Ask Queen Simone: Leave Your Mama At Home
Dear Queen Simone,
My friends and I have been planning a girls’ vacay to Puerto Rico for months. 2 weeks ago, one of my friends who does not know the two others on the trip called me to tell me she was also trying to plan a trip for her mom’s Bday sponsored by her dad. In jest, she said that she might have to go on ahead and combine both trips. We laughed and I never heard of it again. 2 days ago, i sent an email to the group attendees giving them the details of our all day excursion to the rain forest and hiking she responds with: This all sounds great. My mom may be down with the hiking but i am not sure about the kayaking. Upon further investigation i called her and she has booked her mom a stay and ticket at another hotel but appears to want her to join in on our activities. The other group participants are like heck naw and me myself is like how did a girls trip become bring your mama? How do i tell her that as one attendee put it “her mama is prohibited in participating in any group activity? Matter of fact I do not want to see the mama!”
This is an example of the real life version of the movie Mean Girls. Your friend’s mom comes across as the long-lost sister of Amy Pohler’s character in the movie, Mrs. George, who delusionally thinks, “I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a cool mom.” I can imagine the horror as your friend’s mom (aka Mrs. George) walks in saying “How are my best girlfriends?” Or worse, as you are getting her groove back with a young Taye Diggs type…then mom strolls in asking “Can I get you guys anything? Some snacks? A condom? Let me know!” My first reaction to this letter was very similar to the other group participants—as Whitney Houston would say “oh hell to the naw!”
Your friend is acting very Regina George-esque (aka the main Mean Girl) by inviting her mom (even at a different hotel) but assuming that she will participate in group activities. It was rude and inconsiderate of her to invite her mother without prior approval from the group. By not asking but informing everyone that her mom may not be amenable to the activities, she is in essence trying to bully the group into doing what she and her mom want to do.
Girls trips are amazing! And so are mother/daughter trips. But mixing the two without prior approval from all involved can be disastrous, uncomfortable, and creepy in a Mrs. George kind of way…
You and the other participants have every right to be upset. Having a mother around may feel more like a chaperone (no matter how “cool” she proclaims to be) and may put a damper on the girls’ trip. This particularly will get dicey with meals or outings where drinks are flowing (and the conversation gets looser).
It is imperative that you tell your friend how you and the others feel as soon as possible. Specifically, tell her that you did not think she was serious when she mentioned combining the girls trip with her mother’s birthday trip and that if she were serious, she should have mentioned this to all of the participants prior to making plans. Even if her mother is at a different hotel, by assuming she will participate in activities changes the dynamic of the trip and makes the others uncomfortable. The fact that she did not ask—but told you all that her mom may be okay with hiking but not kayaking says to me that she has already planned for her mother to be a full participant in the trip. In this situation, you must be up front with her that the others in the group feel uncomfortable with the last minute addition and would prefer for her mother to have a completely separate trip—specifically for all activities.
However, you must be prepared for the fact that Regina George may be looking for a reason to get out of the girls trip. It seems unlikely that for her birthday, mom will want to eat alone, travel alone, or stay in her hotel room alone. If you tell her that mom is not welcome, it is very possible that Regina will opt to stay in her mom’s hotel room (for free), eat meals with her mom (for free), and take excursions with her mom (which I also assume will be part of the “sponsored” trip).
If Regina tries to bail, politely point out to her that since she was involved in planning Mrs. George’s birthday trip, she could have easily selected a different date or asked Mrs. George to invite her own girlfriends so that mom could have a trip outside of yours. If she decides to bail, make clear that you expect full payment for all shared costs—specifically hotel room and car rental. Explain that the costs were based on all participants—and for her to bail on shared expenses is not fair to the other participants.
If she agrees to keep her mom separate from the girls, then all is well for everyone. Regina can spend her trip how she’d like and does not have to spend every waking minute with the group. As long as she does not expect the group to accommodate her changes in plan (or alternative plans) then let her roam freely with mom. As a nice gesture, any of the other participants who WANT to can meet Regina and Mrs. George for lunch or breakfast—so that Regina will not feel completely dejected. But again, this is a compromise and nice gesture on your part—make clear that this is an OPTIONAL activity for those who do not want to be bothered.
Good luck and safe travels!