- 8 years ago
- Wedding: March 2011
*WARNING* Ridiculously long post ahead. I needed to vent. Feel free to turn back! 🙂
My mother is driving me crazy. My mom and I have always had lots of ups and downs in our relationship. I love her dearly (and I know she loves me) but she’s always had an interesting approach to showing it. She’s not one for showing emotion, and if she has something important to say it’s always going to come in the form of written word. She’s not going to sit you down and talk to you. We’ve always been very sarcastic and banter back and forth, but it’s usually light hearted and fun. However, she can make or break how I feel about something. Her approval makes me feel confident in my decisions, but her disapproval or questioning makes me feel like I’ve made the worst choice possibly.
So, I started dating the boy back in December. I’m 23, and he’s my first real relationship. I dated around in high school and college, but never had an actual boyfriend. Mom seemed ok with the idea but not completely enthused (probably thinking I’d only date him a few months since I’d never been one to date long term). After about 3 months of dating him, I started casually mentioning to her that I thought this relationship had potential to move towards marriage. She seemed surprised by the idea, but she didn’t seem against it by any means. She just kept talking about how she wanted me to be sure. After these conversations, she would often joke about how she met a cute boy at the gym or ask me how guys I dated in high school were doing and how she “missed having them around.” Whenever she would say these things, I would laugh it off and jokingly remind her I’m taken. I never really wanted to show it, but over time these little comments started to hurt me (and even occasionally made me question my relationship).
Fast forward to summer. Mom makes another comment about how she wants me to be sure about my relationship, and how she “just feels like she doesn’t know him.” So I make a point for us to start going out to lunch with my parents after church on Sunday (even though the boy is the youth pastor and has enough going on every Sunday) and go over to my parents’ house every once in awhile. Then, at the beginning of August, the boy asks my parents if he can marry me. From what I know, they were polite and as encouraging as they could be (like I said, Mom is not one to show emotions – especially not positive ones – and Dad is kind of the same way. I guess that’s why they work so well together!). The next week, I’m engaged 🙂
The day he proposed, we started making phone calls to tell everyone. I was nervous to talk to my parents. I knew how my mom responded would either make me feel great, or totally crush me. Well. Let’s just say it was the latter of the two. I’d talked to her earlier in the day and told her we were in the mountains, she was very short with me and got off the phone quickly. (I had no idea a proposal was coming… but I guess she did). So when I called her later in the day to say “Guess what! I’m getting married!!” her response is *very flatly* “Oh. I could have guessed that.” I start to go on about how he did it and I’m not getting any conversation back from her. So I say ask her what’s wrong. Her answer “Your dad and I are going out tonight. I’m ironing right now and my skirt won’t lay right.” Really…. I’m telling you I’m getting married and you are so focused on ironing your skirt that you cannot talk to me. I try not to make a big deal about it and say “Ok, well I’ll talk to you later then!” But let’s be real – that’s not the response a daughter wants. I didn’t need an overly excited response, but a “That’s great!” or “I’m happy for you!” would have been nice.
A few days later I went to lunch with my mom. During our lunch we talk vaguely about wedding planning and whatnot. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of how my mom was making me feel, but I did tell her, “I only need one thing from you for this wedding. Please don’t have a bad attitude. I need you to be positive. That’s all I ask.”
Soon after we had that talk, I start trying to talk to my mom about wedding plans. The boy and I are planning a large church wedding. He has a ton of friends and family (I have a small family and am the introvert of the two of us). He works at the church. I’ve grown up there. We both feel it’s important that the whole church is invited, so we’re looking at 300+ people. Mom is immediately concerned about the cost and logistics. But let me explain, Mom and Dad are not technically paying for the wedding. My parents were super smart about money. When my sister and I were young, they set up savings accounts for both of us where they put away money for us for college. We were always told, “You have money for college. But, if you want to get married, buy a car, etc…. It will come out of this account.” So, being the Scrooge that I am, I made sure to get LOTS of scholarships so I could keep my money in the bank for the future. My parents taught me well. I kept my money in high interest CDs and savings accounts, and now I have a nice sum of money to pay for a wedding. I tried to calm her fears, telling her I set my budget at $10,000. (My sister had a much smaller wedding and spent about $7,000). But mom is sure that spending $10,000 is going to put me in the poor house. Nevermind that I still have a large amount of money left in the bank. Nevermind that the boy and I both have steady jobs (which I realize could change in this economy). She knows the boy has student loans to pay off therefore she thinks there is no possible way we are going to make it financially. She’s also concerned that I really don’t want to have this big wedding. Mom wanted to elope when she married Dad and ended up with a big church wedding that she regretted. To her credit, I do not enjoy the spotlight. I’ve perfected the art of blending into my surrounding. Having a small wedding does have it’s moments of appeal, but I think I would be disappointed to not have ALL the people who are important to the boy and I there.
Now all this time I’ve had my issues with mom. Her comments have been hurting me all along the way, but they were things I could get over. But here’s the big one. Last week, after going bridesmaid dress shopping with my in Atlanta, I call my mom to tell her about the dresses. We start talking about how much the ones I liked cost and how I’m going to keep looking for something cheaper. Then she starts talking about how she thinks it’s selfish for brides to make their friends pay that kind of money at all. Then she says “I have a proposal for you. I will give you and the boy $5,000 to elope.” She tries to make it sound all nice an innocent, “Then you will have a husband and you can buy a new car! You need a new car.” But all I can hear is “I disapprove of your choice to have a big wedding. I disapprove of you marrying this boy. I disapprove of you.” I realize what I was hearing was a little extreme… but in that moment that’s really how I felt. I had a 4 hour drive back home and I spent a lot of those hours crying and worrying about whether I’m making the right choices or not.
I’m trying very hard to not ruin my relationship with my mother. I’ve considered just keeping her out of anything having to do with the wedding (other than showing up that day and doing her best to smile). But I’m pretty sure that will just make me feel worse. If she criticizes my choices before the day of, I can at least get over it by then. If she shows up at the wedding and says “Oh, you chose this?” Then I will be completely crushed and a wreck the entire day.
That being said, I’m trying to find positive people to surround myself with since Mom is not going to do it for me. My best friend (and maid of honor)’s mom has been super positive throughout this whole process. She’s the one I go to when I need typical “mom” excitement about things. I’m going today to try on the wedding dress I think I’m going to buy. I wanted “mom” approval before I bought it. So I invited my mom (negative nancy), my best friend’s mom, and my mentor from church. I know the other 2 women will be positive and excited for me, so I’m hoping their excitement will rub off on my mom (either that or they will sit her down and tell her CHILL!)
Thanks for listening bees! If you have any other advice on how to deal with a difficult mother, feel free to share! I’m all ears!