How to be a good MOB?(23 Posts)
My daughter is getting married and I understand that in common with many couples these days, she and her fiance want to plan everything themselves. We have given them a generous budget and have told them they can keep whatever's left so we wouldn't get into arguments about what they chose.
I have read, and am trying to act on, current advice, which is to support your daughter when asked, so have tried to curb my natural instinct to wade in and 'help'. In fact, I'm walking on eggshells...
So I was pretty gobsmacked earlier this week when she accused (not a pretty word, I know) me of
1. 'constantly criticising' her ideas. It seems that my occasional suggestions for tweaks to those ideas, which I thought I was doing in a supportive & positive manner, have been taken personally as criticism of her/their decisions
2. 'not being enthusiatic enough'. On the day she announced the wedding to us, her first words were 'Of course, I'll have my friends x & y as chief wedding planners'. Talk about putting me in my place!
3. Upsetting the groom. I think this is the one that's sticking in my craw more than anything. They want the invitations to come out from my husband and me, but we don't seem to be allowed to ask questions of how the plans are going because that's annoying the groom. I'm sure the 'interfering MIL' comments are already going on, but I'm concerned that my son-in-law-to-be and I are going to fall out in the months ahead and my poor daughter is going to be piggy in the middle. I will do whatever I have to to ensure a good relationship with both daughter and son-in-law but I'm baffled as to what that is
Blimey, they sound a nightmare! I can honestly say as a Bride there have been a few moments when I've become frustrated with my Mum because I am aware that I should be involving her but our ideas are just different. I suppose it all depends on the relationship that you had before hand? I'm lucky in that we both got on really well anyway and Mum and hubby to be get on well too.
It doesn't sound very helpful I know but the only thing I could suggest is talking to her, let her know how you feel and explain that you are not trying to take over, your there to help in whatever way she wants. Trouble is, I'm a fairly relaxed bride to be and even I've had my moments, anyone after the big white wedding is likely to be harder work. Talk to her - it's a big day for you too and the last thing you want is to be walking on eggshells right up until the big day.
so they want you be more enthusiastic but not ask any questions about the plans?
It sounds like you can't win :-(
I second raspberry's advice - just talk to her. Ask her what she thinks your role should be (and keep your fingers crossed its something that you can agree on!).
When's the big day?
Oh dear, are you my mother?
I recognise myself in the early days of planning in your description. I was convinced my mum was criticizing every little thing, and then she wasn't being enthusiastic enough! My sister finally pointed out that I was imagining all sorts of intent that probably wasn't there, and I managed to calm down and get some perspective. Honestly, it's such a stressful time and tempers and emotions flare. The others are right - talk to her. Communication is the key!
Thank you all for your advice. I did appreciate your comments, Bue. Can I borrow your sister?
You're right... we need to talk. I have a very good open relationship with my daughter, but my future son in law has no sisters and probably doesn't realise that mums look forward to helping plan their daughters' weddings every bit as much as daughters dream of being the bride. I can see he's thinking he's doing the right thing by getting deeply involved in all the plans, but in fact, he's squeezing me out. And as much as I try and I tell myself I'm not bothered, I should let them get on with it, I'm ashamed to admit I'm starting to feeling resentful towards him...and I really don't want that. My daughter has said she wants me to get excited with her about the planning...but quite frankly at the moment, I just wish they'd run away.
So any brides out there reading this and moaning about their mother...remember, she might be on the internet moaning about you too
Help - I dont know what to say really, I hope you get sorted.
I missed out on my Mum's involvement first time round and I can honestly say we've had some fo the best fun planning this wedding, I hope a good chat clears the air for you and you get to enjoy the day.
Aw this is sad. It sounds like they felt a certain sense of entitlement to your financial contribution. It does sound like a lot of it is coming from the groom rather than your daughter though!
My mum is being an absolute dream to be honest and my wedding is as much about her as it is about us! She's letting us have everything we want (ie venue, dress, food, music, decor etc) and it's lovely to see how excited she is about it all but she's being amazingly helpful too- suggesting bits and bobs for favours, florists etc.. and she buys all the wedding magazines!
I'm sorry your daughter isn't involving you more, that's part of the fun for me!
That said, it doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong! Keep up the enthusiastic emails/texts/calls etc.. like, just saw some lovely wedding flowers in x magazine, I must show you! (etc)
That shows you're interested but you're not being pushy.. and the dress shopping will be fun with her won't it? Buy her some magazines and try and have a low-key lunch with her to show how excited you are (without him there buggering it up!!).
No, to be fair, money has never been an issue.
I think I'll get my husband to sit in and 'referee' our chat. He's probably the best one to see if either of us is being overly sensitive or unreasonable and won't be afraid to say so (in the nicest possible way!).
Thanks, guys. This isn't something I'd rather not discuss with friends - you can never 'unsay' something unkind said in the heat of the moment.
MOB, I hope this comment doesn't come across as harsh, as it's kindly meant, but part of your second post makes me think there may need to be some mental adjustment on both sides of this situation. I can clearly see the adjustment needed on your DD and SIL-to-be's side, especially as you are paying for the wedding and as others have comments on that, I won't, but I wanted to offer you another perspective.
I've never been a MOB, or even (for another few months!) a mother, but I have recently been a bride. One thing that gradually dawned on me, maybe too slowly, is that a wedding, for all it's a celebration, is also a landmark in a mother/daughter relationship, and not necessarily a wholly comfortable or happy one for the mother.
As children grow into adults, they increasingly develop and lead their own lives. The relationship with their parents evolves. As much as the mother/daughter relationship is never "replaced", when a woman marries, she is taking another person, her new husband, to be the most important/central "other" in her life. This process has almost certainly happened gradually over time, but the wedding, and the planning of it, can be quite a stark illustration to the parents of the couple of the extent to which their children now lead lives independent of them.
As much as we women dream and plan of all the wonderful things we hope the future holds for us and our families (and I'm already dreaming and hoping about the future life of the little girl I'm carrying ), ultimately, it is their life to live as they choose and there comes a point where parents have to take a step back. You have long dreamed of helping your daughter plan her wedding, and it sounds as though she wants your involvement too, but is there a chance that in your excitement to be living part of your daughter's life that you have long dreamed about, you may not be giving quite enough recognition to the idea that it is their day (your daughter and future soon-in-law's) and not yours?
You comment that "I can see he's thinking he's doing the right thing by getting deeply involved in all the plans, but in fact, he's squeezing me out". My gut reaction reading that sentence was: "but he's entitled to be more involved in the plans than anyone else (except possibly the bride!), it's his wedding and anyone else is only entitled to be involved to the extent that he and his fiancée want them to be!". Your financial contribution to the day obviously alters this balance somewhat, but I imagine you gave your generous contribution in the hope they would have the wedding day that they would enjoy.
I think part of the difference in perspective between mothers and daughters in your situation may be a generational thing. I cottoned-on, rather late in hindsight, to the fact that my mother had had very little say in the organisation of her own wedding as at the time the bride's parents generally arranged (and paid for) everything; and against that backdrop, I think she had simply always assumed, with no domineering intent, she would have a significant deciding say in my wedding. Whereas, my DH and I were starting from a polar opposite perspective, of assuming that it was "our day": our preferences and opinions would be the deciding ones and others' involvement would be subsidiary to that (it is possibly relevant that we were also paying).
I'm not saying that either view is better, or preferable, and I think the egocentric approach of many modern couples (myself included) is certainly very open to criticism and doesn't always reflect well on us, but in my own wedding planning I came to realise that some of the difficulties my mother and I were having seemed to stem from the fact we were starting from totally different perspectives. Our expectations of the roles each of us would play simply didn't match-up.
I hope this may help you to understand where your daughter and son-in-law-to-be are coming from and maybe interpret their behaviour/reactions in a different light. Good luck. I hope you manage to get things sorted out and enjoy the planning, the wedding and all the lovely things that I'm sure the future holds for your newly-enlarged family.
Wow, that is a scarily accurate assessment! No offence taken. The observation about the different generational expectations is absolutely spot on.
My head is agreeing with you 100%. But however much I try and kid myself otherwise, my heart's still struggling not to be resentful. I suppose I never anticipated that the groom would want to be so involved so maybe I just need to put on a smile and 'deal with it'.
Glad it didn't cause offence MOB! I think you're feelings are totally natural and I fully expect to feel exactly the same in 30ish years' time. I hope I can remember then what I feel now, but somehow I doubt it
Maybe everyone concerned (me included!) needs to bear in mind that this is one day out of a lifetime. There are plenty things to get stressed about in life and a celebration for family and friends (for surely this is what any wedding should actually be about?) should be way down the list.
There, I've taken my chill pill
If any of those chill pills are good for over-anxious first time mums-to-be, pass them over!
Would second Wombat wholeheartedly. My mum was exactly the same, her wedding was organised totally by her mother. By the time I eventually got married I was very used to organising everything myself and found her
criticisms helpful suggestions quite difficult as although she was wanting changes based on ideas that she felt were right, they rarely took into account the issues I was having to deal with or the personalities involved. In the end I asked her to take on handling the RSVPs and that worked well. Perhaps you could ask your daughter if there is anything she would like you to sort out for her?
Maybe we need to put together a job description for the perfect MOB. Shall I start?
1. Should be seen (preferably in a colour that will 'go' with the overall colour scheme) but not heard (unless it's to agree enthusiastically with everything the bride suggests).
2. Should be grateful for the offer of any little task the bride can come up with to 'keep her occupied and out of my hair'. (We know that's what you tell your friends).
3. Should be available on the end of the phone at any time to lend a sympathetic ear for whatever drama, however trivial, has unfolded that day. Repeat as necessary, ad infinitum.
4. Should take on the chin any comment from the bride that you're interfering whilst resisting the overwhelming temptation to call her Bridezilla. This is because we love you, DDs, and we don't want to hurt your feelings but jeez, it's hard at times.
Any more, anyone?
Must be perfectly telephathic so when she's asked for her view she gives only the 'right' answer?
Your (1) made me laugh out loud! All the wedding magazines suggest the bride encourages her mum to pick an outfit that complements the colours the bridesmaids etc are wearing to make her feel more 'part' of the wedding party. I tentatively shared this with my mother (my bridesmaids, ushers etc were in sort of vintage style dusky rose and creams). She chose an outfit in bright orange and florescent pink (in fairness, she looked fabulous in it)
Oh, wedding magazines? So that's where that idea came from.
Yes, that might be my ultimate revenge if I get really p****d off....
Have you seen the models they use for MOB outfits? They all look about 30, 5ft 10" and size 8.
I would print this and go through it with your daughter to see where she needs/would like/would tolerate your input. Tell her you want to be involved because you are happy for her and chappy and don't want to be the cause of any stress, but that you are not a mind reader and thus need to know where you can help out.
I got my husband to mediate. He sat down with her and let her speak freely and then gently explained to both of us how the other felt...and do you know, it's been absolutely fine since. Somehow, it just cleared the air for both of us, and we had a bit of a laugh about how silly we were both being as it seems she was stressing about the relationship too.
I knew I was being irrationally jealous and resentful but giving myself a good talking to just didn't work.
I'm happy to report that our latest discussion is whether we can both really justify splashing out on some statement shoes. At last, the planning is fun!
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