DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been caring for my mother-in-law for 11 years now. Her daughter does not want the job, but I have been doing this because I believe she would not have lasted long in a nursing home.
My mother-in-law will be 96 in March. Her doctor has issued her a bill of good health, and she can easily live into her hundreds.
Is it impolite of me to dislike my sister-in-law for her lack of involvement with the care of her own mother? I really am developing a strong dislike for her selfishness. Is this normal? What is a proper way to express my feelings politely?
GENTLE READER: Etiquette does not dictate how one should feel, only how one should behave. But Miss Manners has made a career out of expressing the former through clever use of the latter.
While outwardly expressing your feelings to your sister-in-law would only escalate hostility (although if your husband is her brother, you might suggest that he do it), you could attempt to alleviate the logistics of the situation by enlisting her help for specific tasks -- a lot of them. The constant requests might make it easier for her to just to initiate participation. At best, you will get some help. At worst, you will have a productive outlet for your frustration.