Your Mother… Perfect Mum, Martyr or Drama Queen on Your Big Day: Take The Quiz!
A while ago I came across a brilliant advice post by one of my sponsors on her photography blog and it totally resonated with me. In the hope that it might help other brides-to-be suffering at the hands of an over-bearing mother I decided to re-share.
Natalie covers this sensitive topic [especially for me] with insight and grace and there is also a quiz to help you figure out how your Mum might behave on your wedding day, and most importantly – how to deal with it.
Because when it comes to our wedding days… some Mum’s can kick up quite a fuss…
Word and images by Natalie Martin Photography
Time and time again I see certain dynamics between mums and daughters at weddings, both of friends and of clients. I think it stems from mothers actually having a tiny internal breakdown that their baby is getting married, but rather than talk about it they go one of two ways:
They simmer just above ‘breakdown’ levels not quite letting themselves go, turning into a ball of nervous energy, ‘flapping’ like there’s no tomorrow and cause you, the bride, an unimaginable amount of extra stress.
Because then what happens is you bite your tongue for so long that it all becomes too much on the wedding day when she starts flapping about the corsages being late and you scream across the bridal suite ‘FOR GOD’S SAKE MUM, WILL YOU SHUT UP!!’ to the horror of your bridesmaids and hair stylist… and yourself.
Congratulations, you’ve just made your mum cry on your wedding day… for the wrong reasons.
Here’s to bursting into tears and walking down the aisle feeling emotionally wrought… sigh.
They go the opposite way and start competing with their own daughters! This is more subtle, but as an outsider you can see it – they make it all about themselves instead of their baby girl.
The mum who has to get ready herself before she can help her daughter into her dress, who is constantly dismissing the things the daughter wants to do, who keeps throwing in anecdotes about her own wedding day, who even makes snarky comments putting her daughter down on the morning of her own wedding.
I don’t think they even realise they’re doing it, but I can see on the brides’s faces all they want is their mum to say is how beautiful they look, and all they’re getting is ‘Why have you done your make-up like that?’ or ‘oh god, I am so stressed right now, I need a break/drink… (etc)’.
Making you feel stressed in a totally different way than you already are.
Lets Nip This In The Bud Ladies.
Only you know what your dynamic with your mum is. You know you love her, you know she loves you, but when under pressure do you work as a team or do you antagonise each other?
Quick quiz (cos we all love a quiz, right?):
You and your mum are on a road trip and the GPS fails, you say ‘it’s ok lets just use a map like olden times!’. What happens next?:
- You and your mum pull over, grab the map from the glove compartment, agree on where you’re most likely to be on the map, agree on the direction to next take, and then one of you confidently navigates the other to the final destination.
- Your mum grabs a paper bag from the glove compartment and starts hyperventilating into it because what if there are murderers around here and also she didn’t pack anything to eat or drink…
- Your mum can’t find the map, immediately says this is typical of you to not be prepared and she’s never getting in a car with you again, and promptly has to ‘get some air’.
You’re having a nice dinner at your mums and you accidentally spill red wine on her new cream carpet. What happens next?:
- You both jump up and run to kitchen, one grabs the salt and water, the other grabs clean, white cloths and you get to work whilst profusely apologising, and her reassuring you it’s ok.
- The colour drains from your mums face and she starts trembling with a maniacal smile on her face, you quietly grab a cloth and start scrubbing the floor saying how sorry you are, you mum keeps saying ‘it’s fine, it’s fine’ without looking at you or the floor…
- You freeze, your mum storms into the kitchen grabs the cleaning equipment and then when you try to help she says just let her do it herself and fans you away. You sit awkwardly for the rest of the meal looking at the stained carpet out of the corner of your eye.
You’re out on a walk with your mum and a gorgeous young man approaches you and asks for your number. What happens next?:
- Your mum beams proudly and lets you handle it, then giggles with you afterwards.
- Your mum turns into an uncomfortable, embarrassed wreck, steps between you and starts frantically apologising and explaining in a long-winded circular, never-ending way that you’re engaged and couldn’t possibly give your number…to the point you are actually connecting with the poor guy based on sympathetic eye contact alone.
- Your mum interrupts you to say “she’s taken mate, but hey – I’m single, and I’m way more experienced…*wink wink*”.
If you answered:
You LUCKY DUCK! You have the perfect relationship with your mum! How has this happened? She’s totes amazeballs, def have her by your side throughout the day. You can leave this blog now and enjoy your perfect day.
Your mum may drive you insane on your wedding morning, you may want to keep her away.
Your mum may make your wedding morning all about her or cause drama, and you could feel resentful towards her as a result.
So, serious stuff now. How do we handle our mums (other than elope) when the time comes for them to play mother-of-the-bride on our big day? I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, and listening and learning, and I have some suggestions below that might help:
Type A mums… (mostly 2’s)
I would suggest finding a ‘buffer’, maybe a close friend or relative who is close enough to your mum to know and love her for who she is and to manage her. Someone who can see if she starts getting flappy and give her errands to distract her.
Someone who can affectionately tell her to take a breath and calm down if she starts flapping, so that you don’t have to. Someone to remind her to get dressed, do her hair, reassure her on lip colour… give her a little support so that you don’t have to.
Type B mums… (mostly 3’s)
Hmm, if your mum wants to be star of the show then let her. Don’t give her any ‘duties’ at all. Just because she’s your mum doesn’t mean she needs to be there on your wedding morning if you don’t think she will contribute anything.
If she’s going to act more like you’re keeping her away from somewhere else she’d rather be, or she’s going to make you feel inferior, give her her own show. Tell her you’d love her to greet the guests at the church/venue and make sure the vicar/registrar has everything under control. Give her a bit of power in another area.
Or… if that’s not an option, just be ready to stand on your own two feet and not expect anything. She’s probably struggling to let go and not dealing with it very well. Ask anyone but her for assistance, let her do her thing and be ‘around’ if she wants to be, but have your emotional armour on from the get go.
Whichever buttons our mums press, if we have chosen to invite them then clearly they’re pretty important to us, and finding a way to enjoy our day with them (and not through clenched teeth!) is a worthwhile investment.
Thanks so much to Natalie Martin Photography for the advice and a totally insightful post.