DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been married to a wonderful man for the past 10 years. We have a beautiful child together.
While my marriage is wonderful, I have an issue with my mother and my mother-in-law. For the past 10 years, my mother has listened to me vent about my mother-in-law. I have overlooked a lot of inappropriate comments from my mother-in-law toward myself and my child. She has four kids of her own, whom she does not treat fairly. My mother has been my sounding board and my support, as a mother should be.
My issue is that now, my mother has decided she is going to be personal friends with my mother-in-law. They are currently planning a trip together.
I am upset about this, and I feel she should always support her daughter. Keep in mind, my mother has told people things when she has been sworn to secrecy. Her comments seem to “slip” into her conversations. I am concerned that information regarding myself and my child will be told.
GENTLE READER: Take this as an opportunity to have an extra ally.
Miss Manners suggests that you invite them over together as much as possible -- and certainly ahead of their trip. That way, you can partake in, or at least be privy to, any inside jokes and embarrassing stories, and reduce, or at least manage, the possibility of divulging secrets.
In the event of a slip-up, a stern warning uttered to your mother in a fun and friendly way (“Oh no, Mom, you don’t want to share that! You wouldn’t want Brenda to think that you didn’t bring me up right, would you?”) will serve as fair warning -- and assure her that two can play this game.