DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Whenever my mother comes for a visit she starts cleaning and it drives my wife bats--t. I really believe Mom only wants to help, and tries to do the kind of cleaning it’s hard for me and my wife to get to between work, taking classes, and two toddlers.
I have no problem with Mom helping out, and if I say anything like that to my wife, she thinks I’m siding with my mother in judging her housekeeping. My wife is one of the least lazy people I know, and I always tell her that, but once Mom’s around, it doesn’t matter what I say.
I feel caught in the middle and like it’s up to me to make peace before Mom’s next visit. Who do I work with more to make this happen, my mother or my wife? --- CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE
DEAR CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: A word with both women might be your best bet.
You could remind your wife that your mother is truly just trying to help, not judge. Experienced parents usually recall how hard it was when their kids were little, and they were trying to stay on top of busy lives.
With your mother, perhaps you could let her know how your wife feels, and that the better approach might be for her to ask your wife what she’d like tackled on a particular visit. If the answer is not a thing, then encourage Mom to make the most of being with her grandkids and the rest of the family and leave the housework to you and your wife.