DEAR ABBY: I recently took my children to spend a week with my mother-in-law, "Bea." Three days after we arrived, my husband flew in to join us. The next day, Bea handed me a hotel room key and told me to take as many of the children as I wanted, but I could not take my husband because she never gets to spend time with him!
I told Bea I was offended, and that I should not have been invited if it wasn't a "family" trip. As I was packing to leave, my mother-in-law left and spent the rest of our visit in the hotel herself while my family and I stayed at her home.
My husband has now told me that I will not be "allowed" to visit her again, and when she visits us next, it will be just him and the kids because I make his mother "uncomfortable." Must I stay away as he says, or should I pursue keeping myself included when they visit my mother-in-law?
- Mom of Four in Maryland
DEAR MOM OF FOUR: Did this happen out of the blue, or have you always had a strained relationship with your husband's mother? (I'm guessing it's the latter.) If so, why?
If the genesis of this is something you have said or done, and you can't mend fences, then perhaps it would be better if you made other plans while Bea visits. If it isn't, then face it: You married a mama's boy, and for that you have my sympathy.
Were I in your shoes, I'd grab the chance to treat myself to a well-earned vacation when the "lady" is in town - and ditto when your husband and the kids go to visit Granny. Check into a spa and let yourself have a good time!
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 13-year old boy who loves to play baseball and football. I'm pretty good at both sports. The issue is, my mom does not support me and repeatedly tells me I'm not good at either one. When she says it, it cuts my heart out.
My parents have been divorced since I was 2, and Dad has always done everything for me. Mom constantly says negative and bad things about my dad that I know are not true, but when I defend him she goes crazy with rage. What can I do to get her to stop being so negative?
- Very Discouraged in Texas
DEAR VERY DISCOURAGED: Your letter made me sad because there is nothing you can do to make your mother change her attitude. She appears to be an angry and unhappy person, who may perceive your closeness with your father as a threat to her. What you can do is stop placing so much importance on receiving her approval. If your coach thinks you're doing well, and these sports bring you a sense of closeness with your father, then you should enjoy them for those reasons.