DEAR ABBY: My partner and I recently had a baby, and it has created some major issues with my mom and in-laws. Mom is an unhappy person who blames others and external factors for her unhappiness. She laments her unhappiness to me. She's incredibly jealous of any time we spend with my partner's family. She makes mean comments about them to me and questions the amount of time we spend with them.
Having her in the same room as any of my partner's family is stressful. It even stresses me out when she asks me if I've seen them. We spend a lot of time with both families and see both once a week. Additionally, Mom comes over once during the week to see the baby and stay for dinner.
My partner is wonderfully supportive and kind. He continues to welcome Mom into our home and treat her well. However, I don't think it's fair to my partner to be treated poorly and to know that Mom says mean things about their family. I've tried speaking to my father about this, but he says things like, "That's how she is; you can't change someone. Just remain neutral."
I feel helpless and I'm not sure what to do -- give Mom an ultimatum about her behavior, never have both families in the same room, or move far away? I tried speaking with both my parents. It didn't change her behavior. Any advice? -- STRESSED OVER THIS IN WASHINGTON
DEAR STRESSED: Although you cannot change your mother's attitude, you can do something to change her behavior. The next time she questions you about the time you are spending with your partner's family, your response should be, "Mom, you already know the answer to that question. Stop asking." The next time she says something derogatory about them, tell her you are aware of how she feels, you love these people, she's making you uncomfortable and to stop. It may take repeating, but eventually you may get through. If that doesn't happen, you may wind up seeing less of her, which would be a relief.