Living your life without giving your mom constant heartache is no easy feat. Veep’s resident fixer, a new mom herself, helps you celebrate Mother’s Day without becoming a mama’s boy.

This feature appears in Complex's April/May 2014 issue.

How should you break the news to your mom that you’re pursuing a risky career?
Just tell her. No matter what she says, you have to let it roll off of your back. There is no other way. When I was younger, I made my mom sad by not being in show business; I wanted to go to college. But that was presumably more secure than show business, so it was a win-win for her. Either way I was going to be fine. All your mom wants for you is security. She just wants to know you’re safe. My husband always said that you should bide your time and not invite her to your apartment until you know it is a nice apartment. She can’t criticize what you do because you have a nice place.

What should you do if the activities that you most enjoy, like riding motorcycles and getting hammered on the weekend, freak your mom out?
Keep that life separate. There are ways of doing that without her finding out, but don’t let it affect your attitude toward her. Don’t lie to her, obviously, but she doesn’t need to know everything. Treat her with respect and remember that she is not your maid and she is not your wife.

How should you introduce your mom to a girlfriend she probably won’t approve of?
In a neutral public place, like a park, a bookstore, or a coffee shop. It can’t be on your mom’s turf. The hard thing is trying to moderate the conversation without moderating the conversation. If you hear any of the trigger words—presumably you know both women well—then redirect the conversation. Redirect! Redirect! Redirect!

I had one relationship with a mama’s boy when I was in college. Circumstantially, you cannot fault them. It is wonderful that they love each other that much, but it was strange to feel this tension whenever we were in the same room. It was bizarre to be pitted against this woman I obviously wanted to like and respect. I had no ill will towards her. But her problem existed before me and, as the girlfriend, I was just the placeholder for it.

What should you give your mom on Mother’s Day?
If Mother’s Day is ruined because you got your mom the wrong gift, then she is probably difficult to please in general. If you remember to send her flowers or chocolate or pamper her and bring her to dinner, you can’t go wrong. But any woman who has ever given birth usually appreciates chocolates.

If you’re already a mama’s boy who hangs onto your mom’s every word, how can you keep a healthy distance?
Get out of town or travel as far away from your mother as possible so you can practice making decisions on your own. A healthy thing would be to have a set day during the week to call your mom and not to call her any other day of the week. A text every couple of days is fine, but you shouldn’t indulge in conversation.

Interview by Tara Aquino (@t_akino)

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