DEAR ABBY

: I am an educated woman in my late 20s. I have been married for several years to a wonderful man, and we were recently blessed with our first child.

Since our wedding, my relationship with my mother-in- law has been evolving. Since the inception of "Desperate Housewives" on TV, she seems to believe she's a character on the show. She trots around in revealing clothing looking like a streetwalker. She spends most of her time gossiping with her newfound buddies who are half her age, and who seem to delight in dressing her up to make her the talk of the town.

I don't want this to be an example for my daughter. Confronting her doesn't work - she responds with guilt and mockery. In other words, she always wins. I'm at a loss and have given up trying to figure her out. Please help.

- Desperate Housewife

DEAR DESPERATE: As an educated woman, it's time for you to smarten up and accept your mother-in-law for the "character" she is - warts and all.

The way she dresses will not influence your daughter; you will do that. Your mother-in-law's attire is a reflection only on her, not you. Remember that. If she is so youthful in spirit that she has been accepted by a younger group of women, stop judging her and perhaps even learn from it. She's not over the hill yet. So stop trying to push her there, and you'll both be happier.