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ENHANC- ING YOUR ROLE AS MOTHER- OF-THE- BRIDE
BY JUANITA BENZER
First of all, congratulations on your daughter’s engagement. It is indeed an exciting time when two people begin to plan for a lifetime together. But you are wise to realize that you and your daughter and many other unsuspecting family members are about to be propelled into a planning frenzy in preparation for the big day. The two of you will soon face an end- less list of details and decisions, all of which usually must be sorted through and handled in less than a year.
A little stressful? You bet. But here are a few pearls of wisdom that could easily transform the busy days ahead into a pos- itive, loving, and memorable experience with lasting effects.
Recognize that this is a transition phase in your relationship. Your daughter is beginning a new life that includes the challenge of building and maintaining a loving, lifelong relationship with her new husband. As your daughter enters this new phase, you may be delighted to find
“My daughter is getting married next year. She wants a large
wedding which will be rather costly and requires a lot of planning.
I have heard so many horror stories about mothers and daughters that end up fighting through the entire process. I really want this to be a time that will bring us closer together, not tear us apart. How can
I make this a positive experience for both of us?” .... Worried Mother
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that you now have more in common. You have the potential to become closer than ever and build an expanded and enriched mother/daughter relationship.
So as you spend time together plan- ning, remember that you have the power to make this change a positive one. This is an excellent opportunity to enter the beautiful realm of close female friendship, and to create a new relationship based on mutual love and respect.
Try to have fun with the whole planning process, and keep a sense of humor – even in the difficult moments. Your good- natured and loving approach to the team- work of wedding planning will set the stage for a mother/daughter relationship that will be very rewarding in the years ahead.
Keep reminding yourself that this is her wedding. Forgetting this concept even when using words like “in the name of love”, “family tradition”, “meaning well”, or “knowing what’s best for my daughter” is probably the single biggest pitfall identified
in wedding planning conflicts. (It is a com- mon trap for mothers-in-law as well.) In fact many new brides complain that their mother tried (even if unintentionally) to mold their special day into the dream wedding they always wanted. Wise moms take the advice of a well-known child psychologist: “Stay one step behind your child: Far enough to allow independence, yet close enough in case she needs you.”
It is perfectly appropriate to offer your ideas, suggestions, and advice, but most mothers have learned (often the hard way) that it is best to offer opinions only when asked. When you do offer an opinion, think before you speak. Strive to be as tactful and gentle as possible, especially if your views differ from those of your daughter. During this emotionally charged time, a comment that would normally be accepted with ease could be misconstrued as an unsolicited criticism or insult.
Also remember that your all-important role in your daughter’s life is to be (and


















































































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