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Susan Adcox

Mothers Have Complex Relationship With Adult Sons

By October 17, 2011

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A couple of hurt moms had the stage in Dear Abby recently. The first letter is from a mother whose son is having babies with a woman, Luci, without divorcing his first wife. His son by his first marriage regards Luci as his mommy. The letter writer, who signs herself "Disrespected Mother," claims to be concerned about Luci, but also says she raised her son "to be a better man than this." She brought up these concerns at a family gathering, causing "friction." Abby sympathizes with Disrespected and accurately points out that Luci could be left in the lurch if anything happens to the young father.  But Abby drops the ball when she doesn't warn Disrespected that bringing up such matters at a family function is a good way to get dis-invited from future events. If Disrespected must say something, it should be said in private to her son. Failure to hold one's tongue is responsible for many of the fractured families that I hear about.

The second letter is less complex but has a similar solution. A mother is hurt that her son called his mother-in-law Mom. "Am I being silly? Or should I let this go?" asks the letter writer, signing herself "His Only Mom." Abby wisely advises her to let it go, although in the very next sentence she says that it would be okay for her to confide her hurt feelings to her son. Personally, I think the mom should let it go, period. Friction with a daughter-in-law is one of the swiftest routes I know to becoming estranged from a son. Having a son with two moms is much better than having no son at all. Also, some day that son may have children, and the only thing worse than being estranged from a son is being estranged from a son and grandchildren.


Readers' Stories:

October 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm
(1) Grandma Kc says:

I must have a brilliant daughter and equally brilliant son-in-law! My son-in-law has always called me Momz, which honors me but sets me apart from his real mother.

When I remarried my daughter christened my husband “Vati.” It is German for Father. Her own dad is alive, and this was the perfect solution.

October 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm
(2) kimberly says:

It does seem to me that the adult sons area is a sticky wicket. My son-in-law calls me Mama with my last name added. I believe my sons call their MIL’s by their first name, as my DIL’s call me. I do know though that it seems whichever Mom you are, you are only entitled to agree or there’s trouble.

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