General Etiquette > Family and Children

To go or not to go

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Background: My mum passed away when I was very young. A few years later my Dad (DF) got remarried to my step mum (SM). They have now been happily married for over 25 years, had my 3 sisters and my mums family has wecolmed them all. My grandparents are god parents to 1 of my sisters and consider them all grandchildren like their actual grandchildren.

So we are about to have the 30th anniversary of my mum's passing. DF and my grandparents have arranged a lunch for the whole family (grandparents, my mum's siblings and their partners, a few of my cousins and their kids and DH, DD and I) for the occasion.

SM isn't sure if she should go so DF asked me what I think. For my own selfish reasons I want her to come. I could use her support and DD will notice and get upset if DF is there but not SM. Having an upset 3 year old on my hands along with everything else isn't something I really want to deal with on the day. On the other hand I can see why she's not sure about going. She is 'the new wife' and never met my mum and I think she feels she'd be intruding if she came. DF doesn't really want to ask my grandparents because knowing them they will say yes no matter what they really think.

So should she go or not?


She should be there for no other reason than that you want her there.  Your father will want her there.  Your mother's family likes her.  There is no reason for her to stay away.

She is not some interloper who broke up your parent's marriage.  She came into the picture 5 years after your mother's passing (if my math is correct).

So yes, she has every right to be there as a person whose support you want and need on that day.

If she's comfortable with it, she should definitely go.  If she's not, I think it's also fine for her to stay away.  I wouldn't make this about your daughter (I'm not sure why she'd be upset by this?), but about your stepmother's feelings, and whether or not she feels comfortable supporting your father in this, or whether she thinks it would be better for him to go solo. 

I think it's entirely up to your SM. I don't think she'd be rude either way.

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this.

If possible, I'd sit down with your SM and try and suss out what she's really thinking. If she would feel really uncomfortable then it may be wise to not push it. On the other hand, if it is really important to you, and SM is ambivalent, or would like to go, but isn't sure whether she'd be welcome, I'd reassure her that, yes, you'd love her to come, to support you and DD, if nothing else.

Another point to consider - she may draw more attention in her absence ("where's SM today?"), which may detract from the tone of the day.

And can I just add how awesome it is that your maternal grandparents have welcomed your SM and your 3 sisters so lovingly into their family.


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