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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Who Craves Empty Nest Hesitates to Force Child to Fly

DEAR ABBY: My mother, who is 66, wants to live with us. I am married with a 16-year-old and a 5-year-old. My mother stayed with us once before, rent-free for eight months, and frankly, she was a real pain to live with.

For one thing, she is always moping. And she says she can't handle my 5-year-old, who is slightly developmentally disabled. On top of that, we are cramped here already. We want to say no to her, but feel we would be deserting her.

She doesn't have a lot of money, but she is healthy and can live on her own. She thinks it is cheaper to stay with us, but it costs us more than she realizes. My husband and I can't even enjoy our fireplace on a night when the little one is in bed and the teen is away, if you know what I mean.

Help, Abby! What do I do? -- FRUSTRATED INDIANA DAUGHTER

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Tell your mother exactly what you have told me. If she's depressed, she should be discussing it with her doctor and getting professional help. Stand firm that you and your family need your privacy. Your mother is not in ill health, and it's presumptuous for her to expect you to take care of her. If she wants to share living expenses, it would be better for all concerned for her to do so with a contemporary.