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.