I’m not sure whether it’s a blessing or a curse to have a former Spice Girl as a mother-in-law. Are you awestruck? Intimidated? Overwhelmed? Jealous?
There has been a lot of gossip about why Nicola Peltz-Beckham and Victoria Beckham aren’t getting along. Is Victoria intimidated by her daughter-in-law’s family wealth? Or is Nicola feeling like she’s getting shown up by Posh Spice? Or – is the beef over the planning of Nicola and Brooklyn’s April wedding, as suggested by PageSix?
Sources say that Nicola didn’t want Victoria “to be in any part of the planning, and she wouldn’t clue Victoria in on anything. Communication was minimal.” In addition to that, Nicola didn’t wear a Victoria Beckham designed wedding gown, opting instead for custom Valentino haute couture.
While I’ve never had to plan a wedding, I can certainly empathize with just wanting to do it yourself – or, as we know, hire very expensive and highly trained wedding planners and decorators to get it done for you. And with roles surrounding parents of the soon-to-be-newlyweds constantly in flux, especially in the U.S., post-pandemic, was Mrs. Beckham (the OG) setting her expectations too high for her involvement in a wedding that wasn’t hers? Sure, weddings can be a great opportunity for bonding and relationship-building, but they can be incredibly stressful, and therefore result in some intense family feuds.
Personally, I’ve always been good with moms. That was my favourite part of any new relationship – meeting the mom. I was always a good conversationalist, I always had a job and I was in university during most of these introductions, so I knew that I presented myself very well.
But there was one mom in particular that I could just never win over: my daughter’s grandmother. I tried everything. I invited her over to our family home for Christmas where we could all enjoy our Guyanese Christmas dish, pepper pot, together. I bought her gifts and we went out to lunches and dinners and whatnot and our families spent time together. But as much as she smiled and laughed, I always felt like she didn’t think I was good enough for her son.
My daughter’s father and I went through hell and back, but I still made every attempt to stay in contact with her, inviting her over for birthday parties I planned for my daughter. I never wanted her to feel like we couldn’t maintain a relationship, even if it was distant, because of the break-up. But she never accepted any invites and when I reached out to her to try to help me establish a better co-parenting environment with her son, I always got the cold shoulder.
This past weekend, I attended a food festival in the city. Waiting for a funnel cake, I looked down and saw my daughter tugging at my dress. I knew immediately that her dad was close by. Sure enough, he, his partner, and mother were a few feet away. It was tense. But I didn’t want it to be. And as I stood there, frozen, hoping with all my might that this would be an opportunity to try and get this right, I realized it wouldn’t happen. I knew my hopes of finally being introduced to his new girlfriend would go unmet, and I really had no idea whether his mom was going to say hi.
But after all the time I spent being the one to initiate contact, it was her turn. So I stood still and waited to see if she’d at least wave, but I got nothing. For the next gruelling ten minutes, my daughter danced between my partner and me and her dad’s family, waiting for my funnel cake to be plated and served. When it was, she took a few bites, gave me a hug and a kiss and then went back over to her dad. My partner and I turned on our heels, sat down at a table, watched his mom and partner walk by, and off they went. The interaction, or lack thereof, made me nauseous and I didn’t want my funnel cake anymore.
When I got back into the car, I sent her a message letting her know I thought it was awful that we can’t say hi in public, that she couldn’t even look me in the eye or wave. I told her that the way she’s treated me over the years was hurtful and I let her know that I hoped his new partner receives much better treatment than I ever got. All of this was against the advice of my partner, of course, who suggested I just “let it be.” But I was tired of feeling this way - like I wasn’t good enough, like I was unworthy, some stain on the family that they needed to avoid at all costs. And so I needed to say something.
The next day, I expected to feel regret. I expected to feel weak for allowing my feelings to be hurt. But instead, I felt proud. I knew the conversations that may have been taking place on his side. I visualized, with crystal clarity, her reading the message out loud and all of them having a good laugh. But I had never spoken up for myself during the course of my relationship. I always chalked his family’s treatment of me up to the fact that they had their own entrenched religious beliefs. I always just assumed they were outraged over the fact that we had a child out of wedlock. Plus, I convinced myself it was a cultural custom to keep people at bay – even though we have the same heritage. But it felt good to finally put it on record that they treated me like crap and it really hurt my feelings.
Building relationships with your partner’s parents, even their siblings, friends, their people, is difficult. That’s why it’s important that it goes both ways. I often compared how my ex’s mother treated me to how my family treated him. The first time he came over, for instance, I told my dad about how nervous he was. So my dad took my phone, gave him a call, and told him not to be nervous.
“I’ve had to meet parents, too,” he said to him back in 2014. “Just come on over. We’ll have some food and some drinks and just hang out.” I remember this putting him at so much ease.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s not to expect people to treat you the way you treat them. It seems fair, but life isn’t, and just because you treat people well doesn’t mean they’ll return that to you. I’ve also learned that no one owes us anything, not my almost mother-in-law a hello to me, and not Nicola Peltz choosing not to get married in a Victoria Beckham wedding gown. But this is how old money vs. new money warfare can play out. It truly is a battle of the riches. For David and Victoria, their son’s new in-laws could swallow their entire family’s lifetime earnings whole and burp them up for breakfast.
There are a lot of mothers who often feel like they’re losing their sons when they get girlfriends, fiancées and wives alike, that have to do a better job of making the women feel safe and comfortable enough to enjoy spending time with them, like my current partner’s mom does. She’s created such a warm and loving environment for me to feel a sense of family I hadn’t felt with my ex’s mom. And the best part is that she treats my daughter like she’s her very own grandkid.
Nicola and Brooklyn are now denying that there is any bad blood in a new interview with Variety, so is this just another case of the media pitting two women against each other? Or was there actually something there when Nicola posted a Tatler magazine cover that referred to her as “The New Mrs. Beckham?”
The women marrying into these families, no matter class, net worth, or celebrity status, have to find the balance between standing up for themselves, but also respecting the family dynamic. If she’s standing up for herself over Beckham treating her unfavourably, I really respect it. But if she’s going out of her way to create tension, she might want to drop it. My situation has been hard, and as I’ve discussed in the past, it brings me selfish solace when I see celebrities struggling with the same issues that I’m struggling with. It reassures me that this is part of the human experience, and something we just go through at some point in our lives, whether you’ve got hoards of money and superstardom or not.
Attached - Brooklyn and Nicola out for dinner last night in LA.