Dear Miss Manners: I am the happy mother of an absolutely delightful young woman who is in college. Everyone finds her charming, and I must say, I privately thrill at the compliments she often receives, because I raised her nearly entirely on my own. (My husband always worked long hours, and I stayed home and then worked in my daughter's schools.) I do claim much of the credit for her sweet disposition — in my own mind, not obnoxiously or out loud.

My mother-in-law, who has never treated me with any amount of kindness, has taken to stating in mixed company that my husband's cousin was "like a second mother" to my daughter and "helped raise her." She says this every time this cousin is around.

I have no clue why the cousin would let this statement go; she knows, as do my husband and I, that she had nothing to do with our daughter's upbringing. She merely babysat twice, maybe thrice, before we moved to a different state when our daughter was 3. (My mother-in-law lived eight states away, had less than nothing to do with my daughter's upbringing and had no knowledge whatsoever of the goings-on in our household.)

I know I shouldn't let this bother me, but it makes my skin crawl. It was no small task to raise such a lovely young lady, and I took this work very seriously. Is there anything I can say in response to this farcical statement that wouldn't make me look like an ogre?

Yes, Cousin Melba was generous enough to babysit Georgia when she was little and we lived nearby. Fifteen years later, we still feel in her debt.”

Dear Miss Manners: My husband is always late — on purpose. For example, we were invited to his aunt's house for lunch at noon. He got up and in the shower at 12:10, then asked me to call and make excuses.

This was not the only time he has done that. It's a habit of his. He even came late to our daughter's First Communion Mass, although he knew for weeks what time he was supposed to be there.

Why are you an active participant in this rude behavior?

It seems to Miss Manners that if you refused to make excuses for him or to delay important events for which you are joint hosts, he would be severely impaired by continuing. Petulant outcries that you are not being a loyal spouse may be returned in kind.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

2021, by Judith Martin