Dear Annie: Due to financial difficulties, my husband, children and I moved into my mother's house a year ago. Mom owns the place, but when we moved in, she decided to live full time in the condo she also owns. We pay the bills to keep the house running and do maintenance as needed.
Here is the issue: Mom, who lived in this house for over 20 years, still has a key and stops by every day. She walks in without knocking and starts talking as if we have nothing else to do. She interrupts conversations between my husband and me or prevents me from working on important papers.How do I get Mom to see that she doesn't live here anymore and needs to respect our privacy? It is just rude and tactless. Married Daughter
Dear Daughter: Mom still considers this to be her house, not yours, and she feels perfectly comfortable and justified dropping by whenever she chooses. Talk to her in a loving way and explain that you're sure she doesn't mean to intrude on your privacy, but the constant unannounced visits are creating some resentment and the worry that she might walk in at a particularly inopportune moment. She's a landlord now, not a tenant. Ask her to please call first or, at the very least, knock before entering the house. If she refuses, we recommend installing a new deadbolt or even a simple chain. Tell her it's for safety purposes. Although she will still be welcome, you'll have a few minutes to put yourself together before opening the door.
Dear Annie: My wife and I have three children, only one of whom lives at home. The older two live in other parts of the country, are not married and will be traveling home for an upcoming family event. We will also be hosting two of their aunts and uncles, who are visiting from the West Coast for the same event.Who should get the bedrooms? We don't have a guest room because my elderly mother-in-law lives with us, along with her aide. There are some pullout couches and sleeping bags, which the kids usually use. My wife thinks the children should be able to have their former rooms when they are home. I believe it is more polite to offer the bedrooms to the visiting, married adult guests. Should the married couples have the bedrooms, or should they go to the single, young adults? John in Cincinnati
Dear John: We admire your hospitality. Those rooms that are regularly occupied (yours, your youngest child's, your mother-in-law's) should be left alone. All other bedrooms are "guest rooms." It makes more sense for the older married couples to get private rooms and not have to sleep on pullout sofas or sleeping bags in common areas of the house. Your wife may fear that if she makes things less accommodating for your older children, they won't come home as often, but we suspect the kids will come anyway.
Dear Abby: The letter from "Sad Mom," whose son-in-law is using steroids, hit home. I was married for 18 years to a highly respected man who used drugs. When we separated, my family was furious and our friends and his colleagues "couldn't understand." None of them had any idea what it was like living with someone who is hiding drug use.
As long as a drug user continues to hold on to his job and appears to be a great "family man," people can be swayed into believing drugs are not affecting those around him. But I could not take the fear, mistrust and emotional abuse I had to endure.The mother who wrote you should support her daughter for having the courage to separate herself from a husband who abuses his body and their relationship with steroids. California
Dear California: We agree that until you have walked in the other person's shoes, it is difficult to understand the misery of living with an addict.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.