DEAR ABBY: I'm a teen mom who feels like I am being taken advantage of by my newborn's grandmother. (I'll call her "Liz.") My baby's father, "Todd," lives with her. They provide no financial support.
Liz puts me on the spot constantly and makes me feel bad if I tell her she can't have the baby that day or take her to a certain place. Since day one, she has wanted to take my baby out of town. That bothers me because I don't want my daughter going out of town unless I am with her.
I feel obligated to let Todd's mother see the baby all the time to avoid the drama she would cause in my life if I don't. I don't want to be mean, but I need to let her know how I feel. How do I approach her? -- YOUNG MOM IN RICHMOND, IND.
DEAR YOUNG MOM: No one can be taken advantage of unless she (or he) allows it. Do not allow anyone -- no matter how well-intentioned -- to do anything with your baby that makes you uncomfortable. You may be young, but as a mother you are responsible for your child's welfare.
Do not "approach" Liz; let her approach you. When she does, be polite, firm and stand your ground. If she tries to turn it into a power struggle, end the conversation. Do not allow her to make you lose your temper.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of four years, "Omar," and I have been having major arguments lately. They're about the relationship he has with his sister. I feel he confides in her more than he does me.
I realize she's his sister, but he consults her about finances, what kind of pet to buy, how things are going at work, etc. He's never open with me about those issues. He shuts me out to the point that I have told him if it doesn't change, we're through. He says I'm "overreacting."
Even more peculiar, she makes phone calls for Omar -- like when his mortgage payment was late or when he had to ask the IRS a tax question. Omar is 34 and should be handling these things himself.
It galls me when he puts her on a pedestal and puts me down when I make a mistake. I'm a single mom, doing well on my own, but he refuses to acknowledge it. What should I do? -- SECOND FIDDLE IN ARIZONA
DEAR SECOND FIDDLE: It is possible that Omar's sister has been running his life for so long that she's the first person he thinks of when he gets into a bind. And obviously she has done a capable job of it, or he wouldn't keep having her intercede for him.
It should be clear to you by now that putting yourself in competition with her is getting you nowhere. So accept the two of them as a package deal or find a man who is independent.
DEAR ABBY: I am 21 and recently became engaged to my boyfriend of three years. We are trying to pull off a wedding on a budget. My parents dislike my fiance, so we are footing the bill.
My fiance's mom owns a beauty salon and, in the past, has offered to cut and highlight my hair. I have accepted twice in the last two years. She also fixed my hair for my university mixer. Would it be appropriate to ask her, as the mother of the groom, to fix my hair on my wedding day? -- BUDGETING IN FAIRFAX, VA.
DEAR BUDGETING: I see nothing inappropriate about it. Go ahead and ask.
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