How To Deal With Mom-zillas

Wedding pressures are known to bring out the worst in some brides–hence the term “Bride-zilla.” But, rarely do you see the effects on the rest of the wedding party–especially the parents. Well, I guess there’s a first for everything. In this particular scenario, a poor, unsuspecting bride is caught in the wrath of her mother-in-law as they prepare for the wedding. Obviously, she’s not too keen on her future daughter-in-law and takes a moment to let her know that in no uncertain terms in a brazen email. Here are a few excerpts…

from: Carolyn Bourne

to: heidi withers

subject: your lack of manners

Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:

  1. When you are a guest in another’s house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat – unless you are positively allergic to something.
  2. You do not remark that you do not have enough food.
  3. You do not start before everyone else.
  4. You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.
  5. When a guest in another’s house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early – you fall in line with house norms.
  6. You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.
  7. You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why. No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.
  8. I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters’ marriages.)
  9. If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.
  10. One could be accused of thinking that Heidi Withers must be patting herself on the back for having caught a most eligible young man. I pity Freddie.

Ouch! Who died and made her the etiquette police?! I don’t know, but somebody should tell her that this is no way to treat anyone, especially your son’s soon-to-be wife.

What would you do?

From hurt to outrage, there are all sorts of ways to respond to something like this. One could choose to respond the same way Heidi did by letting this thing go viral in hopes of shaming her into better behavior (although I don’t think that was Heidi’s intent when she shared the email, but it certainly turned out that way.) But, I say, let’s fight fire with fire. Since she had a “Top 10 List of Don’ts” for her daughter in law, I thought I’d share my “Top 10 List of Do’s” as possible reactions to the letter (in true David-Letterman style.) Here goes:

  1. Speak your mind and don’t be shy about giving her your two cents on the matter
  2. Totally ignore her and hope she’ll go away!
  3. Retaliate with your own brazen email
  4. Pray for her
  5. Send her an etiquette book on how to treat others
  6. Elope!
  7. Prove her wrong by getting married and having a wonderful life in spite of her
  8. Ex her off your Christmas list
  9. Get family counseling because if you’re marrying into a family like this, you’re gonna need it!
  10. Kill her . . . with kindness (what did you think I was going to say?!)

One sure way to do #10 on the list is to send her a personalized gift. A thoughtful gift from the heart can do wonders when trying to soothe the savage beast. I know she doesn’t deserve it, but sometimes that’s the thing that makes the difference. Someone has to be the bigger person here, and clearly it’s not going to be the mother-in-law. With any luck, she’ll feel guilty and be open to talking about the situation and working through it. As any mom will tell you, guilt is a powerful weapon! Taking a tip from Camilla Parker Bowles and her new daughter-in-law Kate, why not give her an adorable heart bracelet like this one? Engrave it with your initials on one side and your mother in law’s on the other as a touching sentiment of how you hope your lives will be.

If all else fails, you can always do #6 and elope!