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Q

"Mother-in-law Who Calls Everyday"

Houston, TX

Don't get me wrong, I adore my mother-in-law. However, I do I handle the problem the she calls everyday--sometimes more than once--asking how everyone is doing and wanting to talk to the kids. There are times when they don't want to talk and she calls again an hour later--and they still don't want to talk. How do I bring the subject up to her about only calling every once in awhile? Or, do I just not bring up the subject? We live about 3 1/2 hours away from both of our families so, we don't see them too often. However, it always seems like we have to make the effort of going down for my in-laws to see the children. They RARELY come up to visit--even when they have several days off. Please help! I don't want to seem like an inconsiderate daughter.

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Q

7 Month Old Would Rather Have Maternal Grandma

Little Rock, AR

My wonderful, wonderful momma comes by my house every day going to and coming from work (she's a teacher). I love her coming to see my 7 month old, but I'm jealous. Recently, my baby has started crying and getting fussy when my mom leaves or when she just leaves the room. She doesn't when I leave the room. I'm jealous. Yesterday, my baby had her shots and since she's breastfed, I thought she would be clingy to me, but she acted like she wanted my mom more when she stopped by today. When my mom called to check on her this afternoon, I guess I was kind of snappy at her and I shouldn't be. What is wrong with my girl? Why doesn't she want her mommy?

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Q

Advice on Asking People Not to Drink Around Me

Dallas, TX

OK, my husband and I disagree on this. He thinks I am being selfish, and honestly I do see his point, but he doesn't see mine. I am looking for some HONEST input from unbiased people. So please tell me if you agree with me or him. I will not be offended. Maybe I do need an attitude adjustment :) I am pregnant, therefore not drinking alcohol at all. Usually, I am a big wine drinker. Just be be clear, I have no problems with alcohol. I just grew up in a country where wine is common at meals and one glass a day is no big deal. The wine "culture" is very much a part of the way I grew up and tasting and learning about wines is a huge hobby for me. I miss my wine very much, but of course feel it important not to drink while pregnant. I am also very weak-willed, so my husband kindly agreed not to drink around me so I am not tempted to take a sip here and there. Our problem will come at Christmas when his family is visiting. Like most people, they enjoy drinking especially during the holidays and any time they visit it usually entails wine. I asked my DH if he would mind suggesting that they refrain this year. We will be staying in our home for 6 days, so I feel that I am well within my rights to ask this. I also said that one bottle during Christmas dinner would be ok as is any other beer or mixed drinks they want. I am not wanting to ask this because I don't want them enjoying something that I can't; but rather because I really feel that I would be tempted to have a glass or two. I will be in my 3rd trimester and I know many people think that it is ok to go ahead and have a glass, but I would prefer not to. So am I being rude or selfish to ask this of my in-laws, or would it be ok to politely ask this of them? Again, honest opinions are welcome. Thank you. *** Please see What happened section for update!!!!!!!!!!!!***

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Q

Am I Overreacting to Grandma Wanting to Take My 1 Year Old for 2 Nights?

Los Angeles, CA

My husband is originally from Minnesota, where he will be attending a wedding in a few weeks(with out me as I will be 8 months pregnant). He is taking our 1 year old daughter with him and plans to stay at his sisters house to be near the wedding events. His sister has already said she was willing to care for my daughter when needed. My Mother in Law, however, seems to have a different idea of how things should work. She lives about 2 hours away and told my husband that on the day he arrives (Thursday) he is to make the drive to their house and drop off our daughter, who will stay with them until they see him again at the wedding (Saturday). We have never left our kids overnight with anyone as we do not have any extended family living in our area. Am I overreacting to think that it's best for everyone to be at the same place rather than seperating my daughter from both her parents??? I am sure everything would work out fine if they took her, I just don't feel comfortable, am I out of line? --more background info. I don't know how to put this with out it sounding bad....my mother in law does not pay very close attention to things. While visiting us, I constantly find small pieces and parts (from her glucose pump) on the floor, last time she left tylenol pm down and my two year old got into the bottle. And, she has never been particularly mindful of the kids or their schedules. If my kids are playing and she wants to read them a book, she takes them away from whatever they are playing with and tries to read to them...she just seems to care more about her agenda than their comfort. At least if we are around, we can keep this behavior to a minimum or "run interference" with her. I do NOT mean to sound all negative, because she has way more endearing qualaties that outweigh the negative things but these are the things I have to take into consideration. Thank you so much for the wonderful advice I have already received!!!

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Q

Angry Partner Won't Stop Singeling Out Our Son, His Step-child....

San Francisco, CA

Okay, I know this needs to ultimately end up in a therapy session (or a dozen) but I need some words of wisdom now. I've been with my partner of and on for 14 years...basically since we were teenagers. We had one daughter at the age of 21 we split shortly thereafter and two years later I had a son with someone else. Then, 5 years after that we got back together and had one more son (kids ages are 4, 9, and 11). We have both grown alot and are trying to work out our relationship and become succesful partners and parents. One of the major issues weighing heavy on both of our heads is his anger issues and my lack of comunication (trying not to rock the boat, you know). He is a very straight forward guy anyway and when it comes to how to discipline our children we have very different tactics and beliefs. He is very loud and sometimes verbally abusive individual... not only to our children but to everyone around him (even his own boss!). He is aware of this problem and finds himself aplogizing frequently. True it has improved ten fold as we've gotten older but I can't help but worry about what harm it is doing to our children now. He has never struck any of us..I know he never would..but his words carry so much anger and his body language is very hostile...it is scary to get in trouble with Dad. He has always singled out our middle child (his step-son). Everything is his fault...if kids are being loud it's he who gets yelled at, if a squabble breaks out Dad blames him immediately. So ofcourse our middle son has issues like lying, being irresponsible, being rude...something most kids have to conquer no? Well all of these negative traits as my partner would believe are due to myself and his bio Dad. I am too passive and soft (I disagree).. and he does share alot of similiar qualities with his bio Dad....for instance, using humor (sometimes inappropriately) to hide his uncomfortable self but being very shy and unsure about himself at the same time. My partner dislikes the personality/ways of my ex but has never told him so and has managed to keep it under wraps thus far. There are so many dynamics to our situation (aren't there always?)...I know we need to collectively heal with some professional help but there has got to be somewhere simple to start.... It is very frustrating to feel torn in between my partner and my children, especially the tension between he and our middle son. It doesn't help the situation that I am communicating better to you now about this situation than I do to my partner. I don't feel safe coming to him and talking about it because , well, he get's heated..even when he's admitting his fault. I tend to hold things inside (can you tell?)and wait for the big white plume of smoke to rise above our home as we have it out here and there. I don't want any of us to be under the stress of "Is Dad having a bad day?". I want all of our children to feel safe coming to both of us and not fearing the wrath of Dad's voice or hurtfull words. None of us deserve that..including my partner...I know he suffers inside struggling with the reasons why he's so angry in the first place. Whew..okay that's alot to take in...imagine living with it. Any tips off the tops of your heads mamas?

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Q

Baby Prefers Mother-in-law

San Francisco, CA

Hi, I just realized writing in the subject line, just how much this is bothering me. My baby just turned 4 months and up until about 5 days ago, my husband and I along with the daycare provider were the only ones who could hold my daughter,without her throwing a fit, however she preferred me over both my husband and daycare provider, and I thought that was a problem, well now I really have a problem. My mother in law arrived Thanksgiving night and within that time (while I am working and running errands) she has become my babys #1. She is staying for 3 months, yes thats correct, 3 months. I don't know how to handle this. Since she is staying at the house and is from out of the country she is here all the time so I really don't get any 1 on 1 with my daughter, when I do, if I put her down even for a minute there she is waiting. Today, when I took her from My MIL it took me about 30 minutes to get my baby to stop crying. At this point my husband thinks I am over reacting and she is not preferring anyone and he is just happy that she is "okay" with his mom. We are going to continue to pay for daycare so we don't lose the spot, but my MIL wants to watch her during the day at least 3 days a week. I can't speak openly to my MIL about this, and am feeling really frustrated. Has anyone else experienced this or anything close? I feel like a failure, I thought I had thicker skin than this, but when it comes to my baby I want to be #1.

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Q

Bad Grandma?

Richland, OR

Help! My mother-in-law is frequently promising my daughters that she will do things with them and have them over at her house, however when the time comes to follow through she will avoid my children and make up excuses. My girls 2 and 4 get very hurt by this and it suddenly turns into my fault. What do I do? My husband and I have a very fragile relationship with her as is, and only really speak with her so that are children can have at least one set of grandparents. (my parents are deceased)The constant let-downs have become rediculous. Also she has made it very clear that my 4 year is her favorite, and has completely ignored my 2 year. Also she is now so into new (and only) first grandson from my sister-in-law that she has started making mean comments towards them that they have been replaced because she now has a "grandson". Any advice?

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Q

Being a Step Parent, the Hardest Job I've Ever Had

Detroit, MI

In a nut shell I have tried everything I can think of to get my step kids to like and respect me. The natural mom does everything possible to undermine whatever relationship I start to form and I undersdtand that the kids will always take her word as gossble I have gone through my savings buying gifts that never a thank you comes from, I turn over my entire check to the family so we have nice clothes, toys and vacations.What ever I do is never good enough or appreicated. The kids come from a very filthy unstructured enviorment while at thier Moms. They wear dirty clothes,usually bought at goodwill, never eat dinners at a table as a family and have very little manners. They tell us they eat what and where they want when they want. So when they come to our home we have rules, and structure that they constantly fight. Eating a meal together at our table almost makes me sick as they talk with food in thier mouths and chew with their mouths open, hold ultisles like a shovel. I try to teach them table manners but it is every day every meal that i have to say something to them and so I'm the nag. When it comes to cleaning and teaching them responsiblities, chores, laundry general housekeeping they call me OCD or neat freak....From thier Mom So much for the nut shell. LOL it gets worse but trust me I'' be back. Tis is 4 years in the making and I have never had anyone or place to go before so hopfully Mamasource will be my hero..

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Q

Blending Families

Phoenix, AZ

My boyfriend and his 2 boys are moving in the end of this month. I have 2 kids of my own, they are all excited about this, but rules and routines are very different and I'm already starting to see some conflict. Any suggestions on how to make this transition a little easier?

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Q

Building a Strong Relationship with My Daughter Despite My Lack of One with Mine

Jacksonville, FL

My daughter is almost 17 mths old. Right now I am her favorite and I would like to ensure we always have a close relationship. What concerns me is that my mother and I have a bad relationship. My mom has lied and stole from me since I was a child, I know she did it because she either didn't have money or she wanted to get my brother something not because she wanted to hurt me or didn't love me. She has the impression that money can buy love. Because of everything I do not trust her and we don't get along well. She likes to fight to get attention and that is what we do a lot even around my daughter. I try to walk away or just ask her to leave it alone but she can't. She will call me to nag about the same thing over and over and everytime I see her. I constantly tell her this is my daugther and I am raising her the way I see fit etc but nothing works. Now we mainly fight about my daughter and the way I am raising her. I do not argue with the way my parents raised my brother and I, and I don't want to follow her advice. My mom will argue one way and then the totally opposite if I agree. I am concerned that if my daughter continues to hear us argue that she will think that is the way a mother and daughter should treat each other and our relationship will grow to be the same as mine with my mom. I hate the whole situation and my mom does do a lot for my daughter. I don't want to not invite her over because my daughter adores her and she cares deeply for her as well. My daughter is pretty much all she has and lives for. I am so scared that my relationship with my daughter will develop into the same relationship I have with my mom. If anyone has any advice on what I can do to help the situation or if they have been in the same situation but it did not affect their relationship with their daughter I would love to know and feel some sort of reassurance.

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Q

Competitive Grandmas??? What Do I Do?

Phoenix, AZ

I have a 7 1/2 month old little girl. She is the only grandchild all around. My mother in law does not work so she watches my daughter while I am at work my daughter as her own room there filled with toys, clothes and books. My mother is works full time but still takes my daughter usually once a week. Recently my mom has express that she feels like she has to compete with my mother in law and she gets very upset over it. My mom even feels like she is competing with my MIL reguarding me. Its crazy. My mom is and will always be my best friend and I feel so bad because it seems like nothing i say or do makes her feel better. anyone have any suggestions on what I should do? I am sure most of this makes no sense!? I just want a way to help my mom see that she doesnt need to compete and that we all love her so much!!!

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Q

Crazy Live in Father-in-law

Houston, TX

Thought I'd never be here asking strangers for advise (not because of pride), but I simply need some honest objective advise to save my marriage. Ever since my husband and I have been married his father has lived with us. Here are some background notes to better help you understand the overall picture. When my husband moved to Houston about five years ago, he asked his father to help out on some business transactions and his father never left back home. Fast forward five years later and he is living with us. He has a wonderful wife back in TN (which I absolutely love) and we have a second house. Ever since my husband and I met, his father has always been there every step, which I didn’t mind. I thought he was a really nice person and got along great. It was not till my husband and I got married that for business purposes and practicality we decided to have him live with us. I’m a pretty easy going person and grew up in a very large family house hold, so I was used to dealing with different types of personality and it never bothered me. But little did I realize what a challenge it would be with his dad. Now that I have three kids it’s a different story and little things which didn’t bother me before is just getting on my last nerves and driving me to drink. For example: 1) he continues to give my kids junk food right before dinner 2) He always uses plastic forks and plates, which is fine with me and his reasoning is that he doesn’t want me to have to wash the plates all the time… but here’s the catch he puts the darn plastic plates and fork in the sink. I constantly have to fish it out of the sink and through it away. He even puts them in the dish washer!! This is really bothersome when I make a nice meal and set a nice table with real plates 3) He can’t aim in the toilet and I have to constantly clean the guest bath everyday. Mopping it 5 times a day and he wont mop it himself. Those are some of the less painful stories I am able to share. Believe me there are plenty more unbelievable stories!!! Your probably wondering what my husband have to say to all this… well first off I love my husband and realize he is in a tight situation but we constantly fight about this. It’s hard for him to ask his dad to move out and be completely on his own or move back home to his wife. He did some what ask him to stay at the other house but that only lasted three weeks. Till this day I really don’t know why he simply won’t say “dad you have to live on your own” because his father is not ill, he has a loving wife and we have a second house which is only 10 minutes away. The only reason he likes living with us because he can be a kid. Eats what ever he wants, drinks what ever he wants and gets to avoid family functions. I’ve spoken with both my mother in law and sister in law. They’ve given some advice but nothing really good to get him to move out on his own. Over the past we've tried scheduled chores, which he doesn't follow, I've stopped buying junk but he hides them in differnt spots, I've spoken to his wife to come and get him, he simply refusses to go, I've bought all types of gagets to help him clean up his toilet problem but he doesn't use them and I've stayed at a hotel only to come back to empty promisses by my husband. Short of just leaving all together, I've ran out of ideas. To make things even harder on me, for the last year and a half my niece has been living with us as well because my sister’s husband got transferred to Brazil for work (oil). To recap, I have three kids, father in law, husband, niece and our own business to be responsible for. So now I feel really over whelmed and think I’m going through a melt down because I’m finding myself to be this other person I never thought I’d become.. Sad and stressed out. This over all situations with my husband and I fighting about his dad among other things has been taking a physical toll on me as well. I find myself with constant nose bleeds everyday due to stress. Would I be wrong if I ask my husband to choose me or his dad to live with him? If only his dad was just normal I would be okay with him living with us.

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Q

Daughter Excluded from Family Time

Duluth, WI

My boyfriend of 3 years and I moved in together 3 months ago. I have a 12 yr old daughter and he has a 13 yr old daughter. Their personalities are completely different. Mine is energentic, talkitive and very social, while his is quite, laid back and very anti social. They have always gotten alone very well considering their differences. However, recently his daughter has become rude, mean and distant from my daughter. She always seems to be anoyed by my daughter and pushes her away in favor of her freinds and even my 12 yr old niece (they are comparable in personalities). She excludes my daughter and is not willing to spend any time with her at all. This is hurting my daughter terribily because she adores my boyfriends daughter. I have tried to explain to her that sometimes her enegentic nature can sometimes be too much for someone so laid back. How can I help the two of them to spend more fun time together, relate to each other, appreciate and work through their differences?

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Q

Dealing with Extended Family

Baton Rouge, LA

I have a 6 month old baby boy. My parents live about two hours away. Before I got pregnant they rarely ever came to visit us. Now that the baby is here they want to come every chance they can. I love my parents dearly, but they have become so intrusive. There have been times when they showed up at our house on Saturday morning to spend the entire weekend. They thought it was okay because they left a message on our voice mail Friday night stating their plans. It has gotten to the point that they are here every other weekend. My husband's family gets upset too because they can't come visit because my parents are always here. This does not leave much time for my husband, myself, and our new baby to spend time together as a family. I had a talk with my parents in which I asked them to make one day trips instead of staying the whole weekend. They said they understood, but still try to spend the weekend (even slipped one in there where they did stay, because I didn't know how to tell them to go home)My husband is so upset right now that he doesn't want to see them at all. I'm at my wits end right now. I want to tell my family that they can visit once every 4 or 5 weeks. I know this is going to upset them and they will get the entire extended family involved in this (because my whole extended family thinks the "parents"/"grandparents" should come first). Am I being unfair to them. Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this situation in a way that fewer people get their feelings hurt? I hate that someone is going to be hurt no matter what I do or say. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

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Q

Dealing with Extended Family

Austin, TX

I have a large extended family with grown children! I have been married to their father for 10 years now. I have one stepp-son that does not like me at all. I have tried to work through things with him...but he says we don't have a clue! He and I did not hit it off the best because he was so anger at his dad, that he was rude to his dad and myself in the beginning...know he was upset I tried to welcome him into our home only to be treated ugly with his words...from time to time we had to turn off our phone to avoid his rude mouth. He is now married and has a child of his own. His wedding became a big issue with us when he asked for money to help with the wedding and then excluded us when he had to do a small ceremony in the church a month before his wedding date so that they could hold an outside wedding on the acutal date of their wedding. We asked if anyone else was coming and he said no! Other issues arised and he returned the money we had given. We did get an invite and we did go....but his dad was not acknowledged at all at the wedding. His name was in the program...but he did not introduce his dad when parents were introduced. I have tried again to reach out to him and his wife. She accept my apology that I sent for an email I sent to her prior to the wedding asking her to have him back off and stop the calls to us and also that I knew the events prior to the wedding had nothing to do with her! I am still being given the cold shoulder. At what point can I finally just stop trying and walk away? I do not know what else I can do. I can apologize forever thing I have ever done and mean it...but it doesn't seem to make a difference. I am getting to the point where I just don't care anymore...and that is so not me! I am a loving person and would do anything for people...but I feel I am at the end of my rope with all of this! Any advice from anyone that had dealt with this or who an give me a clearer picture so that I can see deeper into my heart on what else I can do if there is anything!

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Q

Dealing with Family That Make Rude Comments About Your Child and Parenting

Jacksonville, FL

I need advice on how to deal with family members that make rude comments about my parenting and criticize my daughter. My sister in law made some comments to my husband about how my 17 mth old daughter should be talking more at her age etc. I was so upset that she could make a comment about a child she sees once every 2 mths. She has no idea what my daughter can say and does say. Plus, the teachers in my daughter;'s class and her pediatrician all say she talkes more then most children her age and her motor skills are more advanced. Even if they weren't you still should not cut down a child. What time of person criticizes a 17mth old? Second, she makes nasty comments about things we do with our daughter. Last night is a good example…we were looking for a rubber band to put on a door instead of worry about her slaming it and breaking the glass. We were at my husband's grandmother;s house and there is no room for her to run around and everything is breakable so we did not want to be spending our whole trip yelling at her and saying no. While his sister was so nasty to my husband saying "what you guys can't say no to her etc". I am 7 mths pregnant so maybe I am extra sensitve but I am still very upset over the situation. I am a non confrontational person but I just want to go off on her and I am concerned it will upset my husband as well. I don't know if I should discuss it with my mother in law so she can talk to her in a nicer way then I would or whether I should just tell my sister in law exactly how I feel. My sister in law and I do not have a good relationship. We use to get a long and then I moved to LA and she got a divorce and kept telling my husband and I that we need to get a divorce (we were having problems at the time). Once I came back from LA and we put our marriage back together she has never been nice to me. She constantly makes rude remarks to me. My husband gets very upset over the situation put he never confronts his sister. I can let her rude remarks about me pass but when it comes to my children I just can't. I hate going to family gathering, I hate being around my sister in law and I dread any family function. I know this isn't good for my daughter and our second child because they don't spend enough time with my husband's family but I don’t know what I can do to make the situation better. My husband ignores it because he says she is just jealous because everyone says how beautiful our daughter is and no one says anything about her daughter (mainly because she is 6 yrs old not a baby anymore) and because we have a little child and hers is so big etc. I don't really care if it is jealousy or not it still isn't right or appropriate. What can I do so I am not so upset over this situation and so I can make family get togethers more enjoyable.

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Q

Difficulty with Mother-in-law

Miami, FL

Our entire extended family goes out for Sunday brunch every week. My MIL gives my 18 mo old son french toast every week, even though I keep asking her not to. I keep explaining to her that I want him to eat mostly healthy foods, that I'm trying to give him a healthy foundation for life, etc. I will tell her not to do it and then she'll feed it to him right while I'm sitting there. I'll say NO! as she's approaching him with the fork and block the fork and she'll wave me away and give it to him anyhow. Once he has a bite of it, he won't eat his fruit or other food. No matter what I say, she argues with me about it and defends her actions. I've told her I'm his mother, if I say no to something that should be it. My husband says I'm making too big a deal about this. I say it's not about the french toast, it's about her respecting my rules as his mother. I have no idea how to handle this. She's 82 and I don't want to keep her away from her grandson, but I also want her to respect my wishes.

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Q

Family Advice..dealing with Holidays

San Antonio, TX

I'm trying to get through the holidays just like everyone else! Let me lay down some back stiry before I get to my dilemna! I just returned to work after having my second child. I have yet to even get paid. My husband is very understanding of this. I told him to buy himself something. He also bought our babies their gifts. Now, when I told MY mother to buy herself something and not me...she flipped! She said that she never get anything, which is far from untrue. She raised me by herself and NOW I feel that she believes she is entitled to extravagant gifts. She asked for $50-$60 perfume, a $130 bracelet from jaqmes Avery and gift cards! She also refuses to go to my in-laws house because she doesn't have a gift! I've tried axplaining that Christmas should be about the babies and NOT adults. She just looks at me like I have 4 eyeballs! What do I do? I hate to hurt her feeling because I am literally the ONLY family she has! I'm SUPER stressed!

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Q

Family Pictures

San Antonio, TX

I adore pictures, especially of close friends and family, and even more so of heritage. My hallway is decorated solely with photos. That includes both sets of my grandparents. My husband has asked me to take down all pictures of his grandparents because he doesn't want to be reminded of them. He doesn't respect them at all - drunkards, abusive to wives, etc. I appreciate that and will do as he asks out of respect for him. But, I think it's strange to only have pictures of the grandparents of my side of the family. How does that look, especially to my children? Any suggestions?

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Favorites in a Combined Family

Amarillo, TX

I have two boys ages 4 and 6 from a previous marriage. I have them most of the time. They go to their dads every other weekend. My live in fiancee has a daughter from his previous marriage who is 9. We only have her every other weekend but we arranged it so we have all the kids on the same weekend. My fiancee is extremely hard on the boys. Sometimes even cold and hateful and refuses to lay down rules or punish his daughter. His excuse is that he doesn't get to see her very often and doesn't think its fair to him or her to have to be mean when he does see her. She is very smart and has become very manipulative. Hes actually afraid that she will decide not to come over anymore if she doesn't get her way. We have talked about this several times over the years and things get better for about a week and then go back to the way they were before. I'm having second thoughts about marriage just for this reason. My kids deserve to be corrected in love and I'm afraid they will resent me if They don't feel like they are being treated fairly by their step dad.

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Q

Future Mother in Law

Toledo, OH

I have another dilema approaching. My fiance's mother is sick (she has MS which is causing emotional & psychological issues) and she hasnt worked in quite a while. Now shes in danger of being evicted and has lost her vehicle. My fiance and I live in a small two bedroom with my son and we barely have room for ourselves. My fiance has told her that she couldnt come live with us for one because she had a dog and we obviously do not have the room. Well she told him the other day that she got rid of the dog so that if she had to then she could move in here. Neither of us could live with her nor can we help her out of her finacial situation. We just have no idea what to do and his brother doesnt seem to be able to help either. Any ideas on how to deal with this would be helpful.

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Q

Gift Ideas-Cancer Survivor Party

Dallas, TX

I'm going to a toast for life thing on Saturday for a one year cancer survivor. It doesn't say anything about gifts and it is not during dinner (3-5pm) It is at a third party's home also. I'm not sure a gift is necessary, but I'd like to bring something small. Do you guys have any thoughtful ideas? Or funny ideas (he lost a testical to the cancer :O ) I have an embroidery machine and I could do a grilling apron with a funny or thoughtful saying. I could do something different altogether. I know you ladies will have some great ideas! Thanks in advance.

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Q

Grouchy Grumpy Grandfather

Lakeland, FL

Does anyone have experience with their parents (mom or dad) being too harsh with their grandchildren? My father has always been an intolerant person, but this always seemed mostly towards adults. I have an 8yr old son that has some typical behavior problems (takes too long to eat, interrupts people, etc. etc.) that my dad feels the need to harshly correct whenever we're around him. My son is also very sensitive and I can tell it hurts his feelings (I think he wonders if his grandpa likes him). None of my son's behavior "issues" are anything out of the norm though, very typical in every 8yr old I've ever encountered. If anything, my son is better behaved than most (this is according to every other adult we have been around). And of course we correct him ourselves when we feel it's appropriate. I tried addressing this with my dad this past weekend but he didn't stop and quite frankly I don't think he even realizes how harsh he is most times. He was very hard on me growing up, to the point where I eventually thought I couldn't do anything right. I don't want to see this continue through the family because while I'm over it, my son is much more sensitive than I am. Any advice for how to address this with my father? I don't want it to become a "thing" (we had a falling out 2 yrs ago and didn't speak for a year) but I don't want my son to feel like his grandfather is constantly harping on him about every little thing (that's what I went through). This past weekend, my husband and I were so irritated with it that we started in on each other. I don't want 1 person's overly irritable personality affecting the time we spend together.

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Q

Hands off In-laws

Sacramento, CA

HI All, Just seeking some advice, which seems like a common subject... in-laws!! My husband and I have been together for about 18 years and married for 5. We have a 2 and a half year old son and a 4 year old daughter who are both delightful, well-mannered kids. My family is spread out and far away. My husband's family is about 2-3 hours away. His mom is retired and neither of his sisters have children. Our kids are the only children on his side of the family. My issue is that his family is totally clueless and uninvolved with our kids, yet seem to want to still do the obligatory holiday visits as though they are such a close family. For birthdays and holidays they buy clothes that are way too big or too small and toys that are not age appropriate. They have never changed a diaper or offered to baby sit and didn't pay much attention to the kids until the kids were old enough to talk. They say things like... "the kids are more fun now that they can interact." There are so many more examples of things that drive me crazy, but I don't want this to be a novel... the problem that this has caused is that it's the only thing my husband and I fight about. After many attempts to be understanding and try to involve his family more, I am at the point that I could care less if they come to see us and I don't like to make a lot of effort to go to see them. Visits usually consist of us driving for an hour to meet them for lunch at some overpriced, not kid friendly restaurant, or driving 3 hours (one way) to spend a couple of days at his sister's house where there is not an appropriate place for us and the kids to sleep, and them having no concept about the schedules of kids this age. I've tried having no expectation from them, but then still get frustrated when they show up an hour late for the kid's birthday parties. His mom has made it a "tradition" to come to our house each Halloween and hold hands like the doting grandmother while we trick or treat. Otherwise we don't see her, except for the holidays and birthdays previously mentioned. It seems like she would want to spend more time with her only grandchildren considering that she lives alone and seems to have a lot of free time. They drive me absolutely crazy and I feel like I have tried everything. I don't like the anxiety and crankiness that comes over me at the prospect of having to visit with them and that it causes tension between my husband and me. Any advice?

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Q

Help with 20+ Step Daughter Who Won't Help Herself

Stationed Overseas, AE

My husband's first daughter (who just turned 21 in Jan.) has been driving us crazy! My husband was a single father after her mother walked out when she was 2 and was living with us untill she turned 16. She and her father had a huge falling out over a boy 2 yrs. older that we thought was unsuitable and was possibly emotionally and/or physically abusive. She made the decision to leave us and live with her mother (who is recently divorced with 3 children from her second marriage) on the opposite coast. For two years she would have nothing to do with her father (neither taking his calls or responding to his emails) and only spoke to me when her sister was born that same year. We found out when she was 19 that she had left her mother's house after high school grad. and moved out of state with the very same boyfriend we had such trouble with. She also gained about 50 pounds and her health is also suffering. After about 1 year living with this boy he decided to take a "break from school" and move back in with his mother, leaving our daughter with no where to live. She was working a min. wage job but it wasn't enough to pay rent on her own (and have I mentioned that she has never shown any interest in obtaining a driver's license?). She moved in with her mother, who promptly kicked her out after a few months. She finally came to live with a friend of my husband's in VA, but now it seems that that's not working out either. My husband and I are stationed overseas and he is retiring next month, so we can't bring her here. His friend is reporting that she is lazy and even though she's signed up for full time classes at the local community college (which my husband paid for) she shows no interest in getting a job, establishing residency in VA to obtain in-state tuition, getting a driver's license, or helping out with his friend without being asked. Our hands are tied for the moment but my husband wants to give her the opportunity to come stay with us (also in VA) after he retires. I don't mind that, but should he continue to support her (paying for school, room & board, etc.) if she's done nothing to help herself. We've been trying to encourage her to go to school for a while now and she's insistent that she wants to become a teacher, but she is still under the illusion that her dad will pay for her to go to an out-of-state university. She wants to transfer to NC where her boyfriend is attending school, but with her track record I don't think that's a good idea. What should we do? We can't abbandon her to the streets, but I'm tired of supporting a woman who should be able to support herself!

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Q

Help with 82 Year Old Mother in Law Who Lives with Us

St. Louis, MO

I am looking for advice and opinions on my husband and my situation.... my mother in law moved in with us five months ago when we built a new home. She contributed money toward the purchase of the house (she could afford it) and now lives here free. No expenses doesn't pay for food or alcohol( she likes to drink wine, beer, anything) and doesn't contribute anything toward utilities or toilet paper, kleenex laundry soap , etc. I guess you get my point, she does not pay for ANYTHING! Now when we were setting this up we didn't have any intention of asking for any utilities paid for but she doesn't offer a dime toward anhything. When she goes to the grocery store with me she will remind me that we are out of milk or parmesan cheese, etc. She will buy her own tylenol or lotions or things like that when we go to walmart but that is it. I babysit three of my grandsons every day and I bring them to our home part of the day. When I make their lunch like grilled chees or noodles whe will ask me to make her one. To get to the point she won't do ANYTHING. I clean the bathroom she uses because it is the one guests use(but she has it decorated in DUCKS for her taste) in the beginning I was doing her laundry but put a stop to that when she would come in OUR master bedroom to put her dirty clothes in our hamper! Then I moved it into our bathroom and she would come in there while I was drying my hair(and scare the living daylights out of me!) and put her clothes in our hamper in there! She also will not get a phone line for her calls, so when the phone rings and it is for her I have to run to her an give her the phone! When I am gone she will get up and look at the ID to see who it is. She has a cell phone but only turns it on when her daughter in Wyoming calls every Wed. at a certain time! Needless to say I could go on and on but just wanted to get some outside view! Thanks in advance for your help! L. S

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Q

Help with a Friend

Denver, CO

I have a dear friend who is in a really bad place. Her hubby is now laid off may not receive Unemploy. Benes. She is only watching a friends child for money. they are really down this Christmas season. I want to help not sure how? I don't want to over do for Christmas, but want to really help her. they have an 8 yr old boy. I feel so bad for her family esp the boy. they filed for Chap 13 and no car.

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Q

Help with Hygiene Talk

Sacramento, CA

Hello Mom's, I have a huge issue that i need SERIOUS help with.....My sister is staying with us for a while but to get straight to the point, her hygiene is VERY POOR and she is not only my older sister but my only sister. My husband loves his sister n law, they get along great but this has become a big problem, he doesnt even like to go into the bathroom after her and thats hard because we only have one so he doesnt have much of a choice. My house usually only consist of myself,my husband and our daughter and now it's my sister and 16yr old niece and 10yr old nephew so this is a big change for us all and it's only a 2bdrm. Now my question is how do i tell my sister that her hygiene is terrible and it's driving my husband nuts and not hurt her feelings at the same time. Im by far a neat freak but i do like my house tidy & so does my husband (just like any other) she'll see me up cleaning the house and instead of her getting up to help i'll have to ask her to get up and do something to help out. I do all the cooking and not that it's an issue because i love cooking for my husband and daughter but when you have a 33year old adult living under the same roof it's annoying to see her doing nothing but sleeping or watching t.v or on the computer and me doing everything, and my husband notices that too and doesnt like it. Let me throw in that she is greatly over weight but i dont want to use that as an excuse because i dont think that's the big problem i think it's just laziness. I thank you all in advance for you feed back, PLEASE keep in mind that this my older sister (of 3kids im the youngest) Thank you again ladies

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Q

Help with Neice and Nephew

Oklahoma City, OK

Hello. My sister is a single mother. She works nights (7pm to 3am), so her kids stay with me through the week. They are my neice, age 9, and my nephew, age 8. The problem we are having right now is that my nephew is having problems in school with his reading. I just found out about this a few days ago, but my sister has known for a while. I'm a little upset that she didn't tell me, as I can't help if I don't know there is a problem. My sister hasn't gone to discuss this with his teacher at all, and there is talk of holding him back a grade. My question is, since my sister isn't doing anything about it, should I take it upon myself to go up to the school and talk to his teachers? I have done it with the two kids in the past, as the previous administrators were aware of our situation, but there is a new pricipal this year. I don't want to step on any toes, but I don't want my nephew to suffer because his mom refuses to acknowledge a problem.

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Help with Stepkids!!!!

Dallas, TX

Good morning all. My boyfriend and I have been living together for over a year now and we discuss marriage quite a bit but aren't in a big hurry. We both went through divorces last year (his was nasty!!) so we are taking our time. He has three children, I have one. His two oldest, 18 and 15, live with us full time. They are somewhat spoiled, lazy, and messy. Teenagers, right? LOL As a neat freak, a lot of this drives me nuts and my boyfriend just doesn't get it. It really frustrates me at times but I'm at the point where I just want to throw my hands up and say 'forget it-let them be slobs'! Any advice???? Thanks in advance!

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Q

Help!!!!

Fort Myers, FL

My wonderful daughter (age 28) has a new boyfriend (ONE 1/2 YEARS) He moved in with her about a year ago with his 2 kids. She has given up her cel-phone & now I have to go through him to talk to my daughter. He doesn't "believe" in Mothers day, so therefor, I did not spend any time with my daughter on Mothers day. I was very hurt. His mother told me that my daughter didn't need us in her life anymore because her son is her "new family". I was crushed. I tried to talk to her about the comment, but she just laughed it off. I am so afraid that I will lose her & my grandson in our lives.

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Q

Holiday Hopping STRESS ALREADY!!

Indianapolis, IN

Hello, I have an almost 11 month old son. This will obviously be the first year we have to deal with holiday stress. Up until this year my husband and I have been very flexible with the holidays and making sure we got to visit everyone as best we could on the actual holiday. My parents are divorced and so it make is very challanging to get everywhere on the holiday. This year we decided that since we have a little one we would like to enjoy the day at home on Christmas day. We have told the family they are welcome to come to our house. For Thanksgiving we are pretty flexible but we are still wanting to limit our travels. My mom is single and wants us to always be with her on the actual holiday. How do I deal with this?? She has ways of making you feel so bad that you aren't with her. I want to be able to make everyone happy but I don't want to have a stressful holiday.

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Q

How Do You Tell Your Mom You Don't Trust Your Dad??

Chicago, IL

I am trusting in you mamas for some help in a very sensitive topic. My heart is literally pounding as I compose this request for help. I don't even know how to put this...I'll just tell it like it is. A couple weeks ago I had an eye dr. appointment. I dropped off my 21 mo. old son and 4 and a half year old daughter at my mom and dad's house. Later that night when we were getting ready for bed my 4 and1/2 yr old daughter went potty and I reminded her to wipe. She stood up and dabbed on the front of her vagina and said "that's how grandpa does it". My heart sank. I leaned forward trying not to let my fears show. I asked if grandpa helped her go potty while she was over there that day and she said yes. so...my dad is 72 years old. My daughter is potty trained!!!! she does not need help. then I remebered a few months ago my 6 yr old daughter told me grandpa makes "raspberries" on their (her and her sister's)bellies when they play "monster". I don't know if I am being overprotective or jumping to conclusions. My daughters LOVE my dad and always look forward to seeing him. He ALWAYS gives them candy and chocolate and often on the sneak. I don't trust my dad and I feel like my mom would think I am being rediculous suggesting that that is how grandpas play. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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Q

How to Deal with a Extended Family

St. Louis, MO

Where to start. My daughter moved in with a boy at eighteen years old, he is twenty two with out any family values. He did not talk to my husband or myself before this happened then we found that they ran off got married. He never came and asked my husband for her hand in marriage reach really upset my husband, she is our only child. Now the kicker she just turned ninteen and she is having a baby. Great! The husband acts like a two year old, is mom pays his bills, plus lets him drive her car because he can not afford to get his inspected or get it licensed. How can he take care of my daughter and grand baby? The problem I really have is that his mom does not want my daughter or the baby around me or my family becuase does not like us or thinks that we do not love my daughter, which is not true, she is very much loved. We are doing two different baby showers becuase of this because she, the mother does not want to be around us. I am afraid I am going to loose my daughter and grandchild because of this mother. How can I stop this or aleast try to get along with my daughter's mother-in-law, so we can be a family for the baby, who will be a part of both of our family's.

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Q

How to Deal with the Lose of a Loved One & How Long Will I Feel This Way??

Terre Haute, IN

I have had just a rough 4-5 months. Back in September My Grandma had to go to the hospital for an operation on Sept. 7. Everything went well. She was doing excellent after the operation. Then the next day she had to go on the vent. It was so hard to see her that way. Grandma was always so strong willed and strong hearted and wanted to live forever. She loved going on trips and finding new places to seek. She loved to play with my children. She flat lined Sept 9, they were able to get her back. Her vitals were looking good on the 10th so they started to try to take her off the vent. (I don't think I have ever been at the hospital as much as I was during this time I just wanted her to know that I was there). On the 10th I had night class and so I stopped up to see Grandma before my class. I so did not want to leave her the feeling in the room was really different. I don't know how to explain the feeling. But it was calming. The Nurse said the could not take her off the vent. because she would stop breathing. I prayed with my grandma many times (for her and for myself just trying to understand what was going on). My Grandma had taught all of us grandkids the 3 hand squeeze. this is a symbol of "I love you" My grandma did this for the first time in the hospital. I just started to cry. I knew then that my grandma was also telling me "good-bye". I ended up going to class (and to this day I regret leaving her) that night. On Sept 11th I was getting ready to see her the next morning around 7:30. I got a phone call from my mom. The worst phone call in my life so far. I have felt so empty and my heart has felt so heavy. I have always seen my grandma everyday since a young child. It is so hard to accept that she is not here. I can't see her she is not around to play with my children. I seem to cry everyday. I try to cry alone. That way my children don't feel upset. They are doing well with the passing of their great-grandma. My mom is a very strong person, I know that she is having a hard time but she does not show to much emotions on this at all (Or at least towards the rest of the family). I just feel like everyday that I have received that phone call all over again. I understand that she is so much better off. She is not hurting. But I never knew that it would hurt so bad not having her here with us. Then to put more stress in the pot. My husband is on a medical leave from work since Sept. 20. I just have not a clue of what to do with all my stress. I don't want to lay all of this on my husbands shoulders. He has so much stress right now not being able to go to work right now. There are times I just want to stay in bed and cry or just go and drive to the park and just cry all day. I don't know what to do with all this pain, stress, feeling of being lost. I know that I am not the only one that has been through this, but this is my very first time.

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Q

How to Form a Relationship with Grandparents

Minneapolis, MN

My husband and I are having a hard time making sure that our son sees his paternal grandfather and step-grandmother. The couple is very busy and, also, frequently babysitting other grandchildren over the weekend. They have an amazing tendency to call at the last possible minute to ask if they can come over and, 3 out of every 4 times they've done this, we've been busy. For today, we were really excited. My father-in-law actually wrote early in the week, asking to see our son today. From the tone of the email, we thought he was coming to us (we're in Brooklyn Park, they're in St. Paul). My kid's having a rough day today, particularly in cars. Lots of crying. His behavior is weird enough that we were considering keeping him home from daycare tomorrow and calling the doctor. Father-in-law just called-- when are we driving out to see them? When he called, I was in the process of cleaning the living room for their visit. My husband is really upset, because we hear from them all the time how we live too far out to visit, that we never come see them, and yet, it's totally okay to ask us to make the drive. There's a lot of history I'm not including here, about traveling between our two homes. I do feel like we haven't totally been doing our part, asking them to stuff, but all us work full time for the school district, we're all exhausted when not working, and my in-laws are incredibly busy people. It's been hard for us to find times that things work out. I'm not even sure I know what I'm asking-- I suppose for advice on how to let my father-in-law and my son have a relationship with each other, without my husband going insane from frustration. I realize this probably doesn't make a lot of sense, but I'm open to suggestions. Any suggestions. I feel so bad for my husband, and so frustrated that the same situation keeps playing out. I should add that the travel issue isn't an issue for us. We routinely make the trip. It's my in-laws who pretty much refuse to come to Brooklyn Park because they seem to view it as Outer Mongolia. And, apparently, the ghetto. I'm pretty tired of both attitudes. We do about 90% of the traveling to see them.

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Q

How to Handle My Mom

Portland, OR

Ok, so I am not sure if anyone will have any ideas on how to handle this. A quick little history about our relationship; my mom worked 60 hours a week while I was growing up, for as long as I could remember, when she met her boyfriend, he kicked my brother and I out of the house (he was 18 and I was 14). We didn't have the best relationship after that, if you could imagin. About 5 years ago, my mother almost died. She was in critical care for a few weeks, they didn't think she would make it, and if she did it was almost a given she would have brain damage. Thankful she recovered fully. I decided I then I wanted my kids and self to have a decent relationship with her. So here is the question and problem. She resently moved down here from the Seattle area. She wanted to be closer to help with the grandkids, my grandmother, and just be closer to family. She currently doesn't work. She constantly tells me if I need her, she will be there. For about the last few months, I have been doing some paperwork for her weekly. Everytime I ask to spend time with her, for her to come over, for help, or to take her out for her birthday (which was back at the begining of December), she is too busy, too stressed, or not feeling well. When I talk to her, she keeps telling me to ask for help and she'll be there. I finally figured I must not have been letting her know how much I need her help right now (I tend to want to make everyone happy). Yesterday, I was really stressed out and needing some help to get some everyday things done (I have 4 kids at 2 different schools, and have 3 daycare kids). I called her and literally said, "I am begging you to come help me today. I really need some help." She said she had to work on her rental property(which she has been working on for several months). She proceeded to tell me that I need some time, and just let her know when and how she could help. I cried for a long time. I don't know how to handle this or what to do to let her know I need her. Any ideas would be great! My husband told me to just back off from her. It has been months since she has moved down here, and I see her less then I did before she moved down here. Not sure if anyone has delt with this but I'd appriciate any and all advice.

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Q

How to Talk to Sis

Denver, CO

I'm hoping you all will have some insight and maybe even a similar story to help me. After years of trying to make everyone get along or being in denial, I have finally come to accept that my husband and my brothers-in-law will never get along. None of us live in the same state, so it's not always an issue. But my husband has come to the point that he no longer wants to see them or speak to them ever again. I don't know how this will work at family functions, but me pretending everything o.k. is no longer an option. I don't really like the BILs either, but was willing to put up with them for my sisters' sake. So not really a loss for me to not be involved with them. My main concern is with my sisters. I do love them and am so afraid that this will harm our relationship, which so far is a good relationship. I will be going to visit one of my sisters in a month, her husband will be out of town so it will be just us. So my question is this- how do I talk to her about this. I would like to keep it as light as possible, just letting her know that no matter what happens with the guys, I want to have a close relationship with her and the other sister. How do I bring it up and what do I say to not make it heavy and depressing? Have any of you experienced something similar? Did it work? Thanks so much for the help.

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Q

Husband Upset by His Sister "Stealing" His Name for a Son

Chicago, IL

Hi Moms. Let me preface this with saying that we have two daughters that my husband absolutely adores. My sister-in-law is pregnant with her second son and was talking about naming the baby after my father-in-law (who my husband is also named after). My husband is furious that she would, as he says, "steal" his boy name. We are hoping to become pregnant again sometime next year and definitely plan on naming the baby after my husband if it is a little boy. I have explained to my husband that our nephew will have a different last name and that we can still use the name for our baby if it is a boy. My husband feels so strongly about this that it will cause a division in the family if his sister does name the baby after him. I told him that he should be proud to have a namesake. He talked to his parents today about it and they didn't think it would be any big deal for their daughter to use the name before (and if) my husband could use it. I can see my husband's point, but also feel that my sister-in-law should be able to name her baby whatever she wants. I also explained to my husband that we may have another girl next time and the name may never get used (my sister-in-law said that this will be her last baby). I want to stay out of it, but I can see both my husband and my sister-in-law's points of view. The holidays are coming and we will be spending a lot of time with both families this year. I would love to "keep the peace". Any advice would be great! Thanks in advance for your help!

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Q

I Haven't Shown Enough Appreciation for My Sister's Gift

Lubbock, TX

Dear Mamas: I think I need your help!! My sister just left a message on my answering machine about the gift that she gave my boys 2 1/2 years ago. When my sister called, she went on about how it was such a good telescope - the only ones better cost $350.00 or more. It was a very nice telescope that she purchased at an educational store for half price. Regular price was $150.00. My sister has been supporting herself and her child while going to school full-time. Her gifts are purchased with love and care - and a lot of thoughful dedication. She wants them to be educational, enjoyed, and lasting. While i did thank her for the thoughtful gift, the telescope was missing some parts, so I never put it together. She asked about it, and was upset that I had never ordered replacement parts to take care of it (she said that I should have told her, etc.) My boys, especially the youngest, would have probably enjoyed it. However, they never nagged me, and it was easiest just to put it at the bottom of my priority list. I am short on space for the telescope and time to put it up (and of course, sometimes getting parts is very time consuming, expensive, or futile - we live quite a distance from my sister and the educational store). Right now, I am getting off of an unbelievably busy year. I have been working from 7a.m. until 7p.m. on most days (some days until 10:00) and then watching my boys play sports. I finally had a week "off" this past week, but have been to 3 doctors appointments (6 hours), had minor surgery (2 hours + 6 hours in bed recovery time), worked 16 hours, went out of town (4 hours driving), and watched 14 baseball games (28 hours), not to mention taking my son to camp, shopping, and trying to make up for everything that I have been putting off. I still have much to do to catch up both at work and at home. It is baseball tournament time, so we will go out of town 4 more times this month. I feel stressed. I am afraid trying to explain to my sister why I have not updated her about how much my children are enjoying the telescope will trigger an ugly response from me - I know, guilt, guilt, guilt.(My parents told her that my kids have been using the telescope). I don't feel comfortable lying (or telling the truth- and I really don't feel like trying to hunt it up, order replacement parts, and put it together right now). Do you have any advice for me? Jen

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Q

I Need Advice on Whether to Stop Having My Mom Watch My 13 Month Old.

Houston, TX

Hi Ladies, my husband and I work full time so my mother has been watching our daughter for free. She has been a huge help to us and I know that my daughter is getting the best care possible. The problem is, my mom is way over bearing...to the point that she picked out Bella's 1 yr. birthday outfit (which I thought was ugly) and when I didn't put my daughter in the outfit my mom was upset for days. Don't I have a right to pick out her clothes? She comes over and takes Bella's clothes to wash them herself b/c she says I don't know how. I do know how to wash clothes fyi! Basically, she takes it upon herself to tell me how to raise my daughter. If I don't follow her orders-she gets upset and won't speak to me for days. She will get mad at me if I give my daughter a cup cake but then she turns around and gives her cookies. I just need to know should I consider looking for childcare elsewhere to keep my sanity in check or should I just learn to keep my mouth shut and continue to let her tell me what Bella should wear, eat and if I can disrupt her from her nap? I do know that my mom loves my daughter very much but she is the only person that has made me feel like I'm not good enough as a parent and I have tried telling her this to which she replies 'I can't help it, sorry'. What should I do?

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Q

I NEED To Vent!!!

San Antonio, TX

My husband and I are the proud parents of a 15 month old ,not so little, boy. He is the love of my life. I guess what I am looking for is some words of encouragemnt. Here's my situation: We are currently working on fixing our credit, we made some really stupid decisions when we first got married and now can't seem to get out of this hole we dug ourselves into. We have a plan and it is working, slowly but surely. To help us out, we'e been staying with my mother-in-law's house with her and it is supposed to be saving us money.(I don't see how) My husband was just told by his Dr. that he has diabetes and that we need to treat it with meds and diet. Which is really hard for him since his mom eats nothing but JUNK! The day he gave her the news, he fried him up a t-bone and served it with french fries and nachos(velveeta, ground beef, and rotel). That to me doesn't seem very diabetic friendly. She kinda teases him with soda, since that is the hardest thing he's had to give up. As a mom, I couldn't see myself doing that to my son. My son, who, until recently, loved veggies and healthy food, will not eat anything that is even a little bit good for him. I give him a good healthy breakfast, but when it comes to lunch, he will just turn his head at anything I try to give him. He just waits until his grandma comes home, so she can give him chips, nuts, candy, soda....the list of junk just keeps going. The only way he will have a good lunch is if she doesn't come home until late from work, and then it's only because he can't hold out anymore. I've asked her not to give him this stuff, but she sees it as "I raised 5 kids and they turned out just fine", I've also asked my husband to talk with her about it, but that doesn't have any success either. I'm at my witts end. We tried to buy a house, but we did not get approved for the loan. Our loan officer said it would take a few months to clear some things off of our credit and we should have no problem with getting the loan. My husband makes really good money, and now that I started my own business with The Pampered Chef, financialy, things are looking up. Problem is, 3-6 months of our current situation can't be good for any of us. We started looking for an apartment, but I'm pretty sure we won't qualify for that either. I am really concerned for my family's health, but am not sure what else I can do at this point. Of course, the times I can visit some of my family, and the kithchen shows I do thru my business, do help me get away (out of sight, out of mind) but those are not as often as I'd like them to be. Maybe someone else can relate? Of would love to hear any suggestions or encouragement.

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Q

Im the Black Sheep and My Kids Are Paying

Detroit, MI

I have three children 10,8,and7. when the oldest one was born we were only 18 and 19, and living at my mothers. needles to say my oldest sydney formed a realationship with my mother that I had never even had. we eventuallly moved out got a place of our own and had two more children together. the Syd remained close to my mother. closer then any of the others. my mother showed favoritizim towards her for sure. she out right said that my son Wes was nothing but trouble and would probably have trouble with the law later in his life. he was one and a half when she said this, because he was roudy and slightly agressive.. when my yougest; Ash was 2 my mother said that she was an antisocial creepy child and she wouldnt be left alone with her. she would only take sydney places. I would bring the three kids there and she would only have gifts for sydney. only sydney could stay the night. it just always seemed to be her turn. I finally had enough of her doing this to me and my kids. she treated my husband like dirt too. when I stood up to here she asked me to leave and take my trash with me refering to my husband and kids. THat was three years ago now and I havent seen her or my sisters and brothers since. in the last three years I have tried to explain to my kids about bipolar and other dieses of the brain since I do think that it takes a crazY person to throw away your own child and family. I have stressed to them that this is not my choice since for a while they blamed me and would say mom if you just say sorry nanna wouldnt be mad at you anymore. I think they have finally understood that this is just how it is for now. the younger two since they never had a realationship with mom really dont ask much or seem to care at all. but sydney is crushed. her bond with my mother was a great one. I cant let my mother continue to see her after dismissing us like that. Syds the only one she tried to see since we stoped talking.. she tried to take her from her school with out my permission. my questions is am I doing the right thing I really think my mother is no good for my kids. I think that having her in my kids life would only hurt them but I have to look into the eyes of my olderst and see heartbreak. I have to see her tear up from time to time if the subject comes up. I feel like I am the bad guy for taking away her nanna. even know I know its for a good reason. Sydney always says just let me see her. I wont believe the bad things she says about you and daddy. Which was a huge problem when I tried to let her see them in the begining of this. I wont hate you like she wants me too. should I let her see my mother when my mother wants nothing to do with me or my other children? should I take the risk that my mother will fill my 10 year old childs head with bad stuff. stuff that she filled my sisters and brothers head with and they believed at 13,15,and17? if you have any advice at all I would appreciate it. Sorry if this is kind of rambly its really hard for me to talk about still

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Q

In Law HELP...Need I Say More? (Mainly SIL)

Orlando, FL

I have really enjoyed reading everyone's advice to other moms, so I guess it is time for me. My sister in law is driving me crazy. This may sound totally ridiculous, and I don't know how to put this the right way. I just wish that my DH wouldn't care so much about what his family thinks, mostly her. He has a brother too, and I don't mind that they hang out once in awhile because he doesn't live here in town, but he and his sister were roommates for awhile and they are closer. I think that he doesn't want to disappoint any of them. It didn't bother me at first, but then once we got married, I thought that the focus would be entirely on our family. We have our own little girl now. We can't focus on his sister's kids anymore. She hasn't really done anything to me specifically, but it is really bothering me that he cares what she thinks. She is also superclose to their mom so I feel that she just has too much family influence. Does this sound totally terrible? If it doesn't, then how can I put a little bit more room between us without rocking the boat or better yet without him realizing it. After all, it is OUR marriage, right? I don't want this to eventually get in the way of our own little family. I can already see that birthday parties and stuff like that is going to be a problem. HELP PLEASE! ADDED to the Request: Let me give you an example...his family likes to have a birthday dinner for everyone's birthday...(his parent's and brother & sister). This totally threw me off because my family didn't do this. I have always felt that if you want someone to show up for something, you send them an invitation. It would make me so mad that they would just call a day or two before and tell him where they were going to eat (either a restaurant or their parent's house). That is not enough notice for me. They say that their birthdays are always on the same day each year, so they just have always had a tentative plan to do it. That is like 5 or 6 days a year! I don't want to have to do that every year! Does that example help??? I just want my own family. How do I push them away?

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In Need of Good Advice...

Houston, TX

I am very concerned about the way my husband has been treating two of my son's lately. This all started just after my two oldest son's graduated on June 6th. I had some family come for the graduation, that went pretty good. My oldest son moved out that night to go and live with his Dad in another town( he left that night because his Dad was here anyway for graduation) Ever since then my husband of 3 years has been treating my other two son's terrible. EVERYTHING they do is wrong. NO matter what it is. So, in turn this is causing alot of problems with our marriage. I try to talk to him about this everyday, because there seems to be a "problem" everyday. I have begged him for all of us to go to counseling for this, but he says he doesn't want anyone to know we have any problems. I am always the one in the middle and am getting tired of it. My husband is a boss at his job, so he is use to being in charge of everything. He says he talks to his employees the same way as he does my son's. I have told him they do NOT work for him, and our home life is different than his job. My son's are really starting to feel hate and I do not want that. I would just like everyone to get along, and learn how to talk to each other without the anger. ANY advice would be appreciated!! I am at my wits end!!!

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In-Laws Always Wanting to Spend Time with Our Son

San Francisco, CA

Hi there... Has anyone ever been in a situation where the in-laws always want their grandson over on the weekends? I don't want to be selfish but I want to be able to spend time with him to myself. My husband thinks that if his parents don't see our son much, then our son won't recognize them. I'm torn. I have nothing against them, it's just I look forward to weekends so me and my son can bond. Honestly, at the same time, I dread the weekends because I know they will expect him and I'm running out of excuses. I haven't brought him over for 2 wks now and I feel bad. I don't even call to let them know we are not coming over just to avoid any problems. This issue is just so sensitive for me because they are very sensitive. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

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Q

In-laws Contributing to Financial Issues

Dallas, TX

Over a year ago, my husband allowed his father to borrow one of our vehicles. He later expressed his interest in selling the vehicle to his dad, which I was very much against. His father had borrowed money from us and his other children in the past and never paid it back. I was also against it due to the fact that it would leave us (both working full-time and with 4 children) with only one vehicle. His mother expressed her hesitation in buying the vehicle too, probably knowing that it would cause problems, and said that if we decided to sell to them that I should draw up a contract - she wanted to make it "legal." I did draft up a contract, but my husband blew up at me when I showed it to him and told him that his mom had requested it. He said he never made my parents sign a contract for work that he had done for him (even though they always offered to pay for his time) and that his dad would pay for it. Well, now over a year later, when it should have been paid off, they have only made two payments on it. We went ahead and bought another vehicle which forced us to make sacrifices of cutting back on things for our children and us. I continue to remind my husband that they haven't made a payment in over 6 months, but it falls on deaf ears. In the meantime, they have purchased another used vehicle, given extravagent gifts and financial assistance to their other child (who is fully capable of working but chooses not to). So mamas, I need some advice. What would you do in this situation?

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In-laws Overstaying Their Welcome?!

Columbus, OH

I feel torn. My husbands family lives in Texas and is always coming to stay with us for a full week during the Christmas holiday. I am thankful that we do not have to travel, yet, I do EVERYTHING and am extremely exhausted by the 2-3 day that they are here. I have told my husband that 1 week is a little much and to ask them to cut down their stay by a few days. He thinks that it is asking them way too much and it would not make their travel worth their while due to the fact that it is already a 2 day drive. This year his brother brought his new girlfriend but came the day after christmas and stayed for 3 days. I must say that I am a clean freak and get a bit anxious about not having my own space....so by the end of their stay, I am ready to jump out of my skin. My 6 yr old gave up her bedroom and bunked with her 4 yr old brother on the top bed. My 4 yr old did not have a nap in a whole week, and my in-laws do not help in any way, shape or form in cleaning up after themselves. I am up to my eyeballs in laundry-towels and bedding! Oh...my Mother -in-law suffers from depression and can be quite negative and nasty at times, we experienced this on christmas-eve! SO...do I put my foot down or just grin and bear it since it is "quality" family time? I just feel like the bad guy...why can't my husband see the stress that this puts on me? Any advice Mamas?

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Q

Inlaws and Naming New Baby!

Dallas, TX

OK! Just seeking some opinions here!! A little background-my inlaws basically have raised my brother inlaw's 2 children. They each have a different mother and these 2 women have given complete control of their children to these people. The grandma tells the moms what the children will be doing instead of the other way around (though both children live w/their mothers). When I had my first little girl my MI tried to be the same way w/me, but considering I would not put up w/it she kinda stopped. They live about 3 hours away, they have not seen my child since Christmas (my husband is a coach and out of town on weekends, from Oct until just last weekend). We used to go up there all the time, and they have come here maybe 5 times in the past 18 months! OK...so, we are pregnant w/a boy due in June, and my husband has a stepfather who married his mom when they are all pretty small. There are 4 of them. However, his stepdad does not call us, come to see us or even try to maintain a relationship w/my husband or myself. His younger sister no longer speaks to the stepdad and has not in over a year. His mom is still married to the man, and he's very nice to me when we see him. MY MI called me yesterday to tell me to "MAKE SURE" I included the stepdad's name somewhere in the new baby's name b/c he has been talking about it a lot, and would really like that! Let me remind you that my husband has 2 sisters that have not had children yet, but wish to, and I am in the same sitution w/my stepfather. My dad died when I was 2 and my stepfather married my mom, and never had anymore children, but I have not even mentioned using his name! My daughter is name saked after my husband, and I wanted to use my deceased grandfather's middle name somewhere. I think it's only fair! My husband has even jumped on the bandwagon, and I REFUSE!! I told my husband that I don't appreciate anyone calling me and telling me to "make sure" that I do anything when it comes to my children! Please tell me if I am making this more than is really is.....Thanks....sorry so long!! I rant when I talk about these people!!

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Q

Is My Child Safe to Stay with a Depressesd Grandparent?

Tampa, FL

My husband and I are leaving in a week to go out of town. My kids will be spending a couple nights at my parents then a couple nights at my in laws. My father in law has been struggling with depression he has been to different places and stayed for month or longer seeking help. He is not taking his medication at this time so I'm just wondering if it is something I need to worry about. I really don't know a whole lot about depression and my husband doesn't like to tell me about how my father in law is doing. He is an awesome grandpa to the kids he loves them and would do anything for them. I'm just wonder if I'm being ridiculous I don't want to say anything and offend anyone but my kids safety is more important. Are they safe to stay with him? If not how can I break the news to them they are really excited about watching them.

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Just Need to Vent

Los Angeles, CA

Hi Mamas!! First of all, I am 21 weeks pregnant, and have a 4 year old daughter. I live 240 miles away from my family (Mom, Dad, sibling) This past April, my Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, she smoked for over 30 years, and it finally caught up to her. I have never been a smoker, and never will. My SIL has been her main caregiver. Well, all of a sudden my brother has decided that he no longer wants to be married, and is divorcing my SIL. My Mom thinks it's her fault for causing extra stress on them with her illness. No matter how many times, or how many different ways I tell her that she is not the cause, she continues to stress about it. My SIL is leaving this coming week to visit her sister, and just to get away for a week, which I completely understand, she needs the time. My SIL is a saint, and I wish I was more like her. Well now my brother is spending a lot of time with his friend's soon to be ex wife, and my Mom is just beside herself over it. she has recently started losing her short term memory, and is not taking care of herself. She won't drink or eat anything and she is getting very weak from this; obviously. She has recently also started falling because she is weak. Here is where my vent comes in. I am a full time student, and obviously on "fall break" this week for Thanksgiving. Now that my Mom wants someone with her 24/7, she has asked me to come up there and sleep on her couch at night while I'm there, to watch over her. Like I said, I'm 21 weeks pregnant, how am I suppose to "sleep" on her couch and make sure that I am getting enough sleep for me and the baby? If she falls in the middle of the night, it wouldn't be so bad because I can always go get my Dad out of bed. But if she falls in the middle of the day, what am I suppose to do? If I am helping her to the bathroom, I'm not going to be able to stop her from falling without hurting me or the baby. I probably sound really selfish considering this is my mom, but I have an unborn child to worry about. Thanks, L.

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Q

Just Seeking Some Advice...

Dallas, TX

Kinda long, but I really need advice. I appreciate anyone who helps!! Here goes... I've had family in San Antonio for all my life (dad, granparents, a & u, cousins), & I practically grew up with them. My parents divorced early, & I spent every other weekend in SA. I've always felt like I never truly belonged to that family. They are very church-going people, but it seemed that they didn't really like me because I wasn't. That feeling became stronger the older I got. I always visited them. They never came to see me. When they were in Houston, I would find out later...even my dad. I was never high on his priority list, broke promises to me often, barely showed up to my wedding, etc...I could go on, but ya'll get the picture. It bothered me a lot, but I just chalked it up to being him. I sorta felt like it was maybe my fault because I wasn't the best person I could be at that time. My DH didn't like that family the minute he met them, so we went to major events (babies, weddings, graduations, etc.) only. They would complain a bit, but I never really told them how I felt. So I got pregnant with my 1st 3 years ago. I had severe, severe complications, & I almost died. Seriously, the hospital wanted to bring the priest in. I was put in a coma for 1 month for my kidneys & lungs to heal. Anyhoo, my dad only came to visit when he found out I was dying, & he just came in the beginning for a couple of days. He ended up showing up the last day I was in the hospital (after a 2 month stay). He was late (9:00 pm), & I found out he & my uncle went to the dog tracks before they came to visit me. My aunt was supposed to come that trip, but she ended up having to do something at her church. One cousin had 2 kids, so she decided that she couldn't come. My other cousin happened to be in town visiting a friend, & they decided to come visit me in the ICU for 5 min. She brought a friend!!!!!!! Other than that, no one from SA came to visit. When I got out & came home, I decided that I had had enough. I stopped calling them just to see what would happen, but only my dad called me every couple of months. I realized that it was just because of my son. 3 years later, none of them have bothered to call--oh, & my grandparents passed away before this. I finally confronted my dad on e-mail (I know I'm chicken--I get too emotional face-to-face), & he stopped talking to me. I haven't heard from him in 1 1/2 years. I've tried to force him to e-mail me back, but he doesn't. I found out from a distant cousin that my whole family knows how I feel. They feel like since I stopped talking to them that it's my fault. No one will pick up the phone or keyboard to contact me. My cousin said they are all very hurt by me. So what would ya'll do at this point? I don't think I really want them in my life--especially not my son's. He doesn't need to be around blood relatives that aren't going to reciprocate a relationship. They are the type of people who just want to "gloss over" an arguement--avoiding confrontation. This was not an arguement--this was my life that was almost over, & no one could be bothered to pause their life to pay their last respect. None of them have even seen my son--my dad has seen him about 3 times. All 3 of my cousins have had more kids, & all I've gotten was a birth announcement. See, they are all mad because I'm wanting them to work at the relationship. So anyone have any advice? Laying there on that bed with muscle atrophy of being in a coma for a month & a tube in your throat really puts things in perspective, & I refuse to let people like that in my (& my son & DH) life. I just want answers from them...why, why, why?? Why couldn't they have been bothered to come visit??? EDIT: I wanted to clarify about ICU visits since this was a point my relatives talked about. The nurses were very lenient with my visitors. Visitors could stay as long as they wanted, but they didn't allow a lot of people at the same time. After I woke up, those rules were out the window. Also, I never had any time of visitor hours when I was in a regular room, & I have yet to find out why they didn't visit then. Thanks in advance if anyone got to the bottom of reading this.

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Q

Living with Your mother-in-law........HELP!

Boca Raton, FL

I am desperately looking for advice on how to deal with living with my mother-in-law. My husband, three year old son, and I bought a two story house where the kitchen, living room and bedrooms are on the first floor and an oversized living space with bathroom on the second floor. We are using the second floor for my mother-in-law. We offered to take her in because she is unable to live alone anymore and can't afford assisted living. My husband is planning on building a kitchen with a refrig and microwave for her. So here's the problem.....My husband and I feel like we do not have our own space and privacy. She is constantly coming down the stairs and hanging out with us. She has no hobbies other than to sit on the couch and watch us. My husband tried to get her to volunteer or involved in senior groups but she refuses. We told her that we need our space and she'll say okay I'll give you some time alone but she's back downstairs five minutes later! She sits there and listens to my conversations with my husband and watches me play with my son. Sometimes I'll go back into the bedrooms in order to have privacy but I ask myself why do I have to go to my bedroom just to have privacy when this is my house? I wouldn't mind it so much if she came down once a day but this is all day long. And I feel that it is not my responsibility to entertain her. I work and I have a husband and a son. Also my husband and I would like to spend our life around people our age. We have provided a roof over her head, food to eat, we take her to get her hair done once a week, doctors, medicine given to her three times a day, errands probably 2-3 times a week (and I know that is way too often). I just don't know what to do. I had mentioned some kind of schedule? If there's anyone out there that can help I am willing to try anything! Thanks so much for listening.

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Q

Looking for a Good Book

Minneapolis, MN

I'm looking for a good book to read that might help with my own relationship with my Mother. I am now a single mother of two beautiful and energetic girls, my Mom has her own opinions about how I should be raising my children and running my life. As far as she is concerned I have no control of my household and my girls are running the roost. She comes from the mentality of "Children should be seen and not heard". Help! I love my Mom but every day am feeling the distance growing between us.

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Looking for Advice & Resources for Helping Caregivers

Mobile, AL

My mother-in-law is becoming a caregiver to my father-in-law - he has a very rare form of dementia that is progressively getting worse. They are both experiencing so many emotions and hard times. Emotions become very raw in the family. We want to know how to help and assist my MIL. She is so stressed and overwhelmed. Her life is changing, she's quit her job she loved, she has pretty much already lost her soulmate - his personality has changed so much. We keep open communication, but when we ask her how we can help or what we can do, she says she doesn't know. It has progressed to the point that she can't leave him and he pretty much depends on her and needs to be with her throughout the day. We know that it will only get worse from here, but I really want to try to help and be understanding. My husband is struggling with this as well - loosing his dad very slowly and dealing with his mom who is very upset and angry at times (which is not at all like her - it is his first reaction to snap back - but we want to try to understand). I don't know if I'm making much sense, but any advice, resources or books that you have found helpful if you have found yourself in a similar position - caring for a caretaker.

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Mohter in Law

Grand Rapids, MI

My mother in law is always willing to babysit, which is great because it saves us lots of money but... when she comes she goes through my mail, medicine cabinet, cupboards etc... she is a snooper!!! How can I get her to mind her own busy and just be there for my kids.

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Mom Friend Relationships

Orlando, FL

I know this is going to sound like an odd question. But I've rec'd good advice from this board before, so I am going to ask it. As crazy as it sounds, I wrote a one-act play. I've never written professionally, but I do read quite a bit, and there was this contest. And I had a great story to share about being a stay at home mom. I actually started writing before we moved, so my two closest friends from where we previously lived used to hear me talk about writing "the play" a lot. They sort of knew they would have "starring roles" in it -- but they seriously didn't think I would ever write it or finish it. Now that it is as done as it is ever going to get -- through email -- I was so excited (this week) -- that I emailed them and told them how excited I was. One of my friends is a wannabee writer, and she just wants to know in a paragraph -- what essentially happens. The other one wants the whole play because she said she suffered through listening to me talk about it and she deserves to read it. I am afraid to send it to her. There are some unflattering elements of her character (and she will know who she is), and also of her close friends. She won't see it as creative license; she'll see it as true. (Also her close friend will freak out when she sees her actual name because I didn't know this woman, and I just liked the name and her husband's name to boot.) Do I send her a copy, and tell her it is just creativity? And please don't read it as a biography? Do I just ignore that she is asking me for it? (She visits once a year, and I see her maybe once.) I know it sounds silly. And the play probably won't ever see the light of day. I am just happy I actually got it done. I'm leaning toward just putting her off until she visits in the springtime and letting her look at it then without her close friend ever seeing it. Is that mean of me?

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Q

Monster in Law

New York, NJ

Hello folks. I would love any advise on how to deal with my monster in law. I noticed that she had all around hostile behavior towards my husband when we were dating. I inquired about it and my then boyfriend replied that she talks loud. Therefore I ignored it. Any time that she called him she always would want him to jump and do something for her IMMEDIATELY! I would just look at him and shake my head. We then got engaged and when I showed her my ring she turned every shade of purple and said nothing. When I was planning my wedding she gave my husband grief because the wedding was not in the faith that he grew up with. She invited whoever she felt without abiding by our guest list and my husband did not say a word to her. (I put my foot down and demanded that the two of them cough up the funds for extra people to come) When we bought our house I cooked a beautiful dinner and she sat with her head in her hands and stared at the food. During my baby shower she and her girlfriends moved their seats way across the yard, blatantly segregating themselves from the other guests. When my son was born she sat here for 8 days straight and did absolutely nothing while I dealt with a colicy newborn. I am sure that you get the picture with the examples that I have outlined. My husband keeps trying to sell her behavior to me and making excuses for it. It does not take much for her to start yelling at anything or anyone that does not suit her liking. Needless to say her husband is deceased and therefore she clings to my husband like glue. I have spoken to him numerous times to him about their relationship and how unhealthy it is. I since have given up and have set rules and regulations up for when she come over. She is not allowed to yell or make me feel uncomfortable in any way. She is to abide by the rules that we are raising our son under and is not allowed to undermine them in any way shape or form. My problem is that I cannot stand her very presence. There also is a huge communication barrier, she does not speak english well. I also do not leave my son in her care because I have come home to a baby with a saturated diaper or a bloody face b/c she allowed him to scratch his eczema silly. My family has witnessed her behavior and think she needs help. My brother in law apologizes for her behavior and tells her off when she acts up. Any advise to help me cope, because she is coming over this weekend.

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Mother Is Coming for a Visit; Anxiety Mounting

San Francisco, CA

This is a question for anyone who has a tainted relationship with their mother. My mother lives far away, so when she visits it's an intense one-week stay. I guess I love her at the core, but her behavior over the years pretty much destroyed our relationship. She now (that she is old) wants love and acceptance that I have a really hard time giving. Any similar experiences or words of wisdom? My mom's coming next week and the anxiety is mounting. Based on the two replies I just received - I have to add this to my post: I don't have expectations any more, I actually am extremely uncomfortable with her being nice now even if she tries - it feels like too little, too late. But generally I don't find her to be a likable person. Negative and critical about the world in general, and there is very little to talk about.

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Q

My 2 Year Old Hates Toothbrushing

Grand Forks, MN

I have a 2 year old who hates to brush his teeth. All he wants to do is eat the toothpaste and be done. He has an electric toothbrush, which did help for a while, but not anymore. I have a 4 year old that brushes at the same time, so he can see him do it. I end up having to almost sit on him on the floor in order to get it done and this is how it has always been. Should I just give up for a while or would that just be giving in to him? He also has some brown coloring on a few of his teeth, so I really don't want to hold back. Any new ideas would sure be appreciated.

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My Brothers Moved In

Tampa, FL

not by my choice either. My mother decided to stop by yesterday and "bring" him over. We had no idea she was doing this and at that moment I was in a possition with him there that I couldnt say no. I love my brother and this isnt about him, its about my mother. I spoke to her on the phone many times about this while I listened to her beg me to take him in. I told her then that I couldnt afford it, I have to take care of my own family first. My brother had lived here about a month before, and I told her then that I couldnt afford it, and he stayed here for a month and she offered me not one single penny to pay for his food. He is 18, 17 at the time he moved in, and while she is spending his child support money on herself, I am bussy being his mentor, helping him graduate school, get his lisence, open his first bank account and get a job. At the same time I am trying to help support my own family and spend time with my son and husband. Like I said I love my brother and its not his fault that our mother is being a selfish pig, but what makes me so mad about all of this is that she has manipulated me yet again to get what she wanted for herself. I am not sure if I should call her and tell her to come and get him because rightfully he is her responsibility, not mine. But there is a big part of me that knows it would hurt him to think I didnt want him here. She has done things like this to me all of my life, so its nothing new, but I am sick of taking care of her problems and her responsibilities. Any advice on what I should do? I honestly cant afford to take care of another mouth, even though I am going back to work, I just dont know if its going to put my family into more of a finacial dept then we are already in. Plus, its my brother and I know she wont help him. I am torn being a rock and a hard place and dont know which way to go with this...

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Q

My Brothers Wife

Omaha, NE

I have one sibling, an older brother; and his wife has really come between us in the 5 years they have been together. How can I reconnect with him when I really don't like her at all? They now have two children together and I want our children (cousins) to be close as well.

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Q

My Father-in-law

Tampa, FL

My husband and I have been together for over 4 years (dating and marriage). Since the day I said hello to my husbands family I have been treated poorly. His father, paternal grandmother and an Aunt and Uncle refused to come to the wedding. We bought a house in the same community has his family so he could be close to them. Everyone has to drive by our house to get to theirs. If I am outside with the kids or for any reason I will waive and I don't get a reply. Last year we had my tubes replaced to have another baby. My husband told everyone of the news and he didn't get any kind of a response from them, except from his grandfather who is the only one who will talk to me. Well we got pregnant and still no response from them. Our son was born this past January, and everyone came over to our house when our son was 11 days old, while there I was treated poorly, his father said one word (hello) the paternal grandmother was telling me how I was to raise my baby, because apparently the older 2 kids don't exsist. Since then we have had to body stop by or call. My brother-in-law gets messages from the paternal grandmother that we are to bring over pictures, why can't she call us? So I had finally had enough of all this s@?t and wrote a letter to his father that was 3 pages long, pointing out everything that he and this family have done to me and I wanted to know why? He had his second wife tell my husband that he won't talk to me cause he can't see his first grandson (another story in its own), anyways he blames me for this. So he wants to see my baby but wants nothing to do with me or the other two kids. My husband has cut all ties with these people, because of this behavior. But in my mind this is not how family is. What should I do? Or should I just leave it alone and let them see what they have done, and let them make the next move?

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Q

My MIL Is Driving Me NUTS!!!!

Burlington, NH

I have a 9.5 month daughter who weighs 23 pounds. I know, it sounds HUGE, but she was 9.7 when she was born so we're actually right on track. She's got the adorable chubby face, arms and thighs...she's in the 95% for weight. Here's my issue. Her Nana is ALWAYS making comments about how fat she is. She will come out right and say it and then other times she is passavie aggressive about it (reading the formula label...questioning the ingredients, commenting on the amount of food that I feed her). I have come out and specifically asked her pedi if she is ok (I'm sure she is, but MIL won't listen to me) and he say's that she's perfect. She's 29 inches so very proportionate. She eats as much as the doctor recommends and is very good about telling me when she is done. I know that she's healthy and beautiful...How do I get her Nana to believe me and back off? Help!! Thanks Ladies.

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Q

Need Feed Back

Dallas, TX

I've been in a realtionship with a divorcee for five years. They are a co-parent to a beautiful child. I have tried to be a secondary parent since we met, but seem to not be allowed. I'm considered a play toy, and not and adult in their eyes. That is both of them. We live seperate, and I've wanted it to be different for a long time. The biological mom has so much control, and has not been very supportive in a lot of ways. My partner will drop everything for the x and the child, but doesn't seem to realize that they have someone that really cares for both of them. I offered to sell my house at one point and move to the town they live in. When we started looking at houses they wanted to live blocks from their x. You can travel from point A to B in less than 10 minutes. Why a few blocks away ?

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Q

Need Some Space!

Boston, MA

My husband and I have been temporarily living in my in-laws house for the past several months. We will be moving out of India soon, and wanted them to have some time with our 6 week old son before we leave in April. My in-laws live downstairs, and we live upstairs, and luckily, they are very good about giving us our space. They have a large staff, and it makes life very easy for us because we don't have to do the cooking and cleaning and can split our time between our work and looking after the baby. We have an office at home which we both work out of. However, recently, we invited my husband's great-aunt to come and stay with us. We needed someone to watch our son for a couple of hours in case we need to work or to step out between his nursing. My mother-in-law is in bedrest for medical issues and my father-in-law works, so they cannot take on the responsibility I'm having several issues with having my husband's aunt here, although she's a wonderful person and not at all interfering. 1. I'm used to having the upstairs of the house to myself and my husband. Now that she is staying with us, I feel like I don't have my privacy. 2. She's not able to calm the baby down if he gets worked up. If she's only watching him when he's sleeping or in a good mood, it defeats the purpose of having her around. I don't feel confident about going out of the house and leaving him alone with her. What if he starts crying? 3. I feel like I always have to find something for her to do. So I either end of sitting and chatting with her when there are other things I have to do or I give her the baby when he's in a good mood and when I would actually like to be spending time with her. 4. I've actually started feeling guilty when I spend time with my son and I really want to enjoy this time. My husband is very concerned that I'm not adjusting well to having his great-aunt here because he feels that we don't have any other option if we need to step out for a few hours or do some very important work. There are other option, but somehow he's got it into his head that his is the best. Now he is even talking about taking her with us when we move, which I really don't want to do because I'm looking forward to the move as as chance to have my own personal space back! It sounds stupid to say it, but it's really driving me nuts! Please give me some suggestions either about how to adjust or some suggestions that I can give my husband in place of having his great-aunt living with us at home!

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Q

Need Suggestions for a Christmas Gift

Phoenix, AZ

I asked myself today what I was going to give my niece for Christmas. I am lost so I am turning to my "Mamasource Ladies" for help. My niece is 16. She dropped out of school last year and has no job. Her mother (my sister) has tried to get her to go to school but she is a single mother of five and is just trying to keep the house together and get to work so she doesn't lose her job. I am not going to judge her because I am not in her shoes however I feel she could do a better job. Anyway, I am having a hard time wanting to buy my niece anything. She does a little bit of housework but that is it. She smokes but my sister says she doesn't give her any money and I believe her because she is barely making it, she simply can't afford to give her any money. All my niece does is take cigarettes from her friends and probably other ways to get paid that I don't even want to imagine. She has in the past been caught stealing so maybe she is doing that again to get money. I feel I should buy her a gift because I will be buying her brothers and sisters gifts however I don't feel she deserves a "fun" gift. I was leaning towards buying her a book. Maybe a book for "girls that drop out of school". Maybe one that says "how to get my life back on the right track for teenagers". Do any of you know of any books that I can purchase for her that could possibly help her? I don't know if she will read it but at least I can say I tried something and I bought her something. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated. You are such a smart group of people I know I will get the right idea from your responses.

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Q

Not Talking to My Mother in Law

Minneapolis, MN

My husband and his brother are both in the military in the same unit, which got deployed last Sept. My husband was lucky to stay back here, as he works full time for the Army, but my brother in law was deployed with the unit. My mother in law is not talking to us because of that, she is acting like a child herself and wants nothing to do with us or her granddaughters( we have two girls 9 and 2). She sends emails to my father in law (they have been divorced since the boys were in high school~ she cheated on him) and saws nasty things about the both of us. We have done so much for her and have always treated her well. My brother in law is engagged to a nice girl and is getting married next summer, she wants my help with the wedding, but I am affraid that when the wedding comes, my mother in law will be very embassing to us there. She was the "talk" at our wedding, she has no family and I do feel sorry for her, but if she treats us like this, I really don't want anything to do with her. I have encouraged my husband many times to talk to her, but everytime he does, she is more angry with us. Help!! What do we do. I am not the type of person who has problems with people.

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Q

Older Cousin Being Mean to 2Yr Old

Syracuse, NY

My family just moved to a new location. We are staying with my cousin and her family until our military housing comes through. We're not too far down the list so I'm thinking it will only be a few months. She (my cousin) has 2 girls ages 8 & 4. The 4 yr old is constantly blaming my son for things. For example, hitting the cat when my husband is standing right there and can see no hitting took place. Or she'll complain that he's not sharing HIS toys. He's 2, and an only child. He's never had to share before and is still learning. Also, when my husband and I are trying to have a little "family time" with our son, she'll come sit right in the middle of everything, and do things to get our attention. We've tried explaining that this is our family time and we'll all play together later, and we do follow through. Or when my son is trying to eat his dinner she'll play right next to him, or play "peek-a-boo" with him. Even after being asked by myself and HER PARENTS to move, she'll still continue to try to distract him while he's eating. I hate to drag this out, but one more thing, she lies... almost constantly. She loves soda, and bubble gum. She'll go get one or the other, then when asked my her parents who she asked to do these things, she'll look @ my husband or I and say we allowed her to do it. When I know damn well she didn't ask me anything. Or she'll get into things or break things, then blame my son for it. My cousin is expecting a baby in the fall and I'm concerned these behaviors will continue or get worse when the baby comes. I don't know what to do. We've gone house hunting for temporary housing, but the houses we've looked @ are discusting and a safety hazard for our son. Please help. Any advice given will be greatly appreciated.

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Q

Parents Not Cleaning up After Their Child.

Chicago, IL

Hi Moms! I have been dealing with this question for about a year and a half now...I have a family member who has a child between the ages of 2-3. I love my nephew/niece, but dread when they come over as I know it only means work for me. Each and every time that the child comes over, the parents never clean up after the child. My kids play too, but the mess seems to triple since my nephew/niece is quite active and like to dump toys practically everywhere. Sometimes they come while another family member is watching my kids and when I get home from work and they leave I am left with a huge mess. When it is time to go they just pick the child up and leave without lifting a finger to help clean the mess. I always have my children clean up at others' houses when we play and I always make sure to clean up after them as well. It disturbs me because I dread when these family members come over because I know what the result will be. Let's just say that when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my second child, they watched me clean a mess up off of the floor (bending with my big belly) that their child/grandchild had made. I finally decided to write this request this morning as I spend my day off cleaning the house from yesterday's visit when I should be playing with my own children. Sorry to vent, but my spouse isn't willing to breach the subject as it might cause some friction in the family. I am just getting tired of cleaning up after the visits. Please don't get me wrong, I love these family members, especially the child, but I want to look forward to their visits and I can't because of the increased workload for me. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Q

Pepping up Sister-in-Law with Cancer

Washington DC, MD

This isn't really a mom question but one that I hope someone out there can help me with. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma last year and has gone through a series of chemotherapy treatments to cure it. Despite some success, they have discovered new tumors and are beginning another round of radiation to treat it. I would really like to do something nice for her, but don't know what. She is currently in the hospital and likely will be for some time. I would like to make her a basket of goodies or a scrapbook or something to help cheer her up, but want it to be something that she will be able to use/appreciate. This has hit my husband and his family pretty hard. I don't want to overstep my bounds as an "in-law", but want so badly to cheer first her and them up. Any ideas?

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Q

Relationship with My Mom Is Draining Me . . .

Atlanta, GA

Mom and I have a horribly strained relationship stemming from childhood neglect and a mirage of other ongoing issues. She is constantly running guilt trips on me or putting me down. Currently, she is insinuating that I should drop my baby off at her house so that she can spend some time with her. It's like she thinks she's entitled, just because she's the grandma. She brags to her coworkers about her "grandbaby", sends out pictures to our family, but hardly stops by to see us, saying she's tired and gets home from work too late (6pm). We live 15 minutes apart. Now, let's add to the mix my stepdad, who is a "nice guy" but has a wierd temperment. Sort of childish and annoying. He could also use an anger management class. Consequently, my daughter cries whenever he enters the room. Now, she cries when either of them come near her. This breaks my heart because she is a people person and rarely cries about anything. To make things worse, my mom is an advocate of "letting babies cry". She sort of blows it off and says, "they'll be o.k." Probably true, but not on my watch. I've tried communicating openly with her about our problems, but she is an emotional zombie "literally" she just shut's down, changes the subject or blames the whole thing on me. There is obvious tention whenever I deal with them. At first I was trying to be amicable, you know, a "good daughter", but I am so over this bull. I had to hold myself back from writing her a dear john letter, knowing she would just start crying and blame it all on me. This is a beautiful time in my life and I want to enjoy it, but my control freak mom keeps raining on my parade. Lord have mercy. I mean that literally. Any clues ladies?

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Q

Ruined a Borrowed Shirt! What Do I Do?

Tyler, TX

My 2 year old gets hand me downs from my SIL and we have ruined 2 shirts playing in the yard. I know they aren't expensive shirts, but I feel guilty. Should I get her a gift card for one of the places she buys her kids clothes when it comes time to give these clothes back that he outgrew?

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Q

Seeking Advise with Mother-in-law Issues

St. Cloud, MN

I have a mother-in-law who seems sweet to everyone. But I think she is covering up her true self. I married her son, her only child, need I say more. Granted they are a close family, but since the day I married him, she has been different. She expects us to visit frequently, which we do not. I feel she treats all my girls differently, she really pays more attention to my oldest. I feel that is just cruel, as the others will some day catch on and be hurt. Needless to say, I have little to no respect for her, and have a hard time being pleasant to her. I feel that she could care less to be around me either. I feel bad for my husband, sho is caught in the middle. He loves his parents, which he should, but does not see things the way I do. If it wasn't for his mother, we would hardly ever argue. Am I crazy, how should I be handling this situation? Please help!!!

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Q

Seeking Moms

Los Angeles, CA

Just wondering if any moms out there have step kids but are really having a hard time with them cause the mother is brain washing them? If anyone has any advise how i can fix this please help because i am starting to feel hate for the kids and dont want that.

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Seeking Stepmoms with Advice

Spokane, WA

when i had gotten with my husband he had a little girl just shy of 1 and her brother which is not my husbands boy. we have been together now for about five years and had a son together. since we have been together the mom of my step kids is not around and has been gone for about 2 years, leaving me with a little girl of five and a boy not closely related to me of 9 years old. i need help getting on his level. he is very underdeveloped for his age, he has adhd and i feel i have no patience. if anyone with step kids has advice please help!

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Q

Should My 2 Year Old Be Taking a Multi-vitamin?

Dallas, TX

Hey all you smart mamas! I have another mother in law situation- some of you may not be surprised. My mom in law is driving me crazy insisting that I give flintstone's multivitamins to my 2 year old. He eats well and we have a very balanced and healthy diet in our home. I know the vitamins wouldn't hurt, but now it's the principle of the matter since I've made it clear to her that I don't think he should be taking them many times in the past. When we are at her house, she has a stock pile of vitamins there and she give my child one, and says this whole schpeal that he cannot possibly understand "Ok Spencer, eat this vitamin! We only take one a day! We never take more than one a day! They may taste like candy, but they aren't!" Then it really made me mad when last night she came over and was asking me where I keep the vitamins she bought for us to have at home. I told her the truth which is that I left them in my car and they melted. Then she says to my 2yo "Spencer, didn't you tell mommy that we are taking our vitamins now and you want to take them at home too?" I just ignored her, but this whole thing is really testing my patience. She is always going over my head and doing things that she knows drive me crazy. This is just one more thing, but I'm tired of taking it and not saying anything. I'm sure this will come up again soon, so I want to know what to say! Any thoughts? Does anyone think it is crucial that a two year old take vitamins? My Pediatrician said that so little of the vitamin is actually absorbed, that unless you want to spend big money on good vitamins, there's not really a point. Plus I read the label on the bottle and the very first ingredient is sugar! Help!

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Q

Should the Step-mom and the Kids Mom Ever Meet?

Pueblo, CO

We have a battle going on here. I would like to meet in a nice way the woman who is taking care of my kids. I told her it would be in good taste and not critical. She writes me an email saying how my ex has lowered her self-esteem, makes her feel bad all the time so she tells me she has pulled away from the family. My ex has so much anger that he is really the source of all this tension between everyone. Because I left. She apologized up and down to me for all I went through with him just over and over apologizes. The she came back after I asked her if she would like to meet that I would only be a monster and belittle her. Surely she is not feeling appreciated and I will do it on her time. But do you think the two women should meet, it only makes less stress for the kids and they see we are all getting along. My kids are 15 and 12. Please Help! I'm only trying to be nice here and move on with my new life.

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Q

Step Kids

Hattiesburg, MS

I have a ten year old step daughter that i love as much as if she were of my flesh and blood. My problem is that I am not allowed to treat her as i do my own. Everytime I have punished her or raised my voice to her she calls her mom or my mother in law ( who is way to involved) and tells them i am being mean etc. Then they call my husband and get him all upset not at me exactly but more because they always drag him in the middle expecting him to side with them. i get along very well with my ex-in law and my mother in law except during these times. The main thing that bugs me is that no one asks me what happened before throwing a fit. My daughter has a very vivid imagination if you get my drift. i need some advice on how to deal with them and make them realize that I am not the bad guy i just want the same respect from her that i get from my boys. She is the oldest and I do not my boys growing thinking this is ok. Please Help!!!!!

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Q

Step Mother Problem?

Detroit, MI

My father remarried over 10 years ago. He lives in another state. he is a great grandpa that enjoys coming to visit the grandkids and playing with them. I just called him to ask if he would like to come for christmas to spend with the grandkids. He said yes that it would be fun.. But then he asked his wife (while I was still ont he phone) and she said "NO". His wife doesnt like to travel. Sometimes she comes with him to visit and sometimes she stays home. I really want my daddy to come visit us and the kids. I am thinking about calling him again when his wife is not home to ask him to come.. Kids grow up so fast and I want them to know their grandpa. But I dont want to cause a big stink with his wife - I used to get along pretty well with her but lately not so good. Any advice???

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Q

The YaYa Sisters Strike Again

San Antonio, TX

OK, I was so happy and proud that I had finally broken the bad news to my mom that we would not return home of the Christmas season. I had shared all of the reasons that we were not returning which are: 1.) This is our first year in a new place and DD needs to know that Christmas happens here too. (DD did not think that Halloween would happen without Oma.) This is our biggest reason for staying here. 2.) We are in a new city and can’t wait to explore the local festivities. We are so excited about staying here. 3.) We just spent 3 weeks staying with my mother in July/August. 4.) We have to go back for my brother’s wedding in April anyway and I don’t want to go back THAT often. 5.) We don’t want to have to deal with the whole situation with Jeremy’s family for a change. 6.) DH got a promotion, and though he doesn’t have to start until January 2nd, they will continue to work on getting the spot sooner. If they do, he has to move immediately. So he has to stay flexible until then. 7.) We want a Christmas to ourselves. We've never had one where we didn't have to run to 4 different houses that day. What fun is that? 8.) We lost A LOT of money in the move/selling the house and having to move again 6 months later. 9.) We need to work on our savings. 10.) I didn't share this one because I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but my family is not healthy for me. It is not their fault, but I do not fit in and being with them is a constant reminder that I was adopted and all that I have suffered in my life that has damaged me to the point that I just can't fit in with the milk and cookie lives that they live. It hurts me and it is not their fault-in fact they saved me, but it is something that I can't get over. Well, she cried before I had started because she knew what it was about. We got through it and I thought it was all settled, but my aunt just emailed offering to pay for it all and would send DH home whenever he needed. My aunt is very well off and infamous for “taking care of things.” (Has anyone ever seen YaYa Sisterhood?) My aunt offered us this without anyone's knowledge and said that it could stay that why. This is not a matter of pride, but rather that we don't need it and don't want it. I don’t want to come home. Money is only a benefit for staying here and not a reason for us to stay here. (We have the money, but would rather save it.) WWYD?

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Q

We Want Our Children to Have a Stronger Bond with Their Grandparents!

Phoenix, AZ

My sister and nephew live with my parents. They have lived with them since my nephew was born six years ago. Originally, we thought that this was a temporary situation, but it has progressed to the point that my mom and sister can't live without one another. They do everything together, go out to dinner five+ times a week, go to the movies, take my nephew to the train park, etc. etc. I understand that they live together and that it is nice to eat together and do things together, but I feel that the relationship that my children have with their grandparents is a not anywhere close to what my nephew has with them. What I mean is that whenever we do stuff with grandma and grandpa, it is ALWAYS with my sister and her son. Not that they are bad, annoying or anything of the sort, but when will my children get alone time with their grandparents? When will we get to go to dinner with grandma and grandpa with just us and the kids? We, as a family, are longing for a stronger relationship with the grandparents, but we don't know how to approach this without hurting anyone's feelings. I don't think my children have ever just been out with grandma and grandpa by themselves and we want that for them. What should we do?

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Q

What Would You Do? Mother-in-law (Update)

Dallas, TX

Everyone Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, encouragement, and words of wisdom. I was so overwhelmed by the support and kind words. I really wanted to get other people opinion, it would have been so easy to call my sister-in-law and just have a talk about how mil drives us both crazy. My husband did call his mother, and stress to her that IF it was that important that she be here for the birth of Matthew than she was more than welcomed (she's pretty much told the whole town that I'm keeping her away from the birth of her grandchild) we just thought that she may enjoy more time alone with her grandkids after my family was gone, and with my dad coming in from Iraq he really couldn't adjust his schedule (and my mil fly's free whenever because of my husbands job--a very nice perk for her). she told my wonderful husband that we already ruined it for her and on and on, I grabbed the phone before he told her NOT TO COME... I then talked with her the next day, and after thirty minutes of listening to how bad the snow was, her friends were unappreciative of her, and how bad she felt, tired and her knee hurting her. I told her that Jerad and I talked about it and with my parents here for 5 days and then her that we thought a week would be great for her to stay. We wanted her to enjoy the kids and just visit and with her knee we didn't want her to over due it and also with her business (Curves-a whole other drama) we didn't want to ask her to be away to long. After I was done she said someone came in the store and she had to go. I really thought it went well, I stayed positive and appreciative. WELL........ When I get out of the shower last night my eleven year old is in tears, she answered the phone because she knew it was her Nana. Nana told her that she didn't feel welcomed, we hurt her and that we were not being very Christ like with our family, that mommy was having issues........ My husband is out of town so I tried to talk to him calmly as possible, trying not to have this baby till Monday. We've decided that we are still going to allow her to come, but we will sit down with her and tell her she has to get help for her depression or she won't come again.We love her but she crossed a line that is unacceptable. So EVERYONE-Thank you and have a great weekend.

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Q

Why Am I Annoyed w/mil...HELP!

Los Angeles, CA

hello! thank you in advance~ why am i so annoyed...i think just the sight of the mil bothers me? she says things like "tell your mommy she's going to rattle your brain" (when i bounce him on my lap) or "watch out" (when i'm carrying him) it's my child and i know what i'm doing! i've been babysitting and around newborn/children for a long time! my son is 4 mo old....i have to go back to work soon and my parents are out of town? is this the reason? how in the WORLD do i get over this? please help!!!!! :)

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Q

Widowers

Los Angeles, CA

Hi, I am engaged to the most wonderful man I have ever met. Funny, thoughtful & we get along great...however, he was married to a woman for 30 years & she became ill & eventually took her own life. They had two grown children & two small grandchildren. In the beginning I had to establish some bounderies in regards to the deceased wife. With time & on his own he has taken down pictures, mementos & is even remodeling the house to suit me. I tragically lost my parents (at separate times) & have been through a sad divorce so I understand loss. I also read a book on my particular subject & I know this is just "life" & I need to deal...& I do. But it would be really nice to have someone to talk to from time to time or just to get some input from someone else who's been with a widower. Cant even compare to an ex...it's entirely different. His whole family is awesome to me & I could not ask for a better instant family. I am very fortunate. Anyone have stories to share??? Thanks, C.

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