Dear Annie: Last summer, I gave birth to twins who were several weeks early. Throughout the time they were in the hospital, we had family support.
My husband and I made the decision that for the first day home, we’d have no visitors. This enraged my mother. She felt we stole away her joy of being a grandma and that we were very rude. Since that day, I’ve received letters and emails stating just what she thinks of me. In fact, many family members have turned their backs on us due to the situation.
I’ve made attempts to fix things, but it only gets worse. This has been going on since August. What should I do?
— Mom of Twins
Dear Mom: Your family is incredibly nervy to expect parents of newborn twins to want family members in their home the first day out of the hospital. While we trust you thanked them for their earlier support, once you were home, you needed time to adjust. You asked for one day, and they resented it.
Your mother sounds like the type who could undermine your authority as a parent, so hang tough. Tell her that you and your husband needed a day to recuperate and some quiet time as a family, and you hoped they would respect that. Add that they are welcome to visit, provided they can stop insulting you and creating a negative environment for the children. The rest is up to them.
Dear Annie: We are retired and consider ourselves to be hospitable. We maintain a guest bedroom, as well as two sofa beds for overnight guests. In addition, we host friends and families for meals, especially around the holidays.
My wife struggles with seasonal allergies, as well as an allergy to animal dander, and so we try to limit her exposure. She has undergone allergy shots and uses two prescription nasal sprays. She can tolerate short visits with pets if she has plenty of tissues.
Recently, we hosted overnight stays of our adult children and their families, as well as our siblings. We told them their pets were welcome, but the animals would have to sleep in the laundry room on the lower level. Unfortunately, these guests said they couldn’t sleep without having their pets next to their beds and insisted on bringing them to the upper floors.
It’s been two weeks since the last guests left, and my wife still has a cough from the build up of her pet allergies. We had to purchase a new blanket for one of the sofa beds because a guest dog slept on it. Every time we vacuum the carpet, it brings up the dander.
We want our family members to feel welcome, but how can we get them to comply with the boundaries we set? Do we have to pay for them to stay at a hotel or board their pets?
Dear Help: No, but you need to be more assertive about enforcing your boundaries. Tell the family that you love having them, but your wife’s allergies make it impossible for the dogs to stay anywhere but the laundry room at night. If they cannot abide by that simple request, you will be happy to recommend nearby pet-friendly hotels and boarding kennels.
Dear Annie: I’d like to address your senior driving respondent from Salem, Mass: So you are the one driving too slowly with his foot on the brake You’re impeding the flow of traffic. Worse yet, if your foot is always on the brake, then your brake lights are always on. So how am I supposed to know when you’re actually stopping?
It is time for you to turn in your car keys. Not because you’re 93, but because you’re a bad driver.
— Baton Rouge, La.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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