Saturday, January 20, 2007


I don't know why there often seem to be issues related to the STBMIL (Soon-to-be-Mother-in-Law), but a lot of the complexities seem to arise with them during the planning process. Most of the time STBMILs mean well, but....

So what am I talking about? Brides can have varying opinions as to how much help they want from their parents/soon-to-be in-laws--some want to be completely independent in their planning (or have a specific idea as to who will help with what), and others like as much help as they can get. Problems arise when STBMILs misinterpret politeness for something else.

BigSis was telling me about her close friend Sara and Sara's tension with her STBMIL when it came to the planning process. Sara's mother took the initiative of planning the bridal shower, and she asked BigSis to help out. BigSis and Sara's mother were excited about the prospect, and the STBMIL asked repeatedly if she could do anything. Not wanting her to feel left out, Sara's mom asked the STBMIL for her opinions on color scheme, flowers, etc. and then asked her pick up certain decorations to bring to the shower. The STBMIL was invited to come and help out pre-shower to get everything prepared for the celebration.

The complications arose when the STBMIL showed up at the shower--with her 15 friends that were also invited! Sara was slightly upset, because the pre-shower prep became kind of a mess. BigSis told me that it just made Sara's, Sara's mother, and her job harder: "It was noisy and just a lot of chaos.... there were way too many people there, and while everyone was trying to help, we didn't need that many hands. Sara was really pissed, but she tried to get let it go - after all, what can she really say?"

To Sara, according to BigSis, it seemed like the STBMIL was trying to "take over" -- one way of doing that? Bringing her army of friends to help set up, which was supposed to really be BigSis and the mother's job.

It's difficult to talk openly to a STBMIL about issues like this, but this may be the time when a fiance has to step in and gently remind his mother that she may have to take a few steps back. Obviously, not all situations are the same-but when you find someone stepping on your toes during the planning process, you're most likely NOT the only one...AND your family members who are also helping you plan may be affected. Trying to balance the thoughts and feelings of all family members is difficult--if you don't feel comfortable opening your mouth when you see an issue arise, make sure you have someone in your corner that will. Otherwise, there will just be confusion and frustration--and who wants those emotions around at a wedding shower?!

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Dataceptionist said...

Compared to some, I had only the most minor of ripples with my STBMIL, but a friend recently got engaged and her STBMIL has turned into Monster In Law.
When the non-religious couple mentioned on the fly that they wouldn't be having a church wedding. Well she went off. She went on about how hurt she was and said "well why didn't you ask me?". That was fairly early on for them and I think it was a hard lesson for them that she had a lot of expectations about their wedding, and they're now figuring out how to gently deal with her. I tried to just explain to her that MIL only has two sons, and the other doesn't look to be getting married anytime soon, and while it's difficult, it's inevitable that she's going to be disappointed with some of the choices they make.
I feel so sorry for her, ours was a breeze in comparison. : )