Dear Annie: My husband has a small family, and his mom is single. My husband and I have two children in elementary school. My husband and I both hope to move to a bigger home soon.
My mother-in-law is very nice, and we get along well. She is always willing to help out. She recently retired, and she continues to make comments to me about how she could sell her home and move in. She only makes those comments when my husband is not around.
We see her once or twice a week. My husband and I are both fully capable and take good care of our children. I do appreciate all she has done, and I do love her, but at times I feel she oversteps the boundaries. Occasionally, she makes comments that can lead to hurt feelings.
I do feel that, at times, she creates an atmosphere in which our rules are ignored. For instance, when Grandma is here and we happen to discipline the children, she says, “Oh, it’s fine.”
I do not want her to live with us, and my husband says that I should just ignore her.
How can I be honest and tell her that she will not live with us without offending her?
If my comments are not worded correctly, I am concerned she would no longer speak with us for some time, as that happened once before, and it was difficult on my husband. – Feeling Like a Chicken
Dear Feeling Like a Chicken: It sounds like your mother-in-law might be lonely. That doesn’t make it your responsibility to have her move in with your family. When she suggests that she move in with you, tell her in a gentle way – but in plain language – that you and your husband have discussed this, and neither of you think it would be a good idea.
If this creates problems, you and your husband should sit down with her and tell her that you love her and appreciate her and want to be close – but that living together is out of the question.
Dear Annie: This is a reply to the letter you ran from “In a Quandary,” the person whose friend said that her brother was to sell her condominium after her death and donate the proceeds to a charity she had chosen. The brother is renting out the condo instead.
There is a possible remedy. In probate proceedings, wills are filed as part of the process and become public documents.
The writer, “In a Quandary,” could look up the will and see if the sale was directed. If so, the problem would then become going to court to sue the executor. But maybe a polite hint of a lawsuit may work.
If she feels strongly, then filing a suit is the alternative, even if she has to forget about the friendship she has with her deceased friend’s brother.
Keep up the good work. – A Fan From Spokane
Dear Spokane: Thank you for your suggestion. Obviously, if there is a will, that would open up all sorts of possibilities, and you have identified two viable options – the threat of legal action or actually filing a lawsuit. Also, if there is a will, she will be able to find out the charity that “Quandary” is seeking. She wrote that her friend told her the name, but, understandably, with so much going on at the time of her friend’s death, she can’t remember which charity it was.
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