The Groom's Mom – In or Out?

Sometimes I think I may regret my career as a relationship expert, particularly as the author of my latest book, It’s Either Her or Me. I counsel mothers of brides and the brides themselves to include the mother of the groom in the wedding planning.

 I’ve been to too many weddings and bridal showers as the guest of the groom’s family to ignore the potential for a lot of hurt feelings.  Even seemingly minor exclusions can create bad thoughts that tend to sit there, simmering indefinitely like a pot with an endless supply of water.

But I also understand why mothers of brides might feel possessive, not wanting to share their daughter with another woman. I also have a daughter. When she gets married aren’t I going to want to spend time alone with her, helping her select the prettiest gown, the most flattering hair style, and the most breathtaking flowers?

I’ve been with her through every important event in her life; leaving her off at her first day of kindergarten, moving her in and out of dorm rooms and apartments, consoling her when she didn’t make a team, rejoicing with her when she got her first real job. No one shared those ups and downs with me so why do I have to share the happy moments ahead?

Relax. That’s rhetorical. Cause I do.

Including the groom’s mom in as much as she would like to be included matters because this is no longer about just me and my daughter. Marriage is the first life event for our daughters that takes them out of the restricted environment of family. It’s meant to be shared with another family. And it’s the first of many future life events (think grandchildren) that are.

I hope that one day when I become the mother of the bride that I will practice what I write. I know it will take effort and compromise and a thick skin. But I also believe it will be the right thing to do.

As you know, I also have a son.


Book Talk at Borders for Father's Day

Looking for something to buy Dad for Father’s Day? I’ll be at the Borders in Bryn Mawr, PA on Saturday, June 18, 2011 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Come chat with me about Dating for Dads. The Single Father’s Guide to Dating Well Without Parenting Poorly.

 If you’re a dad, come learn how to date while maintaining your wonderful, hard-earned relationship with your kids. If you’re a kid (whether 12 or 40) maybe Dad, his new significant other, and you can learn how to make this new development great for everyone.

And if you’re neither, come anyway. I’d love to meet you!


Mom or Wife at HIS Life Events

 Here I am all know-it-all and confident teaching a workshop on nonfiction writing at the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. I’m there as a teacher, an author, and a relationship expert. By now, I think I’ve heard or been asked everything having to do with moms and daughters-in-law.  Then one of the attendees stumps me.

A psychologist who writes about military spouses, she asked me as the author of It’s Either Her or Me to weigh in on the way many military wives feel when their husbands return home from a tour and Mom is waiting with open arms.

I did an unscientific survey of a number of female friends today – all moms and all with sons. Some said of course the mother goes first enveloping the returned, much-missed son she raised.  Others said the wife. She’s his partner for life. She deserves the attention. The mom can wait.

Ooh. Ouch. I see both sides. And I’m in the process of formulating an intelligent response worthy of a RELATIONSHIP EXPERT. But in the meantime, it makes me think of how I handled my son’s graduation from graduate school last weekend. Clearly not the same thing as a son coming home from a dangerous war zone, but I was there with a lot of family and his significant other.

Me, his mom, jumped up to take his picture as they were lining up along Brown’s hilly campus in preparation for their procession. Me, his mom, rushed up to the front to take his picture as he was handed his diploma, defiantly ignoring the security guard who told me to return to my seat.

Me, ordering a special cake from a special bakery so we could surprise him at dinner.  Me, not sleeping, when I saw the size of the moving van he was using to empty his apartment in Providence and move to Washington, D.C.  And would be driving by himself.

How could I tell this writer in my workshop that the mom needs to make room for the significant other when I recalled my own actions last weekend?  And then I thought about it.

I wasn’t alone filming the procession. I was standing with his girlfriend. (And my mother, for that fact, since no one, but no one, is going to tell my 80-something mom to sit down). I wasn’t alone moving him out of his apartment. I was with his girlfriend (and some stronger folks than us, fortunately). I wasn’t alone picking up the cake. I was with his girlfriend who discovered the bakery and excitedly told me about it.

Throughout the graduation weekend, I was with my son. And I was with his girlfriend. It was perfect.

Hmmm. I believe I might know how to handle the situation involving military wives and mothers. Look for the answer in a future blog. And, as always, let me know what you think.


Join Me At The Word Studio!

There’s still time to register for my upcoming workshop (and other great events) at The Word Studio this summer. I’ll be talking about the basics of freelancing, including how to develop, create, and pitch your article to magazines on Saturday, June 18th.

To sign up, please visit or email [email protected]

Hope to see you there!


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