Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Either way you choose, you pay dearly for it
First Published Jun 24 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jun 24 2014 09:36 pm

Dear Carolyn • Five years ago, my mother became unable to continue living alone, so she came to live with me, my husband and two young children. As she physically declined, she paid for upgrades to our home that allowed her to stay with us longer. However, in the last year she began to fail and I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, so we made the difficult decision for her to move into assisted living. Now, my mother-in-law is unable live to alone. Unbeknownst to us, my husband’s sisters put her house on the market and told her, since we have a "senior-citizen-ready" house, she would live with us! We only found out when my husband called his mother for Mother’s Day. To his credit, my husband said this was not going to happen due to my health issues; he travels for his job and the primary responsibility for her care would fall to me. His sisters’ response was to call us "selfish" and state that caring for their mother does not suit their lifestyles since they are raising young families. They won’t speak to us and will not let our children contact their cousins. My mother-in-law told my husband she is "hurt beyond words" that we will not do for her what we did for my mother. How do we handle this?

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Dear Selfish • That’s the appeal of chutzpah, for its practitioners at least; it doesn’t leave you with a whole lot to handle. Either you cave, and pay dearly for it, or stand tall — and pay dearly for it. These steep consequences are the meager leavings that you and your husband get to discuss and manage. Even then, you’ve already decided the consequences to your health rule out caregiving; that seems rock-solid to me, except perhaps if turning away your mother-in-law meant consigning her to the streets. The hypocritical bullying of two siblings hardly rises to that level of emergency. The consequences of your other choice — sticking to "no" — are largely in your in-laws’ hands, since silent treatments cut your options nearly to nil. (It’s another appealing weapon among the punitive.) You all have a right to be firm. To stand out in this crowd, though, you apparently need to be kind.

Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.