Check out on Sunday

A favorite website of mine,, run by two fantastic ladies, Rachel Sarah and Dr. Leah Klungness, is holding a contest this Sunday for my books. Check it out at

Even if you don’t participate in the contest, I guarantee you that you will love this website.


In the Heat of the Wedding

Our car’s outside temperature had registered 106 on Saturday as we climbed out to go to an outdoor wedding ceremony in Virginia. I’m sure I’ve been hotter in my life; I just can’t remember when. As the wedding guests squirmed in their seats in search of a whiff of a breeze, the bride entered the patio. Ebullient and radiant, her smile infected us all. What heat?

Besides the unseemly temperatures, this was a memorable wedding for another reason. It involved three mothers: the bride’s, the groom’s, and the groom’s stepmother. A recipe for in-law disaster. Yet it wasn’t. And to this I not only credit the bride, who showered all three moms with attention and appreciation, but the groom’s mom as well. (Okay, full disclosure: I’m a friend of the groom’s mom.)

Seriously, a lot could have gone awry. The children’s two mothers were as different as…well, you decide. One is a native New Yorker, the other a Midwesterner. The ceremony included a pastor who wore a robe embroidered with a gold cross and a tallis (a Jewish prayer shawl) draped over his shoulders. A unity candle was lit. A glass was broken. A marriage forged.

And during the reception, everyone danced. Naturally, the bride and groom. But the three moms as well. The differences between the families of the bride and the groom were celebrated rather than judged. The inclusion of the groom’s step mom was welcomed, rather than merely tolerated.

When we all raised a glass to toast the young couple (great toasts, by the way, by the bride’s sister and groom’s brother!) I actually was thinking at the time: Way to go, moms. You’ve set an example for the young couple as well as for all of us.

It’s not about us moms, it’s about our kids.


Bristol and Levi. Oh My.

I know all you mothers-in-law out there are wondering how is Levi Johnston going to make amends with a future mother-in-law he has publicly trashed and challenged. In esteemed Vanity Fair no less! Not to mention that up until this point he has shown himself to be irresponsible and unmotivated. (Oh wait, he did do that spread in Playgirl).

And now, at least according to US Weekly, he and Bristol have reconnected, are back in love, and are planning to wed. People Magazine, on the other hand, just has them getting along – no marriage plans and no engagement. Regardless of whether there is a wedding in their future, or just a renewed friendship, they DO share custody of a baby. And all of this means Levi and Sarah Palin may likely run into each other at the next family get-together. Boy, would I like to be a fly on the coleslaw at that Labor Day picnic.

So far we’ve heard from Levi who has apologized to his once (and again) future mother-in-law in a July 6 statement that read something like this, “Please accept my regrets and forgive my youthful indiscretion. I hope one day to restore your trust.”

Hmmm. What do you think? Will this happen? We still haven’t heard from the mother-in-law to be. When we do, will she be magnanimous, and forgiving or will she be unmoved by his emotional appeal? Remember, this is politics. OF COURSE, she’ll forgive him.

This on-again, off-again relationship, which has as much drama as a Lifetime yarn, will be spun into a “life lesson” of See what happens when you have unprotected sex, and It isn’t so easy living on your own and supporting a child. Is it?! (Apparently, the young couple will have to forge their way like most other young couples because, again according to People, Mom isn’t sharing the $10 million she earned from FOX and her book.)

So then maybe we can actually relate. I wonder if your son or daughter’s significant other treated them poorly and then maligned you, would you forgive him or her? Politics aside.


Four on the Fourth!

I spent July Fourth weekend down the shore (sorry, can’t shake my Philly roots) with my two kids and their significant others. It could have been a disaster. After all, I know, I wrote the book. But it was wonderful.

If you’re the mom, it’s easy to take for granted that your son likes his sister’s boyfriend, and your daughter likes her brother’s girlfriend. But when this happens, take a deep breath, look heavenward, and thank your lucky stars.

When your sons and daughters don’t like their sibling’s girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband your family will never be quite the same. Holidays will feel a little more stressful, birthday dinners a little emptier, splitting family assets a little nastier. And frankly, based on the interviews I did for the book, and from the women I meet at book events, the sibling-in-law clash can be much more challenging than the mother/daughter-in-law issue. In fact, while many women have told me they like their mother-in-law or their daughter-in-law, when I throw the sister-in-law into the batter, I get a fair share of, “Oh, her.” Oftentimes followed by, “She’s a bitch.”

So is there something we can do to help facilitate a good relationship between the siblings-in law? Yes. Even the most seemingly impossible and improbable relationships can work. They just may require a grand effort.

If you’re the significant other and his sister ignores you or is just outright rude to you, rather than clam up and act bitchy, engage her. Her arrogance will be forced out into the open for all to see, and by all, I mean your boyfriend and his mom. Invite her to do something with you without the mom. When you’re caught in the mother-daughter mix, you will likely feel like a third wheel, so extract her from her mom. And DO NOT criticize her brother to her even if she eggs you on. Anything negative will be stored in the deepest recesses of her mind. She can criticize him. You can’t. At least not in front of her.

If you’re the sister and you really don’t like this girl, you have no choice but to act supportive of the relationship anyway. If your brother truly seems miserable, it’s okay to say with soft, sisterly concern, “Are you okay? You haven’t seemed yourself?” He may think you’re referring to his job. But if he is having any doubts about his relationship, you’ve given him permission to make a change and you haven’t even mentioned her name!

On the other hand, if you don’t like the other woman but your brother seems happy, learn to figure out what he sees in her. And then spend one-on-one time with her, invite her to go for dinner or to a movie without your brother, and most definitely, without his mother.

It’s harder to get a mother-in-law to come around if her daughter doesn’t like you. Not so much the other way around. So work at first on creating a relationship with your sister-in-law (present or future).

And then I hope you, too, find yourself with happy four next Fourth.


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