Life Advice



My Wife's Table Manners Embarrass Me

Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin on

How do I gently tell her to separate the laundry according to my preferences? Is that possible without looking ungrateful for all of her help? Other than the laundry issue, I've been blessed with a fantastic MIL. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I do want to save my clothes!

GENTLE READER: As Miss Manners sees it, you have three choices:

1. Hide the Velcro bibs and delicates and save them to do later when your mother-in-law has left.

2. Tell your mother-in-law, "Please at least let me separate things for you to make the sorting part easier."

Or 3. Let her catch you folding the clothes afterwards whilst good-naturedly saying, "Oh dear! I thought this was my sweater, but now it seems it will be better suited for the baby!"


Unless you want the baby to have a complete new itchy wardrobe, Miss Manners suggests you act on at least one of these choices quickly.


(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Copyright 2022 Judith Martin



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