied by 1000” SO TRUE
@ChicFoodist: Yeah I think you could relate to the Greek/Italian mama but not so touchy-feely-squishy in my experience. DH mom is Ukranian married to Italian and I’m part Polish/Ukranian – the culture is very similar. Traditional roles, respectful towards elders, spoils the kids, importance of food… probably alot of similar values to Asian parents, it comes down to tradition I think.
I’d be polite and warm but don’t try too hard – dress nicely as PP said, perhaps a nice dress and stockings (bare legs are kind of seen as “naked”) – bring food and flowers, DONT try to compete for the role of importance in your FI’s life – let her be dominant if she is asserting herself that way. Compliment her cooking, offer to help serve and do dishes. There may be a separation between the men and women at the table or gathering if it is a large family setting… just roll with it. Ask her to teach you something FI loves to eat or tips with I dunno, cleaning… If she is coming to your house make sure it is CLEAN. When you meet her ask her what you should call her – first name, Mrs. ____, whatever she says. I’m sure you know how to be respectful. I’d say the major thing to not be too casual and show that you can fill the traditionally “female” role. And make sure you eat at dinner.
Things with DH’s family are VERY different than how we live our daily lives in terms of gender roles etc, we have had the conversation that that’s how it is when we are with the family and it is different at our house. The whole male-female split at the dinner table blew me away the first time – his family is MUCH more traditional than mine.
Post # 9
@peaseblossom: Thanks for the advice and encouragement! 😀
I agree about the being hard to read part. My SO grew up in Canada but I used to find him hard to read sometimes too. Like for our first Christmas, I gave him a scarf that I knitted. He took it halfway out of the bag, looked at it, and shoved it back in with a quick “Thanks, baby.” I had to make him take it out fully and try it on, LOL. Then later on I found out from his friends that he was bragging about it to everyone. 😛
Post # 10
If Serbs are anything like us Russians, OFFER TO HELP IN THE KITCHEN.
This is kind of a hazing ritual and there’s a 50% chance that you will be asked to peel and chop 78 pounds of onions with a dull knife, but at least in my experience any girl who doesn’t offer her help in the kitchen before the meal and then help with cleanup after the meal will be considered rude! Plus it will give her a chance to have some one-on-one time with you.
Post # 11
“there’s a 50% chance that you will be asked to peel and chop 78 pounds of onions with a dull knife “
lmao, yes!!! or potatoes :p
Post # 12
@peaseblossom: oh trust me, I *know* what the potato pain feels like… Peeling them with one of those dull Soviet-era knives was nothing short of torture, ha.
I actually at some point started bringing a knife and pair of rubber gloves (for helping out with the dishes) with me any time I attended any family gathering. That made it somewhat easier.
Post # 13
@ChicFoodist: A lot of great advice on this board! Just a few points to drive home about meal time: EAT. Try everything. Have seconds. Then it’s ok to stop. When people wouldn’t eat something my grandmother would serve, she would later get upset and say she was cursed + throw in some Yiddish-isms.
Help out in the kitchen, but don’t overstep. Ask to help, but don’t start whisking/chopping/dicing unless you’re invited to do so.
Maintain “Mr.” and “Mrs.” throughout the evening.
Oh, and it’s possible your FMIL might want you to take your shoes off. Annnnd, if she asks if you want to see photos from the village/old country/wherever, say yes!
Post # 14
@cranraspberry: Hahaha, yes! That’s great! One of the “best” Friday night dinners I’ve had ended in shelling peas for a couple hours.
Post # 15
@ChicFoodist: bring her some sweets, gifts, maybe sth handmade… show her you can be a good wife, you can clean, cook. Just be yourself
Post # 16
SO DIFFICULT! You girls are scaring me and my husband is american!