Saying that the relationship between a mother and daughter is complicated is an understatement. The mother/daughter relationship starts out in a relatively simple way with the mom having most of the control and the daughter dependent on their mom. That doesn’t last long though, as soon as your daughter has the power to express herself, you can be darn sure that she will. That’s when then simplicity of your relationship begins to be challenged.
First, she heads off to preschool where she will stand on her own two skinny little chicken legs and take her first steps towards becoming her own person.
The next minute, your daughter will become a tween who trades in her absolute dependence on you for her own interests. The power struggles begin.
In a blink, now your daughter is off to college and that last little remaining bit of her childhood is ready to disappear as she loves on her own and makes her own way in the world. Getting a job, situating herself in the world and becoming her own person are the focus.
Now, you know what might come next. Your wonderful, accomplished and independent daughter will be announcing her engagement. My own daughter got married 4 years ago. It was an exciting time for sure, but came with its own set of stresses.
At this point it is important to understand that while your daughter will be busy with the wedding planning process, she does also need your support. This dynamic can be stressful for both of you as you will want to avoid the whole Momzilla Vs. Bridezilla carnage. There are a few ways to navigate this new terrain without stepping on any toes.
Mother of the Bride Survival Guide
Remember Whose Wedding it is
If you are helping to finance the wedding of your daughter’s dreams, chances are you might expect that you will have the final say when it comes to making decisions. The sooner you realize that it’s her wedding and that you are just there to support her, the better. The truth is, weddings aren’t going to be the same all the time and traditions that were once important when it came time to get married, may not matter to your daughter. With my daughter, I established limits. This is how much I can commit to paying for. This is what I can commit to doing for you. Beyond that, I offered suggestions of things I had seen done before or found on Pinterest, but I stepped back and let her and her husband-to-be make the decisions.
Dress for Success
There are some general rules of thumb that you need to use when choosing your MOB dress. It is important to follow the wedding’s style. If your daughter is getting married on the beach, a light and airy more casual look will be your best bet. In the case of my daughter’s wedding, they were trying to stick to a colour scheme.
The wedding was done in purple and yellow, the bride and groom’s favourite colours. Their preference was that the family of the bride wear purple and the family of the groom wear yellow. Of course, I felt it was very important to honour this request. When I couldn’t find an actual purple dress, I accessorized the dress with a purple shrug, purse, and shoes to bring that colour in. I also asked my daughter to give her stamp of approval to my dress. After all, it was her wedding, not mine.
Have Her Back
Oftentimes, wedding guests and others involved in the wedding can turn out to be a little bit demanding. Sometimes, you will need to step in and take over for your daughter as her first line of defense. Things like complaints, missing items and last second changes can all be extremely stressful for the bride to deal with. Having you there to help will be such a relief! We had other amazing family members who jumped in to support us. We were all so grateful for everything they did. When my daughter couldn’t be there in person or just needed to step away for a break though, I spoke for her and made sure that everyone knew about her preferences.
Put Together a Wedding Day Survival Kit
Try to anticipate the things that may go wrong on your daughter’s special day and be ready to help fix them. I wanted Sam to be as calm and relaxed and happy as she possibly could be on her wedding day. She was not the one who needed to be worrying about the fact that the corsages and boutonnieres had been misplaced. First of all, I asked that if there were issues, that they be brought to me. I could then come up with a solution and present it to my daughter. It was easier for her well-being to know that there were already options for solving the problems right from the get-go!
Secondly, I had an emergency kit on hand. In it, I placed things such as: extra cash for last minute emergencies, needle and thread, mini ironing board and iron, hair pins, hair elastics, a curling iron, a flat iron, spare buttons, scissors, clear nail polish, band-aids, tissues, blotting paper, baby powder, makeup remover, tweezers, Q-tips, feminine hygiene products, non-perishable snacks like granola bars, stain remover pen, Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, moist towelettes, duct tape, eye drops, breath mints, straws (for drinking without ruining makeup), and a lint roller.
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do as the Mother of the Bride is just be there for your daughter. Remember, this isn’t your day, it’s hers. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need or want your help. Just make sure to have her back when the time comes and take a step back when necessary. This is a time for you to celebrate your not so little girl is all grown up.