DEAR ABBY: I need some advice. My daughter, her husband and three girls moved into my home when my husband was ill five years ago. They were a big help to me when my husband was terminally ill with cancer. My son-in-law was always there during the night when I needed him. We get along well. He takes care of repairs and I have a free mind. I have my part of the house; they have theirs. They also help with all of the expenses.
My problem is his family -- especially his mother. I never had a mother-in-law. My husband's mother died before I knew him. Every time my son-in-law's mother comes here, she has to criticize something or complain about something. I'm ready to scream. This is my home, and I'm capable of making my own decisions. I may be 80 years old, but I still do volunteer work and keep up on all the local and world news. Reading is my hobby.
I try to deal with the criticism by being thankful for what I have. I have my health, my own home, and I'm still able to handle important things.
Every time I see her coming into the yard I feel like screaming. Other members of the family feel the same way. Abby, can you help me? His family takes over every weekend. I have a beautiful deck, but I don't use it when they're here. -- TRAPPED AT HOME
DEAR TRAPPED: There's no reason why you should have to feel trapped in your own home. You are all adults. It's time for a frank talk with your daughter, your son-in-law and his mother about how her criticism and complaints make you feel. From your description, she has been thoughtless and tactless.
You should be able to enjoy quiet time at home on some weekends if you wish. However, unless you speak up, no one will know how you feel. Please don't be shy or wait to clear the air. If you're "ready to scream," I'd say you're long overdue.