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“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Sep 24, 2012
DEAR ABBY: I am very concerned for my henpecked son who is expecting his first child. He works long hours (50-plus a week) at a low-paying job with an hour commute. His wife works part-time (10 hours a week). The problem is, their tiny apartment is a pigsty, and she doesn't clean or pick up. She expects him to do it all, and he tries to, while she reads and makes baby quilts.

How do I tactfully get her to do her share now, before the baby comes and she expects my son to "help her" even more? He is totally overburdened, stressed out, but seemingly happy. Until I saw the condition of their apartment I had suspected it was bad, but had no idea how bad the situation really was.-- DESPAIRING MOM IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR DESPAIRING MOM: Not knowing your daughter-in-law, I can't judge whether she is lazy, or whether the reason she isn't doing more around the apartment is pregnancy-related. You say your son is happy. Be grateful for that. Rather than "tactfully getting her to do her share," why not volunteer to help them until your grandchild is on a regular sleep schedule? It would make you appear to be an angel instead of critical, and bring the three of you a lot closer than you appear to be. However, if your offer is refused, then accept that this is how your son and daughter-in-law prefer to live.

DEAR ABBY: I spent tonight in a parking lot, knowing I had no options. My husband of 25 years is an alcoholic and abusive. I have two teenage children at home. I'm in bad health and haven't worked in decades. I'm trapped.

I have the typical arguments with my daughter. My son is a gem who stays home because he doesn't want to leave us with his father. It's a sad situation.

While catching up on reading Dear Abby tonight, I saw a number for an abuse hotline where they will help me with a plan to leave. I have no money, no chance of getting a job. But that number gave me a glimmer of hope. It seems too good to be true, but I'll make that call. Thank you, Abby.-- BEATEN DOWN IN TEXAS

DEAR BEATEN DOWN: I'm glad you are making that call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Part of the reason you feel so hopeless and "beaten down" is that for so many years your abuser chipped away at your self-esteem.

For any other reader who may have missed that column and needs the toll-free phone number, it is 800-799-7233.

DEAR ABBY: My good friend "Claire" has two daughters, 8 and 10. Her younger daughter is the same age as my daughter and they are very close. We spend a lot of time with them and have the girls at our house often.

After the last sleepover, my daughter commented that the sisters argue all the time and it's not fun having them over anymore. She would like to invite only the younger daughter for a sleepover, but we have put off asking as we are afraid of hurting the older daughter's feelings by not including her. Actually, I'm afraid it might hurt the mother's feelings, too. What's the best way to invite only one sibling?-- SLEEPOVER NIGHTMARE

DEAR S.N.: If the girls are arguing when they're at your house, you can bet it's happening at home, too. Talk to Claire and explain what happened and your daughter's reaction. The older girl should be interacting/socializing with friends of her own.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#2 Sep 24, 2012
L1: Get the hell out of their marriage, woman! You have no idea what all is going on. If you're right, so what. It's up to your son to get a backbone then, not you. Now here is a helicopter parent if there ever was one.

L2: Get help for your children, too.

L3: I would have been up in that room when they started arguing and said to all three, "If you can't get along you cannot be here". But what's with the sib hanging out with her younger sister's friends? There's something wrong there.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#3 Sep 24, 2012
LW1: "How do I tactfully get her to do her share now"
Mind your own f'n business. He's a grown ass man and this is between them. Not you.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#4 Sep 24, 2012
Toj wrote:
But what's with the sib hanging out with her younger sister's friends? There's something wrong there.
With some, its just a package deal. I had a friend with a brother that was 2 years younger. If there was a sleep over, he was there too.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#5 Sep 24, 2012
L1: Butt out of his life. It's absolutely none of your business.

L2: How about you write when you've actually made the call?

L3: Yup, invite just the one friend.

Since: Jun 09

Verona, WI

#6 Sep 24, 2012
L1: Does anyone else think her son picked a woman like his mother?

L2: There are ALWAYS options. I suspect you just don't want to take the hard and uncertain path that you know is necessary. Do it for your kids.

L3: You should be able to talk to your friend about this. Just be sure not to demonize the older child.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#7 Sep 24, 2012
LW1: If anything, say something to your son, but really itís none of your business.

LW2: If youíve had two teenage children, youíve had years to get training, make yourself marketable, and independent, but you instead chose to stay in that environment. When you are comfortable relying on someone else to provide for you, are by and large dependent upon them, and have a poor choice in men, this is what you get. Youíve finally decided to stop being a victim and have taken responsibility for yourself and your choices. Welcome to the big girl club.

LW3: Iíd talk to the mom about it, and say you would prefer not to have both of them over. Maybe it will motivate them to behave better and you can give it a try again some other time.

“bELieve”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#8 Sep 24, 2012
LW1 - I would love to see what the house really looks like. This is one case where I question the LW's version of "pigsty". The wife may have health problems that they don't want to share with the LW, but as long as they are happy in their marriage it is none of the Mom's business.

I think Abby's advice is crap. When I was pregnant, the last thing I wanted was my critical MIL invading my house and rearranging everything to her liking. It is *our* house, not hers. If she is going to be judgmental now, it's only going to get worse once the baby comes. She had better start practicing boundaries now, instead.

LW2 - Good luck.

LW3 - I don't understand what the big deal is with saying to the other Mom that the 8 year olds want their own play date. Start with a during the day play date instead of a big sleep over. Siblings should not be forced to hang out with each other all the time.

E just had a birthday party that included some friends who have siblings in Ry's class. I told the moms to bring the first graders, but that my husband was going to take them to the park after we had pizza. The birthday party was for the 3 and 4 year olds, not the first graders. We decided that this was a good learning experience for them, since they don't usually see their younger siblings as individuals, but extensions of themselves or dolls who should do as they say.

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#9 Sep 24, 2012
1 So, she sits and reads.... Buy her a "house cleaning for dummy's" book.

2 PSA

3 Why do you think you get both? Cause their mom wants a break from their bickering. yore (as in your) being played.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#10 Sep 24, 2012
LW1: Offer to help or pay for a cleaning service or shut up. But you'll have bring up the cleaning service from the angle of having a new baby, being tired, etc, etc and then say you'd like to help by having the place cleaned for when baby comes home. Otherwise, DIL will take it as a judgement on her domestic abilities.

LW2: Ahhh, a contribution for future rehash.

LW3: I think that as nicely as you can, ask just the one child to the next sleepover. It might hurt the feelings of the older girl, but her mom should step up and try to make it a fun night for her with just mom.

Not that that's really any of your problem, but you might have to suggest it if friend's mom seems reluctant. <mimishrug>

Since: Dec 07

DuPage County

#11 Sep 24, 2012
L1: Her son grew up bending to a shrew's whims, so why should his wife not get to continue the fun?

L3: Mean little girl stuff, don't care.

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#13 Sep 24, 2012
cycle003 wrote:
L1: Does anyone else think her son picked a woman like his mother?
Yes.

And I'm glad Jess is back, I agree with her on all counts.
:)
Sam I Am

Palatine, IL

#14 Sep 24, 2012
1. You raised a spineless wimp. Now you get to sit back and watch him suffer for your mistake. Enjoy.

2. My name is Abby. I am a life saver. I am awesome.

3. I am guessing the older girl is a pain in the rear, does not have any friends of her own and therefore spends all her time tagging along with her little sister. Mom knows this and will be very sensitive to anyone pointing that out, even obliquely. She is going to hear "One of your kids is good enough to have around but the other is not." My guess is that mom's feelings are going to be hurt and this will cause a little rift.
Kuuipo

Marina, CA

#15 Sep 24, 2012
cycle003 wrote:
L1: Does anyone else think her son picked a woman like his mother?
Yup. I was just going to post that.

“bELieve”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#16 Sep 24, 2012
j_m_w wrote:
<quoted text>Yes.

And I'm glad Jess is back, I agree with her on all counts.
:)
You make me laugh, but it is nice to be appreciated. Thank you.
Kuuipo

Marina, CA

#17 Sep 24, 2012
LW2: Make that phone call. You have made some very poor choices in the past, but you can make a better choice today. Do it for your children as well as yourself. They are suffering as well and have no positive role models. Your local women's shelter will help you and your children find a better way to live.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#18 Sep 24, 2012
My cousin got his girlfriend pregnant while she was a senior in HS. They got married and rented the house across the street from his parents. His mom and our grandma would go over to the house while both were gone and clean and do laundry, dishes, etc.

This made Candi pissed.

I was young enough that I asked my mom, "Why would Candi be mad? What's wrong with people coming over and cleaning for you while you're working?"

My mom explained that when you're a young adult and newly independent, the last thing you need is someone else -- especially INLAWS -- entering your home while you're gone and cleaning for you, because they're really saying "You don't keep things up to the standards WE have," or "You're not capable of cleaning, so we'll do it for you."

They had another kid and ended up divorcing. My mom said that my cousin's inability/unwillingness to tell his mom and grandma to butt the eph out were the main causes of the divorce. Candi got sick of it and left him.

“It made sense at the time....”

Since: May 09

Itasca, IL

#19 Sep 24, 2012
LW1 - either help or STF. This is almost as bad as teh LW last week who wanted the new mom to respond to daily texts. there are ways to help without being intrusive, especially after the baby arrives. pick up the toys, put them in a corner. start washing dishes, just leave them in the drainer so you don't mistakenly put them away in the wrong place. pile up hte magazines neatly. put the dog toys in the basket. if you're "caught" say you're antsy and can't sit still. keep the tone light and carry on a conversation while you do it to make it less obvious.

LW2 - the hardest step is the first one, although the next few aren't a walk in teh park either. you're getting help, so listen and take advantage.

LW3 - mention to the mom over lunch/coffee/whatever it is that you do togehter that your kid commented on how much the other girls bickered. if there was soemthign truly insightful and "from teh mouths of babes" that your kid said, pass that along. Also use this as a teachable moment for your kid about getting along with others, even those you don't like much.
EJG

United States

#20 Sep 24, 2012
edogxxx wrote:
DEAR ABBY: I am very concerned for my henpecked son who is expecting his first child. He works long hours (50-plus a week) at a low-paying job with an hour commute. His wife works part-time (10 hours a week). The problem is, their tiny apartment is a pigsty, and she doesn't clean or pick up. She expects him to do it all, and he tries to, while she reads and makes baby quilts.
How do I tactfully get her to do her share now, before the baby comes and she expects my son to "help her" even more? He is totally overburdened, stressed out, but seemingly happy. Until I saw the condition of their apartment I had suspected it was bad, but had no idea how bad the situation really was.-- DESPAIRING MOM IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR DESPAIRING MOM: Not knowing your daughter-in-law, I can't judge whether she is lazy, or whether the reason she isn't doing more around the apartment is pregnancy-related. You say your son is happy. Be grateful for that. Rather than "tactfully getting her to do her share," why not volunteer to help them until your grandchild is on a regular sleep schedule? It would make you appear to be an angel instead of critical, and bring the three of you a lot closer than you appear to be. However, if your offer is refused, then accept that this is how your son and daughter-in-law prefer to live.
Despairing Mom has too much time on her hands. She concedes that her son seems happy. Why isn't that good enough for her? If there are underlying problems with the pregnancy, her DIL could have been told to take it easy. Either way, DM is meddling, and should knock it off, before they cut her out of their family for good.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#21 Sep 24, 2012
EJG wrote:
Why isn't that good enough for her?
Cause that's how some parents are, unfortunately. My dad looks at how much of a mess my garage is and can't fathom why I can't find the time to clean it. Just does not get that cleaning it is very low priority to me and I'll get to it when I get to it, which may be a long time from now. He will come to my house and wonder out loud why any number of things that he thinks needs doing has not been done. Use to bother me, now I simply tell him to feel free to do it if it's that important to him. Keeps him busy and feeling needed/helpful.

The one difference between my dad and LW is that LW sees her son as the angel and the wife as the one that needs to start pulling her own weight. My dad won't say one cross word about my wife. If he starts bitching to me about anything, all I gotta say is that's how the wife wants it and he pipes down.

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