Manners are a Marathon!



Is running a marathon really that impressive these days? Sure is! Less the .5% of the US population have ever even finished one! Many think anyone who wants to run 26.2 miles, must be a little crazy. But the truth is people run for many reasons…you can run like Forrest Gump, because you”just felt like running”, or you can run honoring a loved one, for a philanthropic cause or just to say “I did it”. Whatever your reason, we have some helpful tips for you to get you through with mindful manners.

And for the record, Lisa and I have finished running a few marathons.(I will admit that Lisa was my mentor in running my first marathon.) And , today she has graduated from training with me to mentoring young girls at Girls on The Run .  So, since we are experts on manners and running-I would like to combine the topics of Marathons and Manners. As with any popular social event, there is proper protocol-and Race Day is not an exception. Waking up during the wee hours of the morning to run amongst strangers is going to take some approriate social skills, manners, and courtesies. In 2014, in the United States alone, more than half a million people finished a marathon. So, here is a guide to be a polite runner and a proper spectator:

  1. Don’t sneak into a seeded pen.  The finish time corrals are set up for the safety of the runners, so be realistic and start in the most appropriate spot.
  2. If you run to music, use just one earbud and keep the volume low, this helps to keep you aware of things going on around you.
  3. If you are taking a drink or plan to eat at the water stations, exit gracefully-Look before you turn back into the running traffic, and toss your empty cup, banana peel or sticky gum wrapper to the side of the course and in that garbage bin.
  4. If you plan to walk-run the entire race, then stick to the edge of the course.
  5. If you take a walk break: just take care to work your way to the side first.
  6. If you need to slow down, because you are hurt or feeling ill-Put up your hands and shout “Stopping” to alert runners behind you that something’s going to change.
  7. If you must spit, snort or pass(gas), just make sure there is no one behind you when you do it.-It takes a millisecond to turn your head.-Save the embarrassment.

And Now, Marathon Etiquette Tips for the Spectators!


30,000 runners will be embarking on their journey May 3rd in the Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Marathon Events.  So if each of them bring 2 spectators to cheer them on, well, how does one successfully manage 60,000 sign toting, enthusiastic spectators? We hope that they follow our simple tips to keep the peace and pace on race day.

  1. Be Prepared. Water Stops and food stations are for participants. Pack your own snack and water.
  2. Make Signs. We love to read the signs as we run (even if they are for others)-Mile 20-Highland Park in Pittsburgh.
  3. Don’t run across the street while dodging runners.
  4. Don’t scream obscenities thinking it will motivate the runners.
  5. Clap and offer words of Encouragement for all runners, not just your favorites.
  6. Don’t offer homemade goodies. Let the food stations do their job.
  7. Stay to the finish. Nothing is more rewarding than sharing that finishing moment with a marathoner!

Unfortunately, neither Lisa nor I will be participating as runners this year. Injury and Family trumped our attendance-however, we hope those that run will let us know how you finish!

Manners, like Marathon training takes practice…so stretch out those mindful manners and see what great place they might take you!

Demetria and Lisa

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts…and Marathon Finishers

How Manners Start From the Ground Up!



In honor of Earth Day this week, I thought I would talk about where good manners started to grow. Some might view proper manners as a scene out of Downton Abbey Manners of Downton Abbey  . Well they actually have a different origin…though etiquette has been known since ancient times, it acquired its classic form in the Middle Ages. Most researchers dealing with history of culture attribute the appearance of etiquette as a regulatory system to those times… the “law” you might say, that was put in place to keep order. Etiquette had the character of the law and had a very strong influence on the high society. Violation of the rules of etiquette was regarded as a crime.

So fast forward to today…bad manners won’t land you in the stocks, but could deter your opportunities to get into the school you want, or get the job you desire. Learn more about Interview Etiquette here: College and Beyond with MMI

Some, feel manners are a lost art, but we say go to lost and found and find those manners, because good manners and professional behavior will find you avenues you may not have thought existed.

So we will start by discussing the “Family Table”…


What’s that you might say?   Well as the name suggests, it is your family sitting around the table for a meal…consistently. From personal experience, that’s where it was sketched into my head: “Put your napkin on your lap” “Don’t talk with your mouth full!” “What do you say when you leave the table…oh yes…May I be excused?   Well that table talk has lost its priority and has been all but eliminated for lots of reasons:  multiple households, many afterschool activities, forgetting the importance, and the list goes on.

Our suggestion is to find that Family Table…even if it is only once a week! Treat that time as a technology free zone and go through the details of manners at the table with your family. Help create small talk during the meal by having everyone discuss the best part of their day. Hopefully they will say…this meal!

The New York Times just published an article about our up and coming youth Make Way for Generation Z . Preparing kids with the best possible soft skills, like manners, will improve their opportunities as young adults!     Good manners as a kid, turns into a positive impression, which turns into personal and professional SUCCESS throughout their lives!


Mother May, I has contributed to a podcast on Tuesday, April 21st at 10AM EST.

Please tune in at Mom Talk Podcast Mother, May I and listen to some helpful hints for kids and young adults or click play below!

Let us know how you have created a Family Table. We would love to share your successes with our followers.

Thank you and Happy Earth Day…Grow something good today!

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts

April Showers May Bring May Flowers

April Showers

As an expert in etiquette and manners, my daily conversations often involve someone telling me about something they saw and “how rude it was”. Then the conversation usually goes down the path as to why? Why do people behave the way they do? What has happened to our social skills? What is going to happen when all of this rudeness just gets to be “normal”? (Note: Learn good manners here.)

Usually, my reply is “Well, today people don’t have time to be nice. And today, people don’t know what to do in everyday social settings to try to be helpful. And, unfortunately-people are not being taught good manners.” Are any of my replies true? Of course they are. Why are random acts of kindness overruled by bad behavior?
Mother, May I wants to rain on this parade of bad behavior. Please help us promote kindness and address those around you who are displaying rudeness. The old adage that our mothers would say is true: If you sprinkle a little sugar on someone, they will respond with a sweet act. We are happy to report that schools are starting to understand the importance of rewarding good behavior, rather that publishing the bad.
To help all of you grow into a better person, here are some random acts of kindness to choose. One random act of kindness a day never hurt anyone, and while you’re at it—try for three a day!

1. Send a card and seeds to a neighbor (whose garden you admire).
2. Invite an acquaintance out for coffee. (And be prepared to pay-remember the MMI rule, whomever reaches out for the invite, will reach for that check.)
3. Send a handwritten thank-you note.
4. Pay the toll for the car behind you on the interstate
5. Hold the door open for someone.
6. Ask your mother for one of her favorite recipes.
7. Let another car take that parking spot.
8. Let the person at the supermarket checkout with only a few items go ahead of you.

9. Share an umbrella with someone who needs it. (Check out the yellow umbrella movement.)

In today’s hypercompetitive world, knowing to take some time to look around and find a “Good Deed” to do takes some good intention. Finding that intention inside yourself, to share random acts of kindness with co-workers, family, friends, and complete strangers, takes some effort. My neighbor was brought to tears by opening a door for a disabled person…that person turned to her and thanked her with a poem. Imagine the impact that poem had on her, and obviously her opening that door had a huge impact on the stranger.

open the door for others
We all have a story like that. On days when it seems like the rain just won’t stop, we come across someone who sprinkles some sunshine and helps us move forward, with a warmer heart and usually a big smile!
Please share with us your moving story…it can make a change in someone’s day.

Demetria and Lisa
Co-founders Mother, May I

Don’t be Cross…Learn the art of Mannerly debate!




So… I am sure most of you have heard the old adage, “don’t discuss religion or politics”.

Why is that,  do you think? I think it is because people get so passionate about their point of view, it seems very possible that the discussion may turn to fist a cuffs. We have seen throughout history polarizing religious thought processes resulting in heartache and war. But in polite conversation, managing anger and frustration is hard…and so we resist it.

Conflict, actually, can be positive or negative, constructive or destructive, based on how we approach, engage and navigate the conflict.  Workplace Conflict Solving occurs when people express disagreement without hostility and with a commitment to an effective resolution of the conversation. But in this digital age where people can weigh in on any topic behind the comfort and security of their computer screen or mobile device…well the conversation can get unproductive. Take the reactions to Governor  Mike Pence signing Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” legislation.  Indiana’s religious freedom law

Well here are some tips to help you have a constructive conversation about polarizing topics.

  • Active listening – do not dismiss an opinion just because it is not in-line with your own( link back to our Did you know tab under Do You Understand me)
  • Never demean or belittle intelligence or character of the person you are speaking with
  • Have a conversation, respecting other’s opinions…agreeing to disagree if necessary
  • Speak your opinion in a non-threatening manner – remember your tone can be polarizing

Many a friendship, family connection and career have been lost by handling this topic without grace and proper manners.

And for you bloggers out there…if you wouldn’t feel comfortable making your comment face to face, I would refrain from posting it. It is a poor reflection on you, that could come back to haunt you.

Hiding behind Computer

In the end, disagreements are healthy. In public discourse, there are difficult problems that do not have simple solutions. It is ok to have a conversation and ultimately to agree to disagree with someone. The key word being…Conversation!

We would like to start a conversation…Agree or Disagree, Is that the question?


Lisa & Demetria

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts

Upgrading Your Manners…It Will Pay Off For You!


spring-forward (2)

So… with the start of Spring (finally!) we thought it might be a good opportunity to conduct some Spring Cleaning in manners department. A refresher on some important modern manners , well it’s perfect timing!

Spring is the time when the Mother Nature rejuvenates herself…so why shouldn’t we?! Let’s start clearing out those closets of misfit manners and Spring into acting and behaving in a more professional and mindful way. In the world of business, it’s not always what you do but how you do it. With one small gesture you can impress, insult, appear cultured and educated, or simply reduce your credibility .

Here are some mannerly actions that will increase your E.Q. (Etiquette Quotient), increasing your confidence and marketability in the world!

Be on time…

Be on time and prepared….what that means in business affairs is 10-15 minutes early and google some pertinent information about the event or speaker. What can happen if you arrive early?

  1. You may get some face time with decision makers, who are typically early.
  2. You can take the time to find the best positioning for you in the meeting space.
  3. You can offer to help – offering assistance may convey your ability to collaborate, which may differentiate you from your peers.

See what this professional hockey player’s lack of timeliness has cost him… Pro Hockey player suspended for lateness

Dining Do’s and Don’ts…

Master the art of dining. It is not about eating with your mouth open or belching at the table…though those infractions are important, there is a much deeper nuance to a business meal, particularly if you want to make the right impression  More than 65% of all business is conducted during a meal of some sort. So sorting out best practices is important. So ask yourself…

  1. When do I RSVP?
  2. Where do I put my napkin when I stand?
  3. How to order or should I order a bottle of wine?
  4. When do I start that business conversation?

Salt and pepper

Learn more about Dining Etiquette with MMI.


Mindful usage of electronic devices/electronic communication. Many an opportunity has been won or lost based on how we communicate. In this 4G world the lines have gotten more challenging to navigate. So knowing how and when to communicate is critical in maximizing success. Do you know how to communicate between the multitudes of generations in the workplace ? Here are some tips:

    1. Learning how a company or client prefers to communicate is the first thing. So ask how you should be communicating, you don’t want to be texting when picking up the phone would be more appropriate .
    2. Knowing when an email has become misinterpreted and knowing what to do about it.
    3. Respecting the people around you when using your electronic devices. It’s rare to talk to a person without your phone buzzing at least once. So who is most important? That person in front of you or your electronic device buzzing in your pocket?  Brain Interrupted   

Personal space in a public place…

Being mindful of your surroundings and personal space. I am amazed the amount of people who actually take phone calls in a public restroom or in a cubicle space amongst 20 other cubicle spaces.

  1. Remember to use your indoor voice when speaking on the phone or with other colleagues in a confined space.
  2. The office refrigerator should not be considered your personal space…it is communal so treat it that way by clearing out your contributions on a daily basis. Don’t take what is not yours or you may get this note in return.

refrig letter

Do you want more advice on how to improve your E.Q.? Contact us… we will make your Etiquette Spring Cleaning a more pleasurable and profitable task!

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders – Mother, May I

March for that Dream Job by Using Your Manners…

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 12.56.21 PM

In my wildest dreams, I never dreamt I would become an etiquette expert-however I have dreamt about being an entrepreneur and about being a mother. My dream job as a mother has not been easy… Nor has my dream job as an entrepreneur. What has helped me thrive, is believing that within my dreams are opportunities. Our dreams invite us to reach beyond our present goals. If you don’t like your present job, challenge yourself to reach for that dream job. It’s hard to change, and even though you might get the opportunity to interview for that job—something happens, and we don’t get that job.

Are you wondering why?

  1. Maybe you made the wrong impression when you walked into the room?
  2. Maybe you wore the wrong clothes?
  3. Maybe you did not answer the question the right way?
  4. Maybe you did not ask the right questions?
  5. Maybe you did not maintain good eye contact?
  6. Maybe you squirmed and fidgeted in your seat?
  7. Maybe you did not smile when you said goodbye?
  8. Maybe you did not send a written thank-you and instead sent an email.?

Well, thinking about all those may-be’s would give anyone a bad dream. Let Mother, May I wake you up and offer you the right advice to make that dream job a reality. MMI did a Business Etiquette program for the University Of AZ Eller College of Management:

A candidate was disappointed that they kept getting rejected interview after interview. Upon receiving a Certificate of Completion from MMI Business Etiquette Class, that student figured out what they needed to do to outclass others in getting that job.

Here are some etiquette words of advice to help you perform better as an interviewee:

  1. You don’t have to be a saint to make a positive difference in the world. Make time to volunteer and add volunteering to your resume.
  1. There is a reason actors have dress rehearsals. Take their cue, and be sure to practice your interview by making a video tape, in a mirror or in the presence of a friend. Dry run the clothes  you intend to wear for the interview as well.
  2. Practice your elevator speech on why you want this job. If you don’t say out loud why this has been your dream job, then you won’t sound like you really want the job.
  3. During your interview, demonstrate that you are a good listener. Follow our Facebook to read about active listening tips.
  4. Be Yourself! If you are kind, sincere, and mannerly, than you are likeable. People want to work around people that are likeable.

Do you want more advice on how to make your dream come true? Contact us! We will make your dream job become a reality !!


Demetria and Lisa

Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts


Thrive Arianna Huffington

The Promise of a New Day Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburgh

Strategy and Business Spring 2015, magazine

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



How to Build a Better Relationship Every Day

Val Day

So it is actually kind of ironic that I would get this weeks topic to write about…see the thing is, I don’t really believe in “Valentine’s Day”. No, I am not bah hum bug to love…the contrary actually, just feel that Valentine’s Day is a commercialized holiday in order to sell more price hiked flowers or make jewelry stores more profit. I have had, like most of us, my share of not so great relationships, but if you can change your approach to a more mannerly one, odds are things will improve. So I am going to offer some helpful hints on how you can be more mannerly in relationships…all year round, vs. just one day of the year!

  1. Communicate and Listen to each otherMother, May I teaches the benefits of active listening skills, which has been proven to improve relationships at home and at work. Feeling like you are being heard is important making you feel respected.
  2. Live respectfully…  No matter how frustrated you are, it’s always better to be respectful to your spouse, partner, friend, co-worker, than not.  Make it your charge to act respectfully, and ask that you be similarly treated.  This means watching your tone of voice, speaking about your own needs rather than other’s shortcomings, and remembering to find the positives in each other.  Living respectfully also means respecting yourself!
  3. Rethink “I’ve got to…”  It’s amazing how easy it is to get caught up in an “I’ve got to (fill in the blank)” mentality.  Yet a really honest assessment suggests that many “got to’s” are actually “choose to’s.”  Be accountable with your needs and the needs of your partner and focus on the “choose to’s”.  Look at the bright side! A change in attitude can compliment your relationships in general.
  4. Embrace the differences… you’ve heard the old adage that opposites attract, but do they stay together? Well it depends on how we handle each other’s differences. Civility is the key!  Accept your differences and allow those to strengthen your relationship. Don’t view your differences as problems, but view them as an opportunity for you to be with someone who will bring you out of your comfort zone.
  5. Keep smiling and laughing… Don’t be misled, happy relationships have serious moments too. Even arguing is part of a healthy relationship, but happy couples get each other’s sense of humor. Couples who keep things lighthearted when they don’t need to be serious show that they still value the traits that brought them together in the first place.


Whether going on your first date or in a long time relationship, a proper code of conduct in relationships will help manage the process.

Pick one mannerly behavior you want to improve in your relationship building style…Let us know it changes things!



Lisa and Demetria

Co-founders Mother, May I


And the Winner Is…

Mother, May I 02.04.15

And the Winner IS….


YOU!-You made it through January. You managed to keep at least one of your New Year’s Resolutions, and that’s OK -as long as you are feeling good about your behavior and habits. Just like Superbowl XLIX is behind us -put behind you any bad memories or consequences that came from your behavior. It’s February, 2015 and Mother, May I is going to help you be a good sport in work, play and family.
Words of Advice to help keep you on track for a SUPER 2015


• Work on improving your listening skills. At home, school, work, even on the subway and in short conversations in the grocery store, wherever you are, try to be an active listener. Active listening can be developed with practice. Don’t simply hear, but concentrate on what a speaker is saying. Doing so will teach about who your talking to, help you understand underlying messages, feelings, and dispositions, and make the conversation more beneficial for all parties involved

Here are some tips that can help you become an active listener.

  • – Pay full attention to the speaker.
  • – Use body language to give gesture that you are listening.
  • – Give ample feedback
  • – Do not judge
  • – Respond accordingly.
  • – Do not plan your response while the speaker is still talking. Instead hear them out fully, and then take an extra moment to gather your response afterward if necessary.


• Hit the Pause button often. Stop Look Listen— This kindergarten code of conduct for crossing the street still resonates into our everyday social conduct. And now that we are older, a word of advice is added:-Think before you speak. Is it ever okay to correct someones manners? Read the Huffington Post Article “Minding Other People’s Manners: When and How Is It Okay?” to find out.

• It’s National Heart Month-Take yourself to the doctor for a yearly physical. Taking care of your own health will make you feel better. Take it one-step further-Ask your friends and neighbors—have they had their health checked? Leanr more about health and manners with this past  Mother, May I  Facebook post.

May we ask for your say on how you are feeling in February? We promise to listen and ask caring questions.

Etiquette Experts-
Demetria and Lisa
Co-founders-Mother, May I