When a bride-to-be made her boundaries clear, she ending up learning more about her family dynamics than she may have wanted to. (See: her responses to comments below) So, she came to Reddit's 'Am I the A-hole' forum for advice.
My parents divorced when I was 5. I don't actually remember them together. My dad met my stepmom when I was 6. My stepmom tried to fill a second mom role and my dad tried to facilitate that.
At times it meant them asking my mom to let me go someplace with them on her time or trying to get a Mother's Day celebration in.
I know it hurt my mom, the thought of sharing the role as my mom. She never said anything. She never discouraged me at all. But there are always ways to tell if you know someone well enough and pay enough attention.
I want to reiterate, my mom NEVER interfered or said anything against my stepmom or dad. My noticing could be the reason I'm not closer to my stepmom. Though I definitely don't despise her or see her as nothing. But a second mom is not something I ever considered her as. I do like her though.
For my wedding planning and dress appointments, etc. I wanted to make it small and something for just me and my mom. I wanted the experience with her anyway, but I also wanted to give her something she doesn't have to share with my stepmom.
This became more of a thing when my grandma and great aunt, on my dad's side, called my stepmom mother of the bride on FB and the three commented that it would be a great experience for her to see me pick a dress and stuff.
After seeing that, I went to my stepmom (and dad technically) and told her I didn't want to give her a role as mom of the bride, and she wouldn't be doing the traditional mom of the bride stuff with me (dress shopping and fittings).
I told her we could figure something else out. Asked was there anything else she'd want to tag along for. Like looking at flowers. She was sad and asked me why I didn't want her as the second mom of the bride. I told her I wanted that for just my mom.
Dad then brings up that my mom won't mind and she'd want me to have both my moms there. I told him he was wrong. That she only ever agreed to share it because she felt it was the right thing to do but it hurt her.
He looked stunned and asked how I knew. I told him those close to her always knew. He then said he never would have expected that from her because she was always the perfect parent and person and that was why they ended up divorcing, because he couldn't handle it and was envious of her.
I told him nobody is perfect and it's unfair for him to expect my mom to be. I asked him if he'd be happy to be one of my dads. He said of course not, but he always thought mom would be better than him.
The whole conversation left my dad and stepmom with rough feelings and she made it clear she was upset that after all these years I wouldn't give her the love and respect to be included as a mom of the bride.
Also, I have spoken to my mom about the overall topic before. She has never admitted it, but always said she wanted the best for me and for me to be happy. Her best friend confirmed it for me though. AITA?
Reddit ruled NTA (not the a-hole) and went in on dad and stepmom.
YOU HAVE A LIVING MOTHER. It's incredibly narcissistic for your father and your stepmom to think that she is going to serve in the role of your mother for your wedding preparations when you have a living mom that you are close to. It's also completely unreasonable that these people hold your mother to a higher standard than they hold themselves. NTA at all.
That makes sense with my dad. He's said stuff over the years that made me wonder about the reason for the divorce. My mom would never talk bad about him though.
But he spoke about her sometimes like she was almost meant to be better than everyone and sometimes I'd get the feeling he resented how easy she found life with me when I was a baby. Hearing him confirm what he said put a lot of pieces together for me and it is unfair. My mom is still only human.
AnnieAbattoir points out:
Does he not realize what that says about his current wife? That she's f*%$ed up and flawed enough to be acceptable to his ego??
He thinks he can get away with anything, basically, because he's lowered the standard to the point where no one should expect better of him. But your mom, she's a good person. So she should always do 'the right thing' — which is apparently whatever he wants from her. Even after their divorce!
I really don't understand this line of thinking that she was such a good mom, she should just be fine with being less of a mom to you.￼ NTA.
NTA. Marrying a man with kids doesn't give you an insta-family, it gives you a husband with kids. You set a reasonable boundary and even offered a compromise.
NTA its your wedding, your mother, your choice. I think the others posting on FB, calling your stepmother, mom of the bride, is a passive aggressive way to get you to have her there. I wouldn't be shocked, if it wasn't discussed between ALL of them. Make a public post, have the family talking, force you out of embarrassment, to make her part of it. Personally I would just have my mother, no one else.
I don't think it was meant to be passive aggressive. I think they were so sure they knew what was happening that they were talking about it. They didn't actually stop to realize I hadn't asked or mentioned it to my stepmom.
We can all agree OP's saint of a mother deserves to be let off that pedastal so she can spend some one-on-one time with her daughter.