Notorious MOG: Breaking a Bad Rap

You're not so bad! Why do mothers of the groom get such a nasty reputation?
You're not so bad! Why do mothers of the groom get such a nasty reputation?
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The shift from beloved mother of the boyfriend to reviled mother of the groom (MOG) is an unfortunate phenomenon that occurs all too often once wedding planning commences.

Whether you chalk it up to wedding-related stress or truly bad behavior from the parties involved, it hardly seems like a fair trade for all of those years of service you've devoted to your son and his happiness. After all, you wiped his nose more times than you can count, logged countless hours at mosquito-ridden soccer fields and cleaned unidentifiable forms of mold from dishes found in his teenage room. In a perfect world, a statue would be erected in your honor.

In reality, you and the new(er) woman in his life are in the midst of a delicate dance that involves a marked shift in power and responsibility where your son is concerned. Some of the conflict is wedding related, but it's common for you to have a hard time relinquishing control over his life -- and for her to fight a little too hard to obtain it.

Before you resign yourself to a poor relationship with your future daughter-in-law (DIL), rest assured that it doesn't have to be that way! At the end of the day, you both love the man in question, so it's not too much to ask that you and your DIL find a way to co-exist harmoniously, both during the wedding planning process and for years to come.

Keep reading to learn more about your MOG personality type and how you can best get along with you future DIL.

Personality No. 1: The Over-involved MOG

The scenario: Women who fall in this category don't just want to help with the wedding -- they want to plan it outright. After all, this MOG has been around the block a few times and knows what works and what doesn't. Your future DIL might resist your critical opinions now, but she'll thank you later! Enough chitchat: It's time to draft a detailed e-mail to the DIL on the merits of lilies versus roses.

The solution: First and foremost, remember that your son is getting married. Not. You. So, resist the urge to take over the planning process and/or offer your two cents at every turn. Instead, wait for your DIL to solicit your opinions and gently remind her on a regular basis that you're willing and able to help out if she needs it. Otherwise, you risk aggravating an already stressed-out bride. Who do you think is going to shoulder the burden of her frustration? That's right -- you, the MOG, will become Public Enemy No. 1 if you're not careful with your well-meaning criticism.

In the inevitable event that she ignores your wishes or advice, remember that this event isn't exactly a meeting of the United Nations. No one's going to blacklist you from future social events because the bridesmaids wore white shoes after Labor Day. If you're still feeling the itch to control a party in your own unique way, throw yourself into a pre-planning frenzy for your upcoming wedding anniversary celebration. Then, you can show her how it's really done!

Personality Type No. 2: The Under-involved MOG

E-mail the bride promptly when she writes with questions about the guest list or rehearsal dinner.
E-mail the bride promptly when she writes with questions about the guest list or rehearsal dinner.
OJO Images/Justin Pumfrey/Getty Images

The scenario: Lots of MOGs keep their distance in an effort to avoid crowding the happy couple. Unfortunately, this tactic can actually make it appear like you don't care at all, even when that couldn't be further from the truth. While some brides will embrace this hands-off approach to wedding planning, others will be hurt by it.

The solution: Make a point to send your DIL the occasional e-mail checking up on the wedding planning process and offering your assistance as needed. When she does ask for something, like your guest list or your opinion on a possible venue, be sure to return the information to her as soon as humanly possible.

Above all else, don't hesitate to tell your DIL how much you look forward to having her as a part of the family. It can be pretty daunting to come into an established family as the newbie, so it never hurts for her to know that your son isn't the only one who wants her around.

Personality Type No. 3: The Happy Medium

The situation: Much like the giant pink diamond that Ben Affleck gave to Jennifer Lopez all those years ago, the middle-of-the road MOG is a much coveted, yet rare species. She is instinctively supportive of the union and involved in the planning process to just the right degree.

I've witnessed firsthand the power of the Happy Medium MOG, since my best friend wisely became engaged to the son of one of these women. From the very beginning, the MOG in question, Patricia, has provided assistance and opinions when requested, and she even accompanied her son on multiple shopping trips to pick out the perfect ring. She also mysteriously senses when her DIL needs her to lend a hand, and it doesn't hurt that she sides with the bride whenever she has a conflict of opinion with the groom (smart lady, huh?). Most importantly, she has the perfect attitude about the nuptials, consistently maintaining that she "just wants Ashley to be happy and have her perfect wedding day."

So, whenever you feel the urge to display stereotypical MOG behavior, take a deep breath and try to be as gracious as Patricia. Trust me, it'll pay off in spades in the long run -- particularly when grandkids enter the equation and it becomes truly necessary for everyone to get along.

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Sources

  • "How to Handle Mothers of the Bride and Groom." Wedding Channel. (May 3, 2011).http://weddings.weddingchannel.com/wedding-planning-ideas/bridal-party/articles/mothers-of-the-bride-and-groom.aspx
  • "Mother of the Groom Duties in Detail." The Knot. (May 3, 2011).http://wedding.theknot.com/bridesmaids-mother-of-the-bride/mother-of-the-bride/articles/mother-of-the-groom-duties-in-detail.aspx
  • "The Roles of the Parents: Traditional Roles. Martha Stewart Weddings. (May 3, 2011).http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/article/the-roles-of-the-parents-traditional-roles?page=2