Dear Abby: Mother-in-law’s pop-ins make angry wife pop off

Dear Abby: My mother-in-law has begun doing the “pop-in.” My husband passive-aggressively hinted that he wished he had known she was coming over. Her response was, “I’m your mother; I don’t need to let you know when I’m coming over.” I regard this as total disrespect.

She has done this plenty of times – including popping in when I was having a dinner with my parents and children, which made her mad because she and my father-in-law hadn’t been invited.

She did the pop-in again last week. My husband, four children and I were about to sit down to a family dinner when she rang the doorbell. I didn’t have enough food for her and my father-in-law, which made us all uncomfortable. She made a sarcastic comment, “Gee, I guess I shouldn’t have come over,” then she sat in the living room staring at us as we ate.

I have begged my husband to say something, but he says it would be disrespectful. I said it is disrespectful that she comes over without checking with us first. What’s your take on this? – No Pop-Ins, Please

Dear No Pop-Ins: You have my sympathy. Your mother-in-law is a handful. Your husband may be so cowed by his mother that he’s afraid to assert himself. You are under no obligation to entertain anyone who pops in, including her. The next time she shows up unannounced, remind her to call first and suggest that she come back some other time.

Dear Abby: Is it appropriate to stay in contact with my former mother-in-law? Her son and I divorced after three years. She was the best thing to come out of the whole fiasco. I don’t want to cause friction, but I would like to continue to send birthday and holiday cards. – Divorced With No Regrets

Dear Divorced With No Regrets: I can’t see how a holiday card relationship with your former mother-in-law would cause friction. However, because you are concerned, the person to ask would be the lady herself. If she would welcome the attention from you, then send them.