Making Mom Matter with Manners


Its May 2015, and what makes my Mother’s Day matter more this year is that I will not be listening to my Mother as she passed away peacefully on 03.29.15. As a daughter of immigrant parents from Greece, my mom personally did not really celebrate Mother’s Day…she would tell me that everyday is Mother’s Day and Christmas also fell into that category. In as much as I miss all of my mother, what I miss the most is her voice. I miss listening to her broken English and a high-pitched sound that rolled out with a really thick Greek acent. She yelled a lot…and she did not have any qualms on telling people how she felt about their behavior. With that said, she would always find it perplexing that I would be a teaching people manners. My mother would ask, “Themetria, why do you have to teach people to be nice?” My mother could not understand that. However, what she did understand is the value of knowledge. So she listened to my passion and supported my tuition to become a licensed expert in protocol at the Protocol School of Washington PSOW.

Everybody has their own way of “listening” when it comes to their mother’s advice. Listen to your mother, what she said then and what mothers’ are saying now might be delivered differently, but the same message is there..Here are some tips from mothers that made manners matter.

“My mother taught me to cross my legs at the ankles and angle a little towards one side”…Dena in Hollywood

“My mother emphasized the importance of writing thanks you notes”…Cindi from Chicago.

“Do unto others what you would have done unto you”..Sadie from Pittsburgh

“Be nice”…Jimmy from Upper Saint Clair

“Really listen when someone is talking and focus your attention on that person”…Gretchen from Pittsburgh

“My Mother, Sue would say don’t brag about your children, let other people say good things about them.” Violet from Aliquippa

“Don’t talk with food in your mouth.”…Leo from Chicago

“One of the greatest things one can have in life is…choices. Make them wisely”…Helen from Pittsburgh

“Take time to write a thank you note. It makes people feel good and you show your appreciation and gratitude”…Rachel from Pittsburgh

“Don’t mumble”…Tanya from Greensburg

Mother, May I is very supportive of all these “mommy” manners!  Manners mean so much more today than yesterday. Our mothers might have been more available to pick us up when we fell, physically and mentally, but  today’s moms are all too busy caregiving, working, and managing households. Read “10 Ways Moms Can Balance Work and Family” on

With such a demanding day, how can todays mom keep up with modern manners and impart on children all they need to know to make a good impression? Here is a suggestion…visit and share our advice via Facebook, Twitter, or online. Use your listening skills to help others be nice as your mother taught you and remember to pass those lessons onto your children…while sharing your own words of wisdom as well.

Mother, May I is here to help.


Demetria and Lisa

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts


Fools Rush In.. Is Rushed Communication Bad?

Elvis sang the song “Fools Rush In, which talks of the hastiness of love. The same could be said for the hastiness of people’s communication. April Fool’s Day was earlier this week so we thought we would offer some non-foolish tips about mindful ways to communicate.

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There are many ways that we communicate with our co-workers and peers these days: face to face, telephone, email, text, social media, and written communication.  How do you know which is the best to use? Well let Mother, May I offer up genuine instruction on how to make the mode of communication more mannerly!

  1. Find the best way to communicate… it is not enough to just communicate, you also need to understand the most effective way to communicate. It is presumptuous to assume just because you are a texter that the person you are communicating to is one also. We suggest to simply ask the person, particularly in business, what is their preferred mode of communication? That question will save time and frustration on both ends.
  2. Communicate the urgency… sometimes it is not always productive to be interrupting a workday project every time your electronic device or phone beckons. Managing interruptions at work. For example, there are highly successful executives that only read their emails 3 times a day to avoid distractions. So the urgency of the communication may dictate the communication method you choose.
  3. 1, 2 3 strikes you pick up the phone: Have you ever have an email thread that has gone completely off topic? Well knowing when an email has become misinterpreted and knowing what to do about it is important. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found people could only correctly interpret the tone and mood of an email half the time. Our suggestion, if it is clear in the 1st, 2nd and now 3rd email, that there may be some confusion, pick up the phone and talk through the issue. Once you have clarified via phone, write a confirming email outlining the mutual understanding.
  4. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth…try using them in that ratio. Active listening is essential to mannerly communication. So even though you think you have something to contribute, bookmark it, and try listening fully to the person speaking instead of waiting for a breath so you can get your opinion heard. Your thoughtful patience, will be interpreted as sincerity, which is essential in building a better work relationship.

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Do you want more advice on how to maintain thoughtful communication? Contact us…we will make you a pro at productive communication!


Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders – Mother, May I

How to Stop Blaming Others…

“It’s not my fault”. “I didn’t do that.” “That’s not what I meant to say.” There are many ways we can avoid taking the blame. Many of us want to remain blameless at any cost.

So, what does it cost to take the blame? I guess that depends upon who you are in the world. Politicians tend to back peddle their words to “get away with breaking the law”. Revered professionals seem to “disappear” when they are forced to take ownership of their blame.. And if you are a rock star, you can tell everyone you were hearing voices in your head…Like what  Kanye did at the Oscars and How he explains his actions in this on-air clip from

“Right when that happened, everyone was looking at me and then people started screaming, ‘Kanye! Kanye! Go do it!” Okay, that didn’t happen. These were voicesin my head.

As a parent, I have often had to play the blame game.  I would ask “Who did this?”  The answer: “It wasn’t me. I think so and so did it.” As crazy as it sounds, that blame would just go on being unnoticed, then I would  make some feeble attempt to defray the guilt. I wish I had some words of advice from Mother, May I when my kids were pointing their fingers (which is just not nice).

Stop Blaming Others

The Blame Game only gets more complicated as we get older. Blame sneaks into all parts of our lives-It feels like the total truth.  So here are some MMI tips to help you make things right and stop playing the Blame Game:

  1. Rather than blame, learn how to praise. Praise with sincerity. Praise can isolate and remove the need to blame. When you speak to someone about a problem, start with , “Wow, it was nice of you to work late last night.” This will minimize the problem, and maximize fixing the problem.
  2. Rather than feeling tired of having to fix the problem of blame, try to look at it like a challenge – one that will stop negativity and spread positivity through responsibility instead.
  3. Rather than accept someone else’s wrong, teach them to present their true self. Ask them simple questions, that will allow you to listen and offer a clear solution. For example, “Was the assignment given to you with enough time to meet the deadline?” The answer might turn into playing the blame game-But, be strong and reply with simple words of acknowledgement and ask “what do you need to make that deadline?”

Give Praise to co workers, friends, family

Changing our blaming behavior may be insurmountable. Be patient and kind to yourself as well as others. Find the courage to correct the wrongdoing and you will find yourself  being right.

When was the last time you spoke praise with all your heart? Please share that moment with us. Sometimes, even Mother, May I  must seek out moments of praise as a way to expand our mannerly lives.
Demetria and Lisa



The Kind Recline…Airline travel is not like it used to be!

So… In the last 2 weeks United, Delta and American diverted flights as a result of passengers that just couldn’t play nice in the sandbox… or the airplane in this case.  All the major TV networks highlighted this subject and many newspapers/on-line media have weighed in as well.  There is even a device, called the Knee Defender that has been designed to prohibit the seat in front of you from reclining.  These plastic brackets are not FAA approved or airline issued and have been banned from most US airlines.

Okay, the fact is, the airline industry has been financially challenged and continue to find ways to make each flight more profitable.  So what does that mean for us consumers?  Smaller planes, packed flights, less leg room (the average is just a 28-31” pitch), and more tension.

So, just because you can, does it mean that you do?  Most airline seats were designed to recline so doing so is not an act against the TSA, but how you do it is the thing.

Be courteous and don’t inconvenience other passengers!

Try to slow the recline, so the person behind you has time to react.

You can also verbally alert the passenger of your intentions to recline.

Or eliminate the issue and fly Spirit Airlines…their seats simply don’t recline.

What not to do?  Throw a cup of water at the person behind you… that may land you in jail.


Lisa Iadicicco & Demetria Pappas

Co-Founders – Mother, May I

Hard Choices-College and Beyond

Hard Choices…Sending your child to college is clearly a hard choice. Finding the right fit is even harder! Consider the statistic that 1 in 3 freshman choose to leave school after their first year. Avoiding this statistic may require some changes in parenting, well before considering colleges, and being truly transparent with your young adult. How can you help your child choose the right school?

  • First of all, listen during your pre-college visits. Activate your active listening skills to understand what the college counselors do to help freshman acclimate.
  • Secondly, during your colleges visits, observe the non-verbal cues of your child. Are they inconsistent with their typical behavior? Are they excited or nervous? Are they fidgeting? Are they having difficulty giving strong eye-contact? These all can be signs of a potential “mis-fit”.
  • Thirdly, observe how the school communicates with their student body. Study the school newspaper reading the “New Student Orientation” section and share it with your child. Understanding the social footprint and campus protocol of the potential school, will guide you and your child to making a better choice.
  • And finally…a 4 year college isn’t the right choice for everyone. Clear communication with your child can help make the hard choices…the right choices!

May your “back to school” days not be a weight on your shoulders. I would love to hear about all college choices, right or wrong.

Demetria Pappas & Lisa Iadicicco
Co-Founders -Mother, May I

To Google or Not To Google – That’s Not The Question

So… I was at a local restaurant where lots of Millennials teamed up to participate in DJ Trivia night. Before the DJ spun his first song he spelled out the rules…one was that the use of mobile devices to secure answers was strictly prohibited.

Okay…so let’s get started! The first question was announced and what do I see, but a young women next to me trying to conceal her Google app lit on her smart phone. I couldn’t let it go by, so I called her on it…she didn’t know how to respond. Nothing defensible.

So do Smart phones really make us smart or do they facilitate short-lived bursts of brilliance and in this case, a person with a questionable sense of right and wrong?

Lisa Iadicicco & Demetria Pappas
Co-Founders – Mother, May I

Mother, May I “Do unto others” – Steeler Mean Joe Greene

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So… Mean Joe Greene, veteran Steeler defensive tackle, had quite the reputation in the day as a bit of a hot head, spouting off to coaches and referees alike.

Well during Chuck Noll’s funeral Joe Greene made a comment about learning manners from Coach…in simple terms that may have changed Joe Greene’s perspective on that topic forever.

It was simple message about doing unto others, or putting yourself in another’s shoes… Isn’t that what manners are all about?

We will miss Chuck Noll’s grace and knowledge, but clearly his wisdom lives on!


Lisa Iadicicco & Demetria Pappas

Co-Founders – Mother,May I