Thursday, January 09, 2014
We had an embarrassing moment during the holidays . My mother-in-law made horrible comments to a family member, her son's wife. She made fun about her weight to her face. It was ridiculously rude . To be honest, my sister-in-law has gained a lot of weight over the years. She is huge, but who are we to judge her ? My mother-in-law talked about how big her butt is and how she really could use two chairs. It was awful . When her son (the woman in question's husband) asked her to stop, she just got louder. She can be kind of crass, but this was awful. How can we get my mother-in-law to chill out ?
Dear Beyond Embarrassed
Sadly, many families have one person who can be crude and rude. People who don't naturally have a filter to keep them from saying certain things can prove to be hurtful on a regular basis . This is because they usually do not realize how their comments are affecting others .
What one of you may be able to do is talk to her privately, recount what she has said that was hurtful and ask her directly to curb such comments . Ask her if she intends to hurt this woman . Chances are the answer is no . If she acknowledges that this is not her intention, you may be able to impress upon her that making such comments about this woman's body is hurtful , regardless of what she meant by saying it . Perhaps her son can ask her to stop .
A new friend of mine is going on a cruise soon, and she asked her friends to make contributions to her trip so that she would have enough money . She asked us to do this instead of giving her a birthday present . I didn't like that at all . I don't usually give a birthday present to her. or to other adults, for that matter. I give only to the children in my family . Whenever I have given her anything for her birthday, it would be a token of our friendship, costing only a few dollars . I chose not to contribute to her trip . I did send her a birthday card as I always do . But I feel weird about it .
She even called and asked if I was going to give her a contribution for her trip . I didn't respond . What should I say ?
Stop the Shakedown
Dear Stop the Shakedown ,
Tell your friend the truth, namely, that you only give gifts to the children in your life but not to adults . Wish her a wonderful trip as you make it clear that you have followed your gift giving plan, which is to give cards to all and gifts to the young ones .
Dear Maxy ,
I have been widowed for 19 years and belong to a support group of women who go out once a month .
Before I married my late husband, I was an independent businesswoman, who cared for an elderly parent, paid my own bills, pumped my own gas, bought my own cars, etc .
I was surprised to learn how few of the women in my group know how to do any of these things . They have no clue what their family finances are . One of them had to learn how to drive when her husband died .
Please, please, please tell wives (and husbands) to take responsibility for themselves while their spouses are still living and learn what their financial obligations are, when their bills are due, how to pump gas and all the other things you will need to know in order to be independent . It is hard enough to transition from married ife to widowhood without having to learn basic life skills at the same time .
Dear Kentucky ,
Thank you for the knock on the head . Along with financial matters and pumping gas, both men and women should know how to cook a simple meal, sew a button, iron a shirt, load the dishwasher and do laundry . These are skills that everyone needs and it is shortsighted to assume that someone else will handle them for you for the rest of your life .