In her column in today’s edition of The Buffalo News, Dear Abby features a letter from a wife who has gone through a period of marital strife (imagine that!). During that stressful period, the wife confided in her mother, who then took it upon herself to send the husband an email in which it was stated that Mom didn’t like him. Now, Mom wants to see her grandchildren (who live far away), and the husband is uncomfortable with joining his family on such a visit due to the aforesaid email. The wife seeks advice from Dear Abby. [click here, to read today’s Dear Abby column]
I agree that Mom should have kept her daughter’s confidences to herself, although I can certainly sympathize with the lady. It’s hard to hear of your daughter’s unhappiness without doing something about it.
However, I strongly disagree with Dear Abby’s final statement:
“In the future, I hope you will resolve your marital problems like the adult you are and not go running to your mother.”
Say what? Isn’t Dear Abby currently written by Jeanne Phillips, who is the daughter of the original Dear Abby (Abigail Van Buren) – who was an advice columnist? Does anyone believe that Ms. Phillips never, ever approached her own mother for advice?
I know of very few women, young or old, who don’t confide in their mothers at times. I am 62 years old, and I miss my mother every single day. I wish I could tell her about the wonderful things my kids are doing now, I wish I could tell her about my new puppy – and I really, really wish I could just drop everything on a Sunday, when my husband is driving me crazy, and go have dinner with my mother – at which time I could bitch about my husband to my heart’s content without having to face an argument directly with him instead. Over the years, there were a number of Sundays on which dinner with my mother probably saved my marriage.
As for the aforesaid upsetting email: According to the letter in the Dear Abby column, that email had been sent “a few years ago.” Sheesh, give it up already people – Mom was stressed and did a stupid thing. That doesn’t mean that she won’t be willing to forgive and forget now. I disagree with Dear Abby’s advice that the wife should talk to her mother about that email and explain how it affected the husband’s feelings. Chances are, Mom doesn’t even remember sending the darn thing, and bringing it up now is only going to rekindle the flames of that old stressful situation.
Mom is already aware that the couple made up long ago. Were I in a similar situation, I would accept a visit from my daughter, my grandkids, and my son-in-law as graciously as possible (albeit, I might occasionally check out the interactions between my daughter and her husband just to satisfy myself that they aren’t faking their current amicable relationship.)
Of course, in my case, I would probably be unable to resist adding a comment to our eventual goodbyes indicating that I promise not to send any stupid emails.
(Hopefully, I would have already resisted the temptation to greet their arrival by throwing myself across the threshold of the front door while wielding an axe – ‘cause that would scare the heck out of the grandkids, which definitely would not be a good thing.)