Dear Abby: What Do You Have Against Mothers?

Dear AbbyIn 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?

MotherhoodWhile I agree that a married couple should make every attempt to resolve their issues in the privacy of their own home, sometimes a girl just needs her mother.

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.)


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Images by:  Heather, and Marta Copani, respectively

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19 Responses to Dear Abby: What Do You Have Against Mothers?

  1. mzpresser says:

    You really have me thinking on this one. I’ll get back to you, I have to sit with this one for awhile!


  2. Dan Antion says:

    I don’t read her column often, but since it’s next to the comics. I get sucked in by some titles (there’s a lesson there for bloggers). She gets her adviceometer our of whack a lot. It’s like she doesn’t realize that adults make mistakes and other adults should be able to understand that. Great post. Now, put the axe down.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Victo Dolore says:

    Dear Abby gives some awful advice from time to time. This would be a case in point…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, I seldom read that column. I’m glad I did read it this morning – it gave me something to write about.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Victo Dolore says:

        I don’t read it often either. I usually just end up rolling my eyes. That hurts if you do it too much. Plus I hear your eyes can stick that way if you do it too much. But you dealt with the subject matter well… humor, wisdom, irony. I nominate you to take over Dear Abby. Ooooh. Wait! You could have the Dear CM section and answer advice and etiquette questions from your readers. You will become wildly popular because of your wit and wisdom and then get offered a job getting paid for it. You will take Dear Abby by storm and beat her out of the business!


        • Nice thought, Victo, but when I started my blog, I swore I would never give anyone any advice. Of course, if they were willing to pay me ……

          When my ship comes in, I will fund research into preventing that sticking eyes problem.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Every family has incidents of ‘the stupids’ – but telling a woman that she shouldn’t talk to her mother when she is feeling pain is nothing but cruel. What a screwed up idea…Jeanne owes an apology for this misstep. Families are too shattered as it is without encouraging women to cut their mother’s help and advice out of their lives. Sure, mom made a mistake sending that email. And I can understand the husband being hesitant about his welcome. But this was horrible advice. Wife and hubby should talk about what happened, sure. But visiting with an open heart seems to me to be the best way to handle it. As you said, the mother probably doesn’t even remember it. And if she does, what better time to heal any rift than with a warm, loving visit?

    And yes, it also gives mom a chance to make sure her daughter and the children are truly happy, healthy, and loved…..


  5. Paul says:

    THis is completely the Mother’s fault and since she created the problem, it shouldbe her responsibility to fix it. A daughter should always feel comfortable to speak in confidence with her mother and some of those talks will be rants. Often it is necessary to hear yourself say something before you can judge whether it is correct or not. The Mother should know that and keep her mouth shut and not interfere by sending hubby a nasty e-mail. If for no other reason than she is cutting her nose off to spite her face – access to grandchildren could easily be withheld or just not considered as likely given her negative attitude to the chldren’s father. She is one short sighted lady.

    A a result the mother should apologize to the husband and promise to never do it again and make it clear that he is welcome and desired in her house. In other words, kiss ass Mom – you got yourself into this , so it is up to you to get yourself out. Dear Abby is out to lunch onths one.


    • I would tend to agree with you that Mom should clean up the mess she made. EXCEPT that apparently several years have since gone by, at which point I think it might be best to just start fresh as if the whole thing had never happened. When my husband and I were dating, and experienced some issues, my mother-in-law offered him money to move to another state without me. As a mother, she was merely trying to protect her son, but as her future daughter-in-law, I didn’t take kindly to the offer. She never knew that I knew about it because I never brought it up. I’m glad I didn’t, because many years later, I’ve come to realize that she is the anchor in everyone’s lives and that she is a very good, very caring lady. We are now friends.


  6. stephsgrn says:

    I completely agree with you!! My mom is my best friend! My husband and I have gone through some tough times.. VERY tough a bit over a year ago. My mom was very upset with him, and although she never directly confronted him, he knew it. He was quite scarce around her for a while, even when things started getting better. Now, we are doing better than ever and all has been forgiven between them. She loves him and as long as he’s good to me, that won’t change. Women have the right to go to their moms. I agree that mom probably shouldn’t have confronted him, but they should let it all go now. As long as things really are better between them, he’s treating his wife right, then he should let it go, I’m sure the mother has.


    • Right on. I’m glad you and your husband are getting along now, and that your mother is adjusting. Almost all marriages have rough periods, especially at the beginning, and sometimes it takes years for everyone to learn to get along.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. lbeth1950 says:

    When my daughter wants to complain about her husband, I remind her. He a man. Of course. he’s an asshole. Your dad is one. Your brother is one, Your husband is one. and now you made another one. What can I say?


  8. No one should ever insult you for seeking advice, no matter the source.


  9. That will teach her to ask Dear Abby instead of her mother


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