Moms and Maids

Needing some thoughts about planning with my mom.


I had a bit of a rough weekend with my mom and was hoping for some thoughts/ideas on dealing with the situation. 

Let me start by letting you know that a) she is the queen of cold shoulder and making you feel guilty, b) if you don't do it her way you get to deal with above, c) she has a crystal clear memory for remembering any slight against her, even if you have apologized, and will remind you of the slight even years later d) she is a fantastically strong, independent woman with a fun personality and I do admire that. Both she and my dad are paying for the food/drink at the wedding. So that being said here is a synopsis of what's been happening:

We have already changed the venue 4 times. Option #1 which was my dream wedding up at a conference centre by the lake that our family goes to every year. Well it was too tacky according to her and got ruled out. Option #2 was 1.5 hr away from our hometown but where my fiance and I currently live and therefore it was selfish of us to make people drive according to her therefore ruled out. Option #3 meant she could only invite some of her friends therefore ruled out. Option #4 is fine according to her - I'm was just so worn out by the process, who cares anymore.

After that I decided that I would stick to my own plan for the wedding. That is where the battle is occurring. I tell her my ideas and plans because I want her to be a part of it because she matters to me but now I don't want to tell her anything. Any idea that I have had she debates and then will make comments suggesting I change it and will list the reasons why I shouldn't do it. When she has an idea she will repeat it constantly until I say 'yes'. If I say 'I will think about it' she proceeds to do the guilt/ignore thing and will then bring up my reaction to the question at an inappropriate time.

For example, this weekend she pushed and pushed the idea that she and dad should sit with my fiance's parents at the reception. I like that idea BUT I know that my fiance's parents have already mentioned sitting with some out of town family they never see. But they are so good natured that that they would do anything I wanted but I don't always want to be dictating to them (they have already been run over by my mom on several occasions). So all I kept saying is "I'll think about it and let's wait to see who can make it to the wedding". Wrong answer. Regardless of the explanation of why I was waiting, she kept pushing. Finally I just snapped and said "fine, you can all sit together". Well apparently I didn't say it "sweet" enough and I should be so "uptight" and "the wedding doesn't have to be perfect". Sigh. So now I'm getting the cold shoulder cause I wasn't "sweet" when I agreed to her idea. I'm so tired of this.

Later in the day my mom came to me and I thought we'd discuss the issue (like we usually do) and then move on. Except she said "I just came to get permission to wear a dress to your bridal shower". I said that was fine and a good idea and asked what dress she would be wearing. She told me that it didn't matter because I don't care what she wears (referencing an event that took place a year ago where my mom said "I'm going to wear a hot sexy little number to your wedding" and I said "I don't care what you wear as long as you are there" and my mom took it as "I don't care what you wear" - whole other issue, I apologized at length and here it is a year later she brings it up). I told her that it hurt she'd bring that up after we had resolved the issue and I asked what I did wrong that she was acting this way. Well, WRONG question. And cycle repeats. At that point my sister arrived, we had lunch and then I took off.

I really don't know how much of this I can take. It has been the same reaction/cycle to anything I didn't agree with instantly (my dress, the flowers, the centerpieces, my shoes, a veil, hiring a limo, hiring a professional for my hair, the guest list on and on and on). I have tried talking to her and explaining that it is my wedding and I'd like some things to go my way but she doesn't seem to get it.

I don't want to just give in and say 'do whatever you want' because this is my wedding to the most fantastic man. My fiance has been a huge support through this and actually stepped in on some discussions this weekend because it was getting out of control (e.g. I had set aside rooms at a nearby hotel about 8 months ago and my mom insisted we go to the hotel to see it and once we where there she started questioning the front desk about group rates, shuttle bus packages etc - we had already done that and signed a contract. I told her we had already taken care of it, she didn't listen so my fiance stepped in and let her know we had already done this and then my mom backed off). But he can't start he life with me thinking he'll have to be on the defensive with my mom.

How should I handle this?? I don't want to exclude her and I don't want to just give her free reign on whatever she wants to do. I've tried talking to her but she doesn't seem to get it and more often then not just brushes it off and calls me dramatic and controlling.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you :)

Re: Needing some thoughts about planning with my mom.

  • orangecrayonorangecrayon member
    Fourth Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I have one question: can you and your future husband pay for the food/drink at the wedding? If so tell your mom that you appreciated everything she's done but she's going to extreme with dictating you what you can and cannot do for your wedding.

    Maybe if you tell her that she'll realize it and back off. She might be offended if you say that to her but then she'll get the point that you need things your way. I am slightly in a similar position, because my parents are paying for my guests at the reception they forced me into having uneven sides because if my biitch sister isn't part of the wedding they don't want to go - and she doesn't really talk to me about plans or anything. But i made it very clear that yes it is their money but i am making all the decisions whether they like it or not.

    I know your mom is pushing you to the maximum and it should be a fun time with planning, consider doing the planning alone. So for example if you haven't picked out the limo, go with your future husband, pick it out and pay for it and then come home and say "we picked out and paid for the limo" and thats the end of the discussion. Or let them pay for the food/drink for their guests while you and future husband pay for all the other guests like friends that your inviting.

    It's all i can really think about, just sit down all 4 of you and make it very clear you appreciate the money they're putting into it but they need to realize that it is your wedding, one day of your life and if they can't put you first instead of themselves, make a guesture that you and FH will pay.
  • edited December 2011
    My mother is kinda like yours - albeit on a somewhat smaller scale.  But I do kinda get what you're going through.  My parents eloped, and from what I saw last year while my sister was planning her wedding, to this year planning mine - I can just tell that since she never had that "big day," she pushes really hard to get things that she wants.  The thing is, you just have to put your foot down.

    You need to have a conversation with your mother - you gotta sit down and calmly talk things out without anyone overreacting.  I know it's tough because my mom is really touchy too and can take one little thing that was said and twist it into something horrible.  So you just have to be clear and persistent.

    Express your gratitude for her help with the wedding costs, and that you do value her input on several things - but that ultimately, even though you do want her help, you want to be at your wedding at see things that YOU envisioned, not things that she badgered you into having because she thinks it's the right thing.

    Good luck.
  • llgusllgus member
    edited December 2011
    I totally feel your pain - my mom is acting very similar!
    Without my parents and their financial help, we wouldn't be having the wedding we're having, so there's some things I have to let go on.
    At the end of the day, I realized I don't really care about the cake or the flowers - I'm getting married to the man I love and that's all that matters. If she's so adament about having things her way ... I suppose I have to let her ... or fight the entire time up to my wedding (which isn't fun!).
    Interested to hear what advice people have out there on how to deal with this situation.
  • scpalmtree06scpalmtree06 member
    edited December 2011
    Sounds like your mother is an expert player of emotional games.  She knows how to get her way, probably not only from you but also your father, her parents, and every other person who is close to her. 

    IMO, if you really want the cycle to end, you're going to have to be the one to break it yourself.  If you say X and she says Y, say "Well, I'm going with X."  If her sulking and cold shoulder begin, then just ignore it.  She knows you'll give into her eventually, so of course she's going to continue playing the game because she knows she'll win.  It's not until you change the rules that she stops.

    That being said, I know she's your mother and obviously you want to be close to her and enjoy the wedding planning process, not to mention every other area of life in her family.  You're going to have to risk hurting her feelings a little bit in order to break the cycle, so at the end of the day you're going to have to decide what you want more: what you want (which is understandable) or a happy mother.
  • edited December 2011
    She is doing it now because it has worked for her in the past.  You can sit down with her and talk, like all the PP's say, but don't be surprised if she persists.  For her to understand that it will no longer work is going to be painful...I promise you.  I have been there with my mother...and she is no longer speaking to me.  So, you have to be prepared for the possibilities.

    The other option is to pay your own way and take her out of the equation.  While that will allow you to make your own choices, it probably won't make her happy either.

    I'm sorry, honey.  It is an awful place to be.  Know that you are not alone.
    My baby girl is a married woman...and now my baby girl HAS a baby girl. Time unfolds in such an amazing way. I've been blessed!
  • melissamc2melissamc2 member
    edited December 2011
    I really think the only long-term workable option is to stop giving in and just stand up for yourself.

    It isn't her wedding, so don't let her treat it as if it is.  I'd decline the money because no amount of financial help is worth giving up personal choice to me.  I also think this has got to be bothering your fiance to some degree, even if he never makes a big deal of it.  You're right, he shouldn't have to start his life with you thinking he'll always be on the defensive with your Mom, but he also shouldn't have to start his life with you thinking that you'll give into whatever your Mother says just to avoid a fight.  What if she starts it up when you have children?  I've seen cases where women almost take a backseat to parenting their own children because their Moms just push and push and push until they've taken over.  I know it SOUNDS unthinkable and that you'd "never let that happen," but did you really think you'd let your wedding excitement be ruined by your Mom's actions?

    Stop this cycle now.  You're an adult.  If for whatever reason she can't just see that on her own, and let go, then you'll have to force the issue.  If she complains about you being forceful and selfish - tell her you must take after her. :)

    Good luck.  You should be having the wedding you and your fiance want - and I hope that can happen. 
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you so much for all your thoughts. I have some things to think about now. I think I need to take a stand and stick with it.

    When we were going through the wedding venue fiasco I remember being so upset. We actually drove to my parents house (1.5 hr away) to sit down with them and decline their financial help so that we could choose the venue we wanted. I politely explained our position and declined the money and why we were declining the money (my mom's comments/behaviour etc). That sent my mom over the edge. She actually screamed (not yelled, screamed - it went sort of high pitched), stormed out of the house and slammed the door. My poor dad was stunned and didn't know what to do. We all sat in silence for about 20 minutes and then she came back in and became very defensive. My fiance and I had prepared a list of other venues we were interested in that might suit all involved (cause really, the first three places were kinda wrecked in my mind by then). At that point we left, and the next place we saw we liked, it fit the basic "requirements" set by both parents so we booked it. Once my mom knew it was booked she then reversed her thoughts about providing financial help and demanded that she/dad pay for the food/drink because "what will people think if we don't pay for our daughters wedding".  At that point we figured at least she wasn't ticked about the venue so fine, she can pay food/drink (especially since there was little to be debated as the place only has one package to buy).

    I guess I do need to talk to her again but I dread it. It's like talking to a child, a highly intelligent child but still a child. She does seem to understand anyone else's view but her own. And if she doesn't like what she hears then she either won't remember it or changes it to something she would like to hear.

    Is email too tacky to do this over? The reason I ask is then there is a written account of what I'm saying. And she can't twist my words (like she did with the attire issue I mentioned in my previous post).

    Thank you :)
  • melissamc2melissamc2 member
    edited December 2011
    I honestly think email is the BEST approach at this point.   It allows you to thing things through completely, state your thoughts/feelings on the situation WITHOUT BEING INTERRUPTED, and gives your Mom time to actually digest what you've said without having everyone watching her for an immediate reaction.  Your Mom sounds like the type who usually reacts impulsively and defensively,  thus getting the entire conversation off track and back on HER terms.  You want to avoid that.

    Plus, as you said, you'll have a written account of what you said if it ever comes up.  I know a lot of people would wonder why you'd feel you need that, but I suspect those people won't have had prior dealings with people like your Mother.  If she tells your Father you said such and such, you can print out your email and let him see it directly, as opposed to a "she said/she said' situation arising.  Or worse, if she goes to your fiance or his'll be able to prove your side.  Normally I wouldn't jump to someone being so calculated and manipulative, but your Mom, as you've described her, fits the bill.  The fact that she had no problem screaming about it right in front of your fiance shows that tact and discretion aren't her strong points.

    Good luck!
  • Sweetie1and2Sweetie1and2 member
    edited December 2011
    I think we must have the same mother...
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Granted, when the parents pay for a large share of the wedding, they get some say in the planning. Some moms are more controlling than others. I think this is a good time for you to learn how to stand up for yourself.

    It takes two to argue. You don't have to let every decision turn into an argument. State your opinion. If mom gets critical, excuse yourself. Walk away and let her have a chance to think about things. Once she realizes she can't wear you down so easily she may start treating you  like an adult.
  • sarah42ndsarah42nd member
    edited December 2011
    Personally I think you need to stand up for your self and your FH . If you let her be this way just wait till you have her grandchildren . It might  come to the point where you don't talk to here for a year and maybe she will finally understand that your an adult . Hope it works out.
  • edited December 2011

    holy momzilla!!

    If i was in your shoes, I have no idea what Id do however based on a previous experience I took my mom and future mother in law and sister in law, to the venue I dreamed about only to be told by my mom shes goin to try and talk to them about a deal to come down on a price. I basically told her up front. No way. Money talk is all mine Im paying for it. You are not paying for a thing you dont have a say. Sorry but she brags about being cheap and not paying for a thing ya know?
    But in your case Id think about what a previous gal said about you and your FI going and getting things done already and then just annoucing. No going back on that one :) Good luck!

    My Shoes :)Photobucket
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you all for your help and thoughts. It really helps to have some ideas from  people who are not involved directly. I think I will let all wedding issues rest for a few days and then write her a calm email letting her know my thoughts (without getting into nit picky stories cause I don't want to play it that way).

    As well I think I'll just plan stuff.  I will let her know that I am open to positive suggestions but I won't acknowledge any temper tantrums that may occur if the suggestion isn't used or I don't agree with the suggestion (even immediately).

    And finally, thanks for reminding me I am an adult (with a professional career, making pretty big decisions daily) not a 6 year old (like she makes me feel sometimes).

    Worse comes to worse I'll just call her by HER mother's name as she DOES NOT want to be compared to her mother (my mom is basically acting like my grandmother did to her and my mom hated it). **I'M JUST KIDDING** Calling her that would be a death sentence and pretty mean. Guess I'm more my dad then my mom.

    Thanks again for all the help! And happy, low stress planning to everyone!

  • Beachy730Beachy730 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011

    OP- I only read about your dad when you talked about the venue.  Does he stick up for her or you?  Or neither?  My mom isn't this bad, but throughout the planning she has had some moments.  And whenever I say its our wedding it should be our decision, she calls me bridezilla (I'm a pretty laid back bride).  The biggest problem was when she thought my brother should be a GM and got very upset with me and started questioning my relationship with FI when I said FI hadn't chose him.  I was in the car driving and pretty much crying my eyes out.  Usually when she gets upset there is no reasoning with her, especially over the phone.  So I did the only thing I could think at the time and called my dad (they're still married) and cried to him and explained the situation and asked him to talk to her . So he called her and told her how ridiculous she was being and in the end its my wedding not hers.  So yeah it wasn't the most mature thing to do probably but it worked.  So for me its a big help to have someone level headed on my side that isn't afraid to tell her to back off. 

    The one thing though I have to say though is that if she is paying some then she does get some opinions.  But give her something less important to you.  To me, flowers aren't that important, but they are to her.  So she is paying for the flowers and picked to have floral centerpieces and things, with my input as well.  She keeps adding more and more flowers to pin onto people at the ceremony which I think is absurd, but she says she is paying for these flowers and she wants these people to wear flowers.  Thats an argument thats just not worth the fight. 

    I would talk to her like you have said, and see if there's anyone else that can stand up to her to help you.  Weddings are stressful enough as it is.  But since you are paying for everything else I think you have every right to just pick it and book it.  I know you want her to be a part of the process but its not worth the stress and drama. 

    imageBabyFruit Ticker
  • edited December 2011
    Thanks dnbeach12! Good idea to talk to my dad. He's kinda like me and likes to avoid crazy drama. He will stick up for himself and his daughters but often needs a prompt. Staying out of issues unless needed is actually probably a smart move on his part considering his family is all women (aka drama machines)!
    Thanks again to everyone for their help!
  • edited December 2011
    I agree with the PPs...and would add that if she's paying for the food/drink that's what she gets input on. If you are paying for everything else, tell her to mind her own business (in a nicer way of course). I feel that if she wants opinions on venues, dresses, hair, veils, etc, then she should cough up the cash for it.

    Definitely get your dad involved, cause obviously what you are saying or doing isn't working. While my step mother is nothing like this I can imagine how hard it must be to be told that every idea or vision you have for your wedding is wrong. It would hurt alot.

    She sounds like an over grown toddler whose had her toys taken away. And the best thing to be done is to let her throw her hissy fit, ignore her and wait for her to come talk to you. If she continues to be mean immediately stop the conversation and say you won't talk to her until she's calmed down. It may take a while to get the message but eventually she will at least learn that you aren't going to argue with her. Change the rules of her little game and she won't know what hit her.
  • emjohn1019emjohn1019 member
    edited December 2011

    It's hard to hear, but I'd give up the dream wedding and planning on only what you, your fiance, and your dad can afford. Don't involve her. As long as she's paying, she'll feel the need to have a say. And if your parents are still married, ask your father to step in on your behalf.

    And I'm going through all this with my mom, except she won't give me any money, but still expects to be involved with the whole process. I love my mom, but she's been married three times and done things her way. It's my turn.

    I've given up my dream wedding so that no one has control over the day but my fiance and I.  I read this somewhere and it really helped me: "It only takes 5 things to get married: a bride, a groom, a judge/officiant, a witness, and a marriage license." Everything else is icing on the cake.

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