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Help with Mom

Hi everyone, 
I'm in a tough situation and I could really use some advice. My FI and I are both full-time students. In the graduate program I'm in, we finish our Master's in a calendar year- which for me means that I finish a couple weeks before the wedding. For the most part, Ive been doing the wedding planning myself. My FMIL know how busy I am and has helped with everything I've asked (and more). 
My mom on the other hand has been a little difficult to deal with. She and my dad are paying for most of the wedding. But since I'm so short on time with school, I need help with some of the work too. When I asked her to help with the guest list in September, I ended up doing it myself over winter break. We also don't have addresses for guests yet. I asked her to help with that, but a month later she hadn't started. Since I'm taking classes up until the wedding, I'm really worried about stuff like this getting done. When I told her that I was worried about it, she told me I was ungrateful and nasty. 
What should I do?

Re: Help with Mom

  • Couple of questions here:

    1.  Does she support your marriage to your FI?

    2.  Is this a case of a MOB having a difficult time feeling like she is "losing her daughter"?

    Has she always been like this or is this behavior out of the ordinary.
  • 1. She does support the marriage. We've been together for six years and everyone was excited when we got engaged. 
    2. I'm young - 23 years old- and I'm the older of two daughters, so that may be part of it. But when I talk about real life things (like when FI was looking for a job and we were planning on moving and looking for apartments) she doesn't seem to have a problem with that. 
    I wouldn't say this behavior is typical for her, but In the last few years my mother has become very judgemental of people who don't live up to her standards. She likes to criticize people who are overweight, people who wear sweatpants, and people who don't live up to her very stringent ettiquitte standards. 
    Sometimes I wonder if this also translates into her believing that as the MOB she is above doing work too?

  • Well it's a pretty traditional 'job' of the MOB to help compile the guest list and get addresses, so it's odd if she feels that is beneath her as opposed to, say, tying ribbons on programs, which many mothers help with but it's certainly not required.  Anything else you ask her should really be more of a courtesy to her because she and your father are paying.  I wouldn't ask her to DO anything, but I would run decisions by her before you finalize them. 

    Since she doesn't seem interested in the planning or helping out, I don't think you have to get her input during the process, but she and your father should have a final say in the things they're paying for, so you could just show her something and say, "This is the proof for the invites I am planning to order, what do you think?".  You should be prepared to do all of the legwork and DIY projects yourself, and plan accordingly in terms of your time and energy.  If you stay organized, you can make it happen even while you're in school.
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  • Fortunately I haven't had to ask my mom to do anything like tying bows. My FMIL has been more than happy to mock up projects, ask if we like them, and then help us put everything together. 
    Thanks for the vote of confidence on getting it done- but I'm taking classes up until two weeks before the wedding three hours away from the city I'm getting married in. This whole situation would feel a lot less impossible if I knew I could rely on my mom to help me out. 
  • I'm in the exact same situation with my mom. She loves FI and is completely supportive of the wedding and even wanted to help us find an apartment, but when it's anything to do with the actual wedding she's completely dragging her feet! I ended up talking to my dad about it because everytime I mentioned something about the wedding my mom would make comments about how we don't need to work on that yet and have plenty of time, etc. Finally my dad told me that my mom was just worried about losing me to FI's family and was having trouble adjusting to it. Apparently the fact that my FMIL is so willing to help with anything was also bothing my mom, you would think that would get to her want to be more involved, but obviously not. I've been trying to do everything on my own and then just asking her if she'd want to come along with me places. She agreed to run wedding errands with me this week, which is more than she's done in the past. Find other people that can support and help you through things, I know my dad and MOH have been a big help, and don't rely on her to get things done for you. Find out what the root of the problem might actually be and try to make her feel included in other ways without asking her to do things for you.
  • The problem though is that it doesn't seem like you CAN rely on your mom for help since she accused you of being nasty when you'd asked about whether she'd collected addresses for you.  (I'm assuming that you were in fact not nasty and that your mom has the tendency to be snarky about other people lately as you described!) So you have to find a way to do this without being able to rely on your mom since she does NOT seem interested in the process.

    It's super hard to be a student and juggle everything that a student has to juggle, but you'll likely just have to find a way to figure out how to do this on your own.  It sucks--but your mom is supportive of your relationship with your FI, and she's paying for the wedding.  If she gets defense about doing more, don't ask her too; she's already footing the bill.

    G'luck.  You can do it!
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