DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful mother-in-law whom I love very much. She frequently stays overnight in my home. I also have two young sons.
My mother-in-law recently mentioned to me that she doesn't wear underwear to bed and never has, including while staying at my house. I'm troubled by this because she wears nightgowns to bed, and I'm afraid my sons might accidentally see her lady parts. Also, she sleeps on my furniture like this, and I feel it is disrespectful and unladylike.
I don't know how to say to her that, for the sake of my furniture and my sanity, I need her to wear underwear to bed when she stays at my house. Do I broach this subject, or am I being unreasonable? -- PROPER IN OHIO
DEAR PROPER: What your mother-in-law wears to bed is her business, not yours. Unless your little boys are playing peek-a-boo underneath her nightie, they won't notice -- or care. How long is that garment anyway? If it reaches below her knees or to her ankles, there should be no "bootie contact" with your sofa. In the interest of family harmony, I recommend you take a chill pill and leave the subject alone.
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DEAR ABBY: I'm recently married to my second wife. We have a great relationship, but I feel like she has a better relationship with my two daughters than I do. They do everything together, and my daughters don't want to do anything that includes me.
Part of me is grateful they have such a great relationship, but I'm also jealous that my relationship with them is not as good as hers. Should I say something? I don't want to ruin what they have, but I feel neglected. Am I being selfish? Should I just ignore it and get a hobby or something? -- ENVIOUS IN THE EAST
DEAR ENVIOUS: I wish you had mentioned how old your daughters are. I see nothing to be gained by not discussing this with your wife. Parenting is not supposed to be a contest.
Your daughters may not mean to exclude you, but may assume you wouldn't be interested in the things they are doing or discussing. (I'm thinking of things females like to do together.) If you let them know you're sincerely interested in joining in some of their activities, you may be surprised at how quickly they include you. Also, set a standing (monthly) breakfast or lunch date -- just you and your daughters -- so you can spend some quality time together.