DEAR ABBY: My problem is my mother and my ex-husband. When "Steve" and I divorced two years ago, there were a lot of hard feelings. My mother is aware of this because I was living with her at the time.
Abby, my mother constantly takes Steve's side over mine. She repeatedly "reminds" me how lucky I am that Steve pays child support and has regular visits with our daughter. I agree that I am luckier than most divorced mothers. But when I discuss any problem I might be having with Steve, Mom takes his side and says, "He pulls his own weight."
What I would like Steve to do is to take more responsibility for our daughter. She stays with him two days a week, but you can bet that on one of those days he will have something else to do -- like work, a date or a ballgame. Then he asks Mom to baby-sit our daughter and Mom readily agrees. When I ask her to baby-sit for me, she immediately wants to know why. When Steve drops our daughter off at Mom's house, family members tell me that he usually spends up to an hour visiting with her. I think this is strange behavior.
What is this "thing" between my ex-husband and my mom? She didn't think he was so great when we were married. Why the sudden change? Is this my ex's way of staying involved in my life? When I ask Mom about this she gets defensive, or ignores me, or hangs up on me. -- CONFUSED DAUGHTER, METAIRIE, LA.
DEAR CONFUSED: Your mother is walking a tightrope between remaining cordial with your "ex," being loyal to you and being a good grandmother. She may go a little overboard defending Steve, but she may also be playing the "devil's advocate," pointing out his good features so that you will eventually have a civil relationship.
Although Steve is no longer your husband, that doesn't mean he can't be a friend of your mother's. Because you share custody of your child, Steve will always be in your life to some degree. Try to accept it and go on with your life.