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Mom Says Wife Is to Blame for Son's Filthy Apartment

DEAR ABBY: I am very concerned for my henpecked son who is expecting his first child. He works long hours (50-plus a week) at a low-paying job with an hour commute. His wife works part-time (10 hours a week). The problem is, their tiny apartment is a pigsty, and she doesn't clean or pick up. She expects him to do it all, and he tries to, while she reads and makes baby quilts.

How do I tactfully get her to do her share now, before the baby comes and she expects my son to "help her" even more? He is totally overburdened, stressed out, but seemingly happy. Until I saw the condition of their apartment I had suspected it was bad, but had no idea how bad the situation really was. -- DESPAIRING MOM IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR DESPAIRING MOM: Not knowing your daughter-in-law, I can't judge whether she is lazy, or whether the reason she isn't doing more around the apartment is pregnancy-related. You say your son is happy. Be grateful for that. Rather than "tactfully getting her to do her share," why not volunteer to help them until your grandchild is on a regular sleep schedule? It would make you appear to be an angel instead of critical, and bring the three of you a lot closer than you appear to be. However, if your offer is refused, then accept that this is how your son and daughter-in-law prefer to live.

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