My husband and I are happy, and have come up with a great schedule that works for us and our children. Strangely, my mother has a problem with the way I live my life. We’ll be talking on the phone and she’ll say, “Where’s ‘Danny?'” and I’ll say, “He’s making dinner,” and then she’ll start in. “That Danny, what a guy! He works all day and comes home and cooks dinner, I can’t believe he does that,” and on and on. Meanwhile, I work part-time and take care of a baby and she doesn’t feel bad for me! I always knew she was more traditional than me, and she did everything around the house when we were growing up, but you would think she would just be glad that I am happy. How can I get her to stop making these comments? What can I say to her to make her understand?
I think the best way to deal with passive-aggressiveness is to treat it like the person is 100% serious.
So when your mom says, “Danny really knows his way around the laundry room; do you even know where it is?” you can just respond, “I think I went in there once but it was full of dirty clothes and it smelled funny, so I left.” Or when she’s like, “Your dad used to golf on Saturdays, but I guess modern men like to spend the day cleaning the garage,” you can agree with her. “Oh, yeah, Danny lives for cleaning the garage. He could barely sleep last night, he was so excited!” This will either befuddle her to the point where she moves on and talks about something else, or she gets up the nerve to directly confront you about it, which really would be ideal.
Because at that point you can cheerfully say, “I’m happy and Danny is happy, and that’s all that really matters, right?”