March 4, 2010 in Features

Show spouse how to bond with mom

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: My husband has never had a close relationship with his mother. He spent most of his childhood years with his grandparents. His mom lives alone and has few friends.

I often remind my husband to call his mother to see how she’s doing, but he does this only occasionally. She lives barely an hour away, yet we go months without seeing her. Although she and I are polar opposites, we care deeply for each other.

Is it my responsibility to take care of my mother-in-law even though my husband doesn’t seem to care? Should I leave my husband alone about trying to maintain regular contact with her? – Feeling Guilty

Dear Feeling Guilty: Please continue to stay in touch with your mother-in-law and check up on her now and then, and encourage your husband to do the same. He obviously does not feel a close bond, but he can certainly develop greater affection if he gives it some time and effort. Since he doesn’t know how to have a better relationship with her, we hope you will teach him. It could be very rewarding for all of you.

Dear Annie: “Just Wondering in Southern California” was concerned about her sister-in law’s use of bleach around her children. I work on behalf of Clorox and wanted to clarify a few points.

Bleach actually isn’t harmful to the environment when it is used as directed in everyday consumer and commercial tasks. During normal household use and disposal, bleach breaks down primarily into salt and water.

Research shows that bleach is better than vinegar and hydrogen peroxide when it comes to killing the most organisms, including viruses. The reader’s sister-in-law should also be reminded that bleach should always be used as directed and always stored out of reach of children. – Laura Jacobs, On Behalf of Clorox


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