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Annie’s Mailbox: Mom won’t abide by smoking rules

Thu., Feb. 17, 2011

Dear Annie: I am having a problem with my mother-in-law. My husband is so upset that he doesn’t plan to speak to her again.

My mother-in-law is a smoker. So are my husband, mother and father-in-law. We have asked everyone to smoke outside because I have young children and one has upper-respiratory issues. We have a screened-in porch with comfortable furniture where people are welcome to enjoy themselves. No one has a problem with this except my mother-in-law. She refuses to smoke outside. In addition, she refuses to visit unless she can smoke wherever she wants.

Mom doesn’t believe smoking causes health issues, so we no longer allow our daughter to visit Mom at her home. In the past, our daughter has come home with inflamed bronchial tubes, requiring a nebulizer to breathe.

Mom has turned this into a major feud, saying we are disrespectful to her. In her attempts to force us to allow her to smoke in the house, she has said some pretty nasty things to my husband. My husband is a wonderful son and has always been there for his mother whenever she needed anything. Now he is “dead” to her.

Mom has told the entire family that we cut off access to the grandchildren “for no reason.” She sent my parents a lengthy e-mail to “let them know what we were doing to her.” She phoned our 10-year-old daughter and said Mommy and Daddy won’t let her visit.

We have never said a bad word to this woman. We always speak to her calmly, but we are not going to give in about the smoking. What can we do? – Texas

Dear Texas: Nothing. You have made your home welcoming to smokers and non-smokers alike. Your mother-in-law is being a selfish pain in the behind and values her convenience over her family. This is HER choice. Continue to be calm, but do not give in. Shame on her.

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