While I'm away, readers give the advice:
On the wedding as 'my day' vs. everyone else's opinion
When I first got engaged, everyone and their cousin gave me unsolicited wedding advice. With all that advice, how come no one ever warned me about this?
When someone tells you, "It's your day, do whatever you want, don't let anyone else tell you what to do," they are lying. What they really mean is "Make any choice you want as long as it's the same choice that I would make."
I am so tired of this. I didn't even want a big wedding; my sole reason for not eloping was to avoid breaking my mother's heart. And now I get (expletive) for every single decision I make.
Some people tell me directly ("What do you mean you're not having any bridesmaids?!? You were my bridesmaid so I get to be yours!!"). Most of them, however, tell me about the horrible offense through the grapevine ("Your father is very upset that you don't want him to walk you down the aisle. Yes, I suppose it is a very sexist tradition but can't you just do this for him?").
I hate wedding planning. I hate the whole idea of the wedding. It's stupid and expensive and I don't even think I will enjoy it.
Ironically, we've gone out of our way to try to make choices that we thought our guests would appreciate: short ceremony, location close to an airport (lots of out-of-town guests), early in the day so that people can fly out that same night if they have work the next day (it's on a Sunday because getting a Saturday in June is completely impossible unless you plan two years in advance). And yet every decision we make is wrong.
Don't Have a Wedding
On keeping new grandparents at arm's length
The wisdom of our parents' generation in many cases does not apply anymore. Just two examples: Babies are almost all sleeping on their backs now, and parents are told to put off the introduction of solid foods till 5 or 6 months of age. This isn't an indictment of what my mother's generation did. It's just different now. I know that some grandmas are having a hard time hearing "I know Billy turned out okay, but this is how I want to do it."
Some other big concerns: Do the grandparents have equipment that meets current safety standards? I know a grandma who set up an antique bassinet and insisted that it was fine, when anyone could see that it was made with the bars too far apart and it was in degraded condition.
Does grandma or grandpa smoke? Are they in good health? Do they have pets that would be hard to control around the baby? It is nearly impossible for any of us to look at ourselves objectively. Maybe the parents have very good reasons for keeping the grandparents at arm's length, but they hesitate to share them for fear of hurting their feelings.
New mothers are also eager to show that they can take care of themselves and their new babies. Things will change, I'm sure, but for now, it's these mothers' turn.