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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Miss Manners: Visiting mom finds nothing to approve

Judith Martin Universal Uclick

Dear Miss Manners: I have just returned home from spending a few days with my son (36) and daughter-in-law (34). My DIL’s mother has been gone for 15 years, so I sometimes try to give her advice to help her.

It seems this has not been appreciated. I disagreed with their decision to move away from their hometown, but they had repeatedly invited me to come, so I did.

The guest room, as well as the entire house, was oddly decorated. My DIL painted the guest room walls a pale green, a color I do not enjoy.

My DIL is a tall girl and often wears heels, and even though I said it was inappropriate, she just smiled and changed the subject but did not change her shoes.

They offered to take me to museums or shops or local sites of interest, but they didn’t even have a specific activity planned. They took me to dinner once, and they cooked dinner for me the next night.

I sat them down and said it was clear they did not really want me to visit, and my son actually said they had worked hard to make me comfortable and that they had hoped this would be a fun visit.

Then my son said that if all I wanted to do was criticize, then maybe I should not come back.

I cannot believe that a girl I have cared for has turned my son against me, and I am at a loss at how I should deal with her in the future. She had the gall to tear up during the discussion, as if to make my son feel bad for her!

Gentle Reader So you are the one responsible for giving mothers-in-law such a bad name!

Miss Manners always wondered why so much venom is directed against ladies who are, after all, somewhat responsible for producing a presumably beloved spouse. Now she knows.

Would you like to have a houseguest who sneers at your taste in decorating and clothing, who considers it an effrontery to be offered a choice of activities and to be taken to dinner as well as cooked for at home, and who mocks tears as being a contemptible ploy?

Your son has offered you a reasonable choice. And your daughter-in-law was not the person who turned him against you.