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Dear Annie: My mother-in-law moving in with us is a no-go

Annie Lane

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 in the near future.

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 with us to “help out.” 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 when she makes those comments.

How can I be honest and tell her that she will not live with us without offending her?

She does have a stubborn streak, and 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 hard 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.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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