Ask B: How to Handle Unwanted Parenting Advice


Dear B,

As a first time parent, I am finding that I have been inundated with the advice and opinions of family members, friends, and yes, even strangers at the local grocery store! Although the input comes from a place of  good intentions, it can be overwhelming and at times, hurtful or stress – provoking. How can I respond to the various comments with grace, but also establish healthy boundaries so that I do not allow the stress to over power my ability to be a good mother? Have other mothers shared similar sentiments? I hope I am not alone with this predicament! 


Dear S,

You are not alone! All moms can relate to your predicament and feelings, and I too have been subjected to unsolicited advice and commentary. And you are absolutely right, these comments can be both stressful and hurtful. When I announced we were expecting our second beautiful baby boy, the associate at my very favorite gift/monogram store here in Dallas responded, “Oh…don’t you wish it was a girl? Are you going to try for a girl?” – not exactly the “Congratulations!” I had been hoping for! I simply smiled and said how thrilled and lucky we were to be having another boy, and then exited the shop. Moral of the story, is that you can’t control what other people say or do, you can only control what you say or do, and your own happiness. I think (and want to believe) that most people have good intentions and are not trying to be hurtful, and so it’s important to take the high road with your response. If someone offers you unsolicited advice or commentary, I would first listen – you might learn something or gain a new perspective! However if the advice or comment is rude or just not applicable, acknowledge them and smile and consider exiting the conversation or changing the subject. Another option is to say, “Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” and then exit the conversation or change the subject. Despite any outside opinions, always remember and have confidence that you know your child best and know what is best for them! Good luck!

Top 10 Wedding Guest Etiquette Questions Answered

Weddings give way to an endless list of questions for both brides, grooms and guests, especially given that the etiquette rules are evolving with every coming year. I remember when we were married in 2011 (I was a novice when it came to weddings!), I constantly flipped through my Emily Post and Martha Stewart books as well as The Knot and Brides magazines to ensure every facet of our planning followed proper etiquette, and that I was also a great guest. As a bride, I learned about letterpress invitations, seating charts and cake flavors. As a guest, I learned about wedding gift giving, dress codes, and the role of a bridesmaid. Six years later I’m all the wiser, and now excited to share my advice (both from research and real life experience!) with you my dear readers. And so, today I’m going to share the top 10 questions of wedding guests in the hopes of helping you all to be your best selves at the next wedding that you attend. Cheers to a great week!


Do I have to buy a gift from the registry?

You do not have to buy a gift from the registry, however couple’s often appreciate when you do so. Think of it this way – the registry is a curated selection of the exact gifts that the couple wants, and so they have taken the guesswork out of gift giving and made it oh so easy on their friends and family. If you are adamant about not buying off the registry, strive to give them something truly special.


Can I wear white? Can I wear black?

Guests should never ever wear white, cream, off white or any shade that resembles these fair hues – this color is reserved for the bride. Yes, you may wear black.


What if I’m running late to the ceremony?

Please, dearest guest don’t be late! The start time is not a suggestion, it is the actual start time of the ceremony so do everything you can to be punctual and aim to be there about 20 minutes ahead so you have enough time to find parking and take your seat. However sometimes life happens and if you are late and the ceremony has already begun, wait for the processional to finish and then quietly stand or take a seat in the back. Do everything you can to be quiet and not cause a disruption.


How do I know if I have a plus one?

It will be noted on the invitation via “and guest.” If the invitation is only addressed to you and there is no “and guest,” come solo as your fabulous self.


What is black tie optional? And is the dress code just a suggestion?

Black tie optional means men may either way tuxedos or dark suits, and women can either wear full length dresses or dressy cocktail dresses.


Can we bring our children to the wedding?

Unless the couple has invited your children to the wedding (this would be noted on the invitation), do not bring your children to the wedding. Many couples prefer their wedding to be an adult occasion, and so it’s important to respect their wishes.


Do I have to bring a gift to every event leading up to the wedding?

Yes, ideally you would want to bring a gift to any showers or engagement parties leading up to the big day. Since it can get pricey, give yourself a budget ahead of time so you can stay within your means and you can decide how much you would like to allocate towards each gift.


Can I mail my gift ahead of the wedding or do I need to bring it?

Absolutely! This is actually preferred by most, since it is more convenient for both you and the couple. Most stores where couples register (Williams Sonoma, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, etc.) have all of the registries online making gift giving just a click away.


Do I have to attend the ceremony or can I just go to the reception?

You need to attend both the ceremony and reception. The couple has lovingly invited you to witness their vows and then celebrate, and so share in this special day with them from start to finish. Plus, they are likely to remember who attended and who didn’t!


How do I know when the reception is over?

Cutting the cake signals the end of the event, and that guests may leave. Although, after their cake, many will choose to have another glass of champagne and hit the dance floor!

Ask B: Birthday Party Invite Drama

Dear B, 

My daughter recently celebrated her 16th birthday, and invited 10 friends to share in the fun. Not everyone in her class was invited because we had limitations with the size of the venue. A few of the girls posted pictures of the party on Instagram, and one girl who wasn’t invited to the party, saw the picture and has been very upset ever since. She is not a close friend of my daughter, however she was so upset that she has skipped school, and can’t take her final exams. Her mother has also called me several times to discuss why her daughter wasn’t invited. I feel terrible that this girl’s feelings are hurt, and I’m not sure what to say to her mother, and this has now been going on for weeks. Do you have any advice on what I can say to her mom?


Mother of the B-Day Girl


This is a tough situation indeed! A tough situation on both sides – for your daughter and her classmate. For your daughter, it was her birthday party and so she decided who she wanted to include, which I’m sure was a hard decision given that she could only invite 10 friends. For your daughter’s classmate, it was disheartening because she wasn’t included and no one wants to be left out. However, as you and I both know, not everyone is invited to everything, be it a 16th birthday party or a ladies luncheon. That’s just life and we all experience being left out at one time or another! The important thing, is to use this as a teachable moment. So your daughter can understand how this girl is feeling, consider talking with her about a time she was left out, and ask how it made her feel. And for the future, if she is ever left out of a party, listen and validate her feelings, and teach her to be the bigger person. Suggest you two have a fun mother-daughter outing or she invite a friend to get together on the party day. As for what to say to the classmate’s mom: empathize with her daughter’s feelings of disappointment, and share that your daughter was only able to invite 10 friends (explain why, i.e., due to size of the venue). Something to chat over with your daughter – see if she and this classmate can meet for frozen yogurt or lunch one Saturday to get to know each other better – and if she’s open to the idea (I hope she is!), suggest that to the mom when you speak with her. Good luck!