Dear Annie: My daughter, “Elizabeth,” is a professional who is married to an older man. I’ll call him “Jacob.” They have two children.
Elizabeth recently was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is going through intense chemotherapy. Early in her treatment, Jacob used to help a lot around the house with laundry and meals, and took care of the kids. But she is halfway through her treatments, and although Jacob still looks after her and the children, he expects her to do a lot more around the house.
This aggravates me. Elizabeth never demands that Jacob help more. I had an argument with him over it. On the day of one of her treatments, I reminded him to be home in time to pick up the oldest child from school. He replied, “I will see when I will be finished at my mother’s.” I told him that on the day of the chemo, he cannot leave his wife alone with two children, supper and homework time. It is very tiring for her. He said he does not need to be reminded. Then we got into an argument, and he said we do not love him, we only do things for our daughter, and we are lucky he does not close the door in our faces.
How do we handle this? – Distraught Mother
Dear Distraught: We know you want Jacob to take over all of these chores, and we agree that he should do more on the days when Elizabeth has her chemo. But try to be more compassionate. Jacob is going through a difficult period, too, and also needs a break.
Please do what you can for your daughter’s family. It is a great help when you can cook a meal or take the kids. If you can afford to hire someone to assist on the days when Elizabeth has a chemo treatment, that would be an amazing gift. Otherwise, please back off a bit. You are not helping yourself or your daughter by getting into fights with her husband and adding stress to her life.