DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 32 years. His mother, "Lois," usually comes to visit for a few days once a year, but this time she wants to stay for a month.
My husband works from home and deals with numerous clients. We are also a foster family who takes in medically fragile children. Their care and medical appointments keep me very busy, plus I have them involved in community programs.
Our household presently consists of an 11-year-old foster son and an 11-year-old with special needs whom we adopted. Our adult son also lives with us.
During previous visits when Lois has been with us for as long as a month, she literally cries and whines when my husband and I can't spend what she thinks is enough time with her.
We do try to do special things as a family and, of course, make an effort to involve Lois. She does nothing but complain. When we got pricey third-row seats to the musical "Beauty and the Beast," her complaint was that the seats were not in the center.
Last Christmas she stayed for a month, even though we asked her not to. One night my husband and I got a sitter so we could go out for dinner. We needed some time alone.
When we got home, Lois was furious. My husband tried to explain that married people need a little time to themselves once in a while, and we meant her no disrespect.
Well, yesterday on the phone she rehashed the whole thing again. Lois insists that houseguests should never be left alone -- even when they stay for a month.
Abby, what do you think about this? My mother-in-law needs to hear it from someone else. -- CRAVING TIME TO OURSELVES, MIDWAY CITY, CALIF.
DEAR CRAVING TIME: If your mother-in-law plans to stay in your city for a month, she should make reservations at a nearby hotel or motel. For her to impose upon you and your husband and demand that you disrupt your schedule for her -- knowing it's a hardship -- is unconscionable.
There's an old saying that after three days, fish and houseguests go bad. Your mother-in-law's behavior proves how true it is.