Guest List Wedding Pains

SCENARIO

Your son or daughter has gotten engaged and you adore their choice in a future spouse. As you’ve always been invited to your friend’s children’s weddings, you’ve jumped the gun and told your closest friends to put aside that date. Then your son or daughter informs you that there is not enough room for you to invite your friends to the wedding. What do you do now?

CONSIDER THIS:

JILL:
One of the great things about being a little older is we are able to have the hindsight to be a wiser. So I am going to have you use your imagination for a minute and pretend it’s your son getting married.

It is May 2009 and you have sat down with a cup of tea to look at some photo albums from your son’s wedding. You come to the picture of you and your son. The two of you are standing side by side, he looks so handsome but he is a bit stiff and his smile is forced. You look a little tense but if you think back you feel that you were right, you told them everything that was bothering you and they let you invite your friends. Your son was caught in the middle, between his love for you and wanting to please his bride. It was a difficult time but they re-arranged things and you made your point.

Or………….

You come to the picture of your son and you. You are beaming and he has a happy grin on his face and his arm is lovingly around your shoulders. It had worked out alright in the long run; you had met quietly with the two of them. You didn’t make them feel guilty but instead asked if you could invite two friends to share the event with you. A month later you had invited your other friends over for wine and appetizers and bored them silly with the videos from the wedding; it had been a fun evening.

VICKI:
I have to admit that I am of two minds on this. I do believe that a parent being asked for their list would be the right thing to do, if it is affordable, However, I am aware that that is my idea of what’s right and no one else is obligated to live up to what I feel is right or wrong. On the other hand I also believe that it’s a mistake making an assumption and approaching friends as though they were invited. I’ve been in a different but similar situation and I was thoroughly embarrassed when I had to let my friends know that I erred.

This is a time to let right and wrong go. This is meant to a happy and joyous time. Don’t allow any idea of “shoulds” to ruin this. After all the groom or bride-to-be may be doing nothing more than carrying out her parent’s wishes or doing this the way they are traditionally done in his or her family. One thing is sure – that they are not doing anything with the intention of being hurtful.

In this situation sit down with your child and their fiancé and let them know how much your friends mean to you and that you would be very happy to pay them. Even if there will only be enough seating for two accept that and follow Jill’s advice in having your close friends over to your home for an evening. As the time draws nearer you may discover that there are enough people declining that there is room for all of your friends.

The Roles Mother’s Play – Moving Towards Your Goals

QUESTION

I look around me and see all kinds of women who, after having kids and watching them grow into little adults, start to turn their sites on re-inventing themselves and moving on with their life in a new direction, but they lack the confidence to “dive in”. Any advice on what us gals should do to get/keep our self-esteem intact through this process?

ANSWER

JILL:
First, take some time to acknowledge what you have accomplished to date; you have succeeded at (to quote Oprah), “one of the hardest jobs in the world, being a mom”. You may have had no pay, promotions or sick days but being a mom was something that you willingly did 24/7. Add to that maintaining a home, wife, sympathetic sister, caregiver, and friend; your roles and duties have been many.

When being a mom becomes less of a full time job, you are faced with yourself. However, often with all the pressures of the above, you lost that connection with who you are. You need to re-establish a sense of self before you dive in to anything. From there you will be able to start to establish the self-esteem that you will need to face the next chapter in your life head on.

Create a team to help you – coaches, business consultants, mentors or counselors. Don’t feel alone, find ways to connect with like minded women, so that you can support and help one another.

Start to pursue new interests or pick up a long forgotten hobby or passion. Practice self-care with a fresh updated image – hair, clothes and make-up. As you start to feel more yourself look at what you want to do with the future. Brush up on rusty IT skills, prepare a new resume or take courses to help open new opportunities.

VICKI:
I’m going to use the “F” word here – fear. What you say is a lack of confidence really does boil down to fear. It makes perfect sense when you have had a long term routine, especially for stay at home moms. Whether you want to get back to the workforce or start your own business it’s normal to wonder and question if you have the skills to reach your goals.

This is where it’s imperative to know what your strengths are. Moms have more strengths / skills than they ever give themselves credit for; raising another human being is the most difficult and worthwhile job on the planet. The skills used and learned for mothering can be the same ones you use to move towards your dreams – courage, endurance, patience and please don’t underestimate love.

It’s time to reflect on what you have learned being a mom and acknowledge those skills, make a list of those attributes and move forward with them, not in spite of them. Then take Jill’s step-by-step advice.