DEAR ABBY: I recently moved back home to help take care of my mom. We get along well, but there's one major issue. She has to care for my brother's four kids every day and is pretty much raising them. Because they are loud, whiny, rude and demanding, my mother snaps and yells at them constantly. It makes life miserable for everyone.
My brother refuses to accept the fact that he's taking advantage of our mom financially and emotionally. He has plenty to say about me moving back home, though, even though I help to pay bills and contribute. Never once has he offered to make a dent in the huge grocery bill his children ring up, and he complains about how much gas Mom uses toting them to the half-dozen or so programs he has them in.
I have PTSD, and the situation is taking its toll on me to the point that I can no longer be around the kids or my mom. Is there anything I can do? Or must I just accept that this is how life will be if I choose to stay home? -- TAKING A TOLL IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR TAKING A TOLL: Have a talk with your mother about her short fuse with the grandchildren, and figure out why it's happening. If she is so stressed or sick that she can't manage them, correct them and give them positive reinforcement, they should not be under her supervision.
Your brother should not expect his mother to foot the bill for feeding and transporting them. If your mother can't make him understand that, then the two of you should make clear that if he doesn't pony up, his children will have to go to day care rather than Grandma's.
And last, because this unpleasant family dynamic is taking a toll on you, you must decide if you want to remain in that household under those conditions, or if coming home to take care of your mother was a mistake you should rectify.