DEAR ABBY: I am an educated woman in my late 20s. I have been married for several years to a wonderful man, and we were recently blessed with our first child.
Since our wedding, my relationship with my mother-in-law has been an evolving one. Since the inception of "Desperate Housewives" on TV, she seems to believe she's a character on the show. She trots around in revealing clothing looking like a streetwalker. She spends most of her time gossiping with her newfound buddies who are half her age, and who seem to delight in dressing her up to make her the talk of the town.
As a little girl, when I dreamed of how my life would be as a married woman, it was never like this. My dreams never included a MIL who enjoys seeing people look at her in disbelief as she struts across the room. I don't want this to be an example for my daughter. Confronting her doesn't work -- she responds with guilt and mockery. In other words, she always wins. I'm at a loss and have given up trying to figure her out. Please help. -- DESPERATE HOUSEWIFE
DEAR DESPERATE: As an educated woman, it's time for you to smarten up and accept your mother-in-law for the "character" she is -- warts and all. You were wrong to expect her to fulfill the fantasy role you created for her. She's not ready to do it -- and she may never be.
The way she dresses will not influence your daughter; you will do that. Your mother-in-law's attire is a reflection only on her, not you. Remember that. If she is so youthful in spirit that she has been accepted by a younger group of women, stop judging her and perhaps even learn from it. She's not over the hill yet. So stop trying to push her there, and you'll both be happier.