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Secret Keeper Dear Annie: My only sibling has stopped speaking to me. My brother had a son 26 years ago. He claims he knew nothing about the child until I told him six months ago that he should take responsibility for his oldest son. We had words, and he texted …Read more. Inappropriate Roughhousing Dear Annie: My girlfriend has a thing that she does with her 10-year-old son that I find borderline weird. The first time I was at her home, while we were cooking dinner together, her son started whining, "Can we do it now, please? Please?" and she …Read more. Reliving High School Through Facebook Dear Annie: While in high school in the late 1970s, there was this guy, "Scott," who had a crush on me. Nothing transpired back then, so fast-forward 30 years. A month ago, I received a Facebook friend request from Scott. Of course, I accepted and …Read more. Never-Ending Bullying Dear Annie: I am the youngest sister of 10 siblings. Over the years, five siblings have died. You'd think we would try to be closer after such awful losses. So when does the bullying stop? I have tried to be an upstanding sister and aunt, but no …Read more.
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Drowning in the Needs of Others


Dear Annie: I am 24 and have four small children under age 10. My mother was in a car accident last fall that left her paralyzed from the chest down, and she now lives with us. With hardly any help from my older sister, I struggle every day trying to take care of everyone's needs.

Mom screams at me and makes the smallest of things seem like the end of the world. I don't want to see her in a nursing home, but I cannot do this 24/7. I'm losing my mind and my life. My kids don't want to be around me, and my oldest son's grades are declining.

Do I keep going, hoping things will get better? Or do I break the news to my mom that I love her dearly but can't take care of her? — A.

Dear A.: You sound like a wonderful, caring daughter, but Mom is probably depressed and angry, and is taking it out on you. There are limits to what you can reasonably do for her without sacrificing the well-being of your children. Please don't feel guilty. Your mother needs more help than you can give her. She not only requires round-the-clock physical care, but also would benefit from counseling to deal with her other issues and come to terms with her current situation.

Please look into home-health care options, including a full-time caregiver (perhaps your sister would contribute to the cost), as well as nearby nursing homes. Most do an excellent job, and you can visit Mom every day, not only to cheer her up, but also to check on her care. Then please get some counseling for yourself in order to get through this, because we doubt Mom is going to make it easy.

Dear Annie: Is it OK to ask my 80-year-old parents whether they will leave any inheritance for my siblings and me? I'm not looking to spend it. But getting an answer will help with our future retirement planning. Of course, as with most families, there are all kinds of additional "wonderful" dynamics at work that complicate asking.

What is your stance on this? — Wondering

Dear Wondering: Children should never assume there is an inheritance to receive. Plan your retirement according to what you can manage on your own. You can, however, discuss your parents' plans for their future care, asking whether they have a health care power of attorney, a will, any wishes for their funeral, etc. These are important things that ought to be arranged while your parents are capable of doing so. However, if they resist discussing end-of-life issues, please leave it alone.

Dear Annie: I teach treatment of sexual dysfunction at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. You correctly identify low testosterone as an important cause of loss of desire. However, I have found in many cases that the cause is simple boredom with a wife's participation.

Men and women both require an average of 12 minutes of foreplay to reach full arousal. A wife who takes turns providing pleasure should find her partner more eager for sex. Men respond to action far more than words. When there is an expectation of prolonged mutual pleasuring, it creates a lovely aura of arousal long before the clothes come off.

Please remind women that a man is aroused by the sight of his wife's naked body not because she's a supermodel, but because her body is only shown to him. Mood lighting can help. A semi-closed dressing gown or the sight of her in one of his not-quite-long-enough shirts can be a powerful visual stimulant to a man who sees offering sex as the most powerful statement of love and caring.

You do great good by helping women understand that men will never behave or understand them the way a girlfriend does. We men really are different and often are unable to express our needs clearly. — D.B. M.D. Loma Linda, Calif.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



94 Comments | Post Comment
LW1: For some reason, advice columnists never seem to think of mentioning that the disabled mother is probably eligible for disability benefits and other assistance that LW1 can easily find out about and apply for. It's crazy for her not to look into the home care or other possibilities that she probably has available. She's making herself nuts for no good reason.
Comment: #1
Posted by: LouisaFinnell
Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:18 PM
LW1 - tell your mom you love her but can't take care of her. Don't argue, don't negotiate, don't give in to her promises to be different. She will never be different enough to make it easy enough for you to take care of your kids, yourself, your spouse, and your mom. It isn't her fault, but she needs to be somewhere else. Find a facility, even a nursing home, that will take her. I know you feel awful but this is best for all, esp your kids who should be your highest priority, and even for your mom, who needs help you can't give her.
LW2 - 1) it is NOT okay to ask your parents how much they're going to leave you because it reminds them that they're going to die and that you're looking forward to seeing how that benefits you. 2) Don't lie in a letter to an advice columnist. "I'm not looking to spend it." Yeah, right, you were going to frame the check & hang it on the wall. 3) Plan on receiving nothing from your parents. It's no longer their job to support you, and by the way, you should have had your retirement planned long before this point. Keep in mind that your parents might have less than a decade to live but many people find that an expensive decade, what with health care costs & nursing homes & that sort of thing. Your parents might tell you they're leaving you $X but then spend it on unplanned expenses of their own so you end up inheriting nothing. Plan on nothing. It's the safest course.
Comment: #2
Posted by: kai archie
Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:20 PM
Not fair of the Annies to give LW1 just a hint of support served with another guilt trip for her to live with - "and you can visit Mom every day, not only to cheer her up, but also to check on her care." Does anyone really think it's realistic for a mom of four children under ten to visit every day to ensure her mom's mental health is o.k., plus monitor her care in person every day? She needs to find a good facility for her mom, apply for disability benefits and any other financial assistance available and then keep in touch with the staff by phone and email and visit when she can. If I were disabled in an accident I would not want my daughter to sacrifice the rest of her life and the well being of my grandchildren to take care of me. She and the kids (and maybe the sister) may be able to video hat with grandma with staff assistance.
Comment: #3
Posted by:
Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:09 PM
LW2 - true story from my (extended) family:

My younger sister is married to a man whose parents passed away recently. Before they died they made their wills, and told K. and her husband they would receive 1/4th of the estate. K. and her husband saw this as a blessing and knew they could count on it, so they planned accordingly. Big mistake, as it turned out.

"Dad"'s wife passed away first. "Dad" lived two years longer. His last year and a half were spent in a nursing home. His personal financial resources quickly ran dry, so the money for his care came out of Medicaid.

This meant that when he died, Medicaid came after his estate (i.e., the home he had lived in). K. and her husband were expecting to receive about $75,000 when the home sold (their share according to the will), but received literally nothing. All of the money in the estate went to reimburse Medicaid for Dad's nursing home bills. (People sometimes don't realize it... I didn't, before this... but Medicaid is not like Medicare. It is not "free." It is billed to the person's estate after they die, and comes out of the pockets of their heirs.)

The point being, even if your elderly parents are planning on leaving you some money, it may not happen. "The best laid plans..." I would follow the Annies' advice on this one and plan for nothing. If you receive something you'll have cause to be grateful and pleasantly surprised. But if you "count" on an inheritance and it doesn't come through, you may find yourself in dire financial straits, if you've pre-spent the money or counted on it to help pay some bills, then it isn't there.
Comment: #4
Posted by: sarah morrow
Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:39 PM
LW1 - You can't care for your disabled mother and 4 small children all on your own. As for your mother, she sounds like she is depressed and angry and, while i'm not condoning her behavior, I'd have to say that I would be, too, if that happened to me. I agree with the others here who said you need to look into disability benefits for your mother. I'm sure she's eligable for them. And you also need to look into a facility that will help her. She needs 24 hour care and you just can't give that to her. Not with 4 small children. It's for her best interest.

LW2 - To me, asking your parents if you're getting any inheritence is the same as asking, "So how much money am I getting after you die?" Not a polite question. And like another poster on here said, no money is guaranteed to you. Something could happen and you could wind up getting nothing from the estate. Plan for your retirement as if no money is coming to you and, if it does, it's a bonus.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Michelle
Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:49 AM
LW1: OK, I'm going to say the obvious here. 4 children under 10 and your 24?? Along with looking into assistance for your mother's care, will you please look into birth control options?

There is no mention in your letter of a husband or boyfriend, but I certainly hope that you are receiving help, financially, emotionally and physically, with taking care of those four children. Even WITHOUT the mother being paralyzed, you have lot on your plate and I would be surprised if you aren't exhausted with just the four kids!

The other posters have given you some great advice for your mother, not much to add there.

LW2: As Michelle said, it's not very polite to ask if you're going to inherit anything. Plan for nothing. Be grateful if you get anything: as I've said many times, the best inheritance is your DNA.

LW3: I'm glad the Annies published this letter, I guess. I think the LW brings up a good point about EFFORT. What he misses though, is the desire to make that effort. Many of the letters we see come from people who just flat out don't seem to care anymore and that, IMO is the real issue.
Comment: #6
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:28 AM
LW2. "Best laid plans" do indeed backfire. My father-in-law assumed he would die first, so he put the house in Mother's name. Mother in turn left all she owned to her divorced daughter,Pat. Mother died first, so Pat now owned the house that Dad had bought and was living in. Pat moved herself and seven children in with Dad, telling him he was welcome to live there. Poor guy was losing his mind with all those kids and a bossy daughter. He begged to move in with us and to turn our garage into a Father-in-law apartment at his expense.
Be careful how you word your wills!
Comment: #7
Posted by: sarah stravinska
Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:33 AM
Is anyone else here getting the sense that there's so much more to LW1s story? Mom has likely ALWAYS been verbally abusive, which is why LW1 was so willing to hop into bed with the first sweet cookie willing to show her some affection. No wonder 4 kids at the age of 24.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Anna R.
Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:50 AM
Agree 100% with nanchan's comment to LW1.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Marriedgal
Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:11 AM
Agree with Nanchan, regarding LW 1. I thought I had misread the first letter when she said she was a 24-yr-old mother of 4. Please, look into birth control for yourself. For your mother, since you say she's paralyzed from the waist down, I assume she cannot work? If that's the case, you might look into state assistance. You can't do this alone, and she needs more help than you are able to provide. You say you have a sister; what about your dad? Is he around? If so, could he maybe work with you to find care for your mother?
Comment: #10
Posted by: Emily
Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:44 AM
Annie, you were spot on with the advice for "Wondering". She should plan her own retirement. My dad proudly saved over 500K for my family to share after his death. Well, guess what it is all gone paying for top notch care for him in a nursing home and my mother in an altzheimer care facilty. I do not care about the money, I care that they received the best care we could get. As for the the lady taking care of her paralyed mother- i had my parents living with me from the onset of their decline. you just can not do it. Leave it to the professionals when a parent needs 24 hour care.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Janet
Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:56 AM
LW1 -
"My kids don't want to be around me, and my oldest son's grades are declining."
That does it. Your children's needs should come before your mom's. Right now they're suffering, as well as their relationship with you, and if their grades are affected, their needs are not being met.

Your mother is probably depressed and angry at what happened to her, and frustrated by the loss of her independence. That doesn't excuse the verbal abuse and the inordinate demands, especially at the expense of children she should care about more than that.

"Do I keep going, hoping things will get better?"
Things will not get better, they will get worse and worse, as your mother ages and becomes even more dependent (and angry), your children drift further away from you and possibly get into trouble, and YOU get more and more tired.

"Or do I break the news to my mom that I love her dearly but can't take care of her? "
That's exactly what you urgently need to do. Having four young children at your age is challenging enough, you can't add an elderly paraplegic on top of that, and certainly not an abusive one. Honey dear, what would happen to both your children and your mother if you fell ill and became incapable of caring for ANYONE? Well-ordained charity starts at home, and this means is that if you don't take care of yourself, then you have nothing to give!

Start investigating nursing homes and long-term care facilities before that happens. It might have been possible for you to deal if, right from the beginning, you had sought and gotten help from social services (if available in your neck of the wood), and if your mother was reasonably well-behaved. But not if she yells at you and acts like everything is about her - verbal abuse and extreme demands sap your energy, and you need every drop of yours, especially considering what else is on your plate. That's why your children are being short-changed right now, as there isn't enough of you to go around.

You don't state the reasons why your sister hardly helps, and there can be good ones and bad ones. It's too late for enlisting help now from anyone anyway, and so don't waste energy you don't have trying to make your sister get more involved - I can tell from the tone of your letter that you're close to exhaustion. Start looking into permanent placement for your mother and don't delay. Don't wait until you fall sick, or are so exhausted that you injure yourself trying to lift your mother out of the wheelchair or the tub. Your welfare and that of your children are in grave danger right now.

@kai archie
If a spouse was around, mention of how this situation impacts him would be mentioned. It isn't, so I assume she's a single parent. The accident only happened last fall. She wouldn't be at the end of her rope so soon is she wasn't trying to cope all alone with this impossible task.

She is not asking help on how to cope with her children (financially, educationally, emotionally etc). We're not seeing any complaints about discipline, financial situation or anything else related to the kids in there, except for the fall-out from the disabled mother living with them. I feel she will do quite well once the screechy, overly-demanding wheelchair-bound mother is removed from the picture. Until she does ask for help about her brood, her sex life and life choices are none of anyone's business.

@Anna R
There is ALWAYS more to the letters... It is indeed probable that the mother may always have been verbally abusive, but whether or not that's the case isn't relevant in the sense that it doesn't change the nature of the present problem, the LW's question, nor the answer to it.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:09 AM
Annie, you were spot on with the advice for "Wondering". She should plan her own retirement. My dad proudly saved over 500K for my family to share after his death. Well, guess what it is all gone paying for top notch care for him in a nursing home and my mother in an altzheimer care facilty. I do not care about the money, I care that they received the best care we could get. As for the the lady taking care of her paralyed mother- i had my parents living with me from the onset of their decline. you just can not do it. Leave it to the professionals when a parent needs 24 hour care.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Janet
Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:23 AM
4 kids under 10 at 24? Without going into the math I'll go with + or - 15 when she had the first. Then continuing with 3 more. Now I'm just guessing here that she didn't marry either a rich or poor man. No mention of a husband which would certainly have brought in another opinion. Taking care of 4 kids and a disabled mom I can't see that she can be working outside home so add to all the rest of the mess that she is on public assistance. LW's mom must be getting financial help from either the government or insurance. She may depend on this income for living expenses. Since the LW also didn't specificly mention money (unless it was edited out) only help from older sister, appears that she is just overwhelmed. Mom could certainly be in her late 30's early 40's and live for 50 years more. Time to put Mom in a care facility, get a GED or some education, look for a job and move on. All very easy to say but can't be any harder than what she is doing now. I'm also guessing that mom wasn't the best mother perhaps why sis won't help.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Penny
Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:35 AM
Re: nanchan
Glad someone else said it before I did about LW1 being in desperate need of birth control! Oy VEY!
I agree that 4 kids plus a bitter, angry (justifiably) mother is simply too much. Definitely take advantage of the resources available and get some help. Don't depend on your sister, because it sounds like she really doesn't want to be bothered, but do what you can to either get her into a nursing facility, assisted living facility or a home health worker.
LW2: I'm also someone who would also not depend on getting anything from your parents' estate, especially with the high cost of skilled nursing facilities. Unless they have long-term care insurance (which is a relatively new product), chances are, they will need to be on Medicaid for at least a portion of their stay, since Medicare Part A only covers the first 100 days of a stay at such a facility, plus it's subject to a deductible. Granted, it depends on the state, but chances are that all assets will have to be liquidated and spent on the parent's care before Medicaid will kick in.
So if you can, max out your contributions to your 401(k)/403(b) as well as your IRA. If you have extra cash that you want to put away for retirement, a variable annuity may be a good investment as well, since the earnings and dividends are tax deferred, then taxed at ordinary income rates when they are withdrawn. Handle your own retirement and keep your mouth shut.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Janie
Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:35 AM
Dear Annie I was reading the cry for help that the young lady need with her mother and I know just how she feels I am a healthcare aide have been one for 20 years and I would just like to leave my infomation and maybe I could heip I am registered with the state this is my job I love caring for the sick I presently work for a home health agency in Indiana . This is my calling If someone responds I can give live references and phone numbers of contacts I would love to help.Or maybe she could try a home health care agency her self there are many out there,just make sure that they are registered with the state.and have caring people working for them .I worke for a hospital for 11 years and I ask God to remove me due to the lack of caring people I worked with.All about the money.May u be blessed. A.J.
Comment: #16
Posted by: andrea
Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:50 AM
LW1, first, get your tubes tied. Then, put your mother in a home. A home will provide not only the 24-hour care your mother now needs, but will give her mental, social and intellectual stimulation she needs from being around skilled caregivers and other people who share her situation, and having the opportunity to make some new friends. Your mother is probably screaming because she's bored silly and uncomfortable. There is nothing "bad" or negative about being in a quality home, and many people love it once they get there. Don't just do it for you--do it for her needs, too.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Jane
Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:52 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette

Hey, Lise, the mother of a 24 year old is not likely "elderly". Maybe around my age perhaps? 40s or 50's.

But I agree with the rest of you, this is way too much for any regular person to handle; you gotta admit when something is over your head and this absolutely is. I wish women weren't so bad about going on guilt trips (or trying to send someone on one).

Comment: #18
Posted by: jar8818
Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:58 AM
Re: LW1, I'm a bit surprised that this is turning around into a negative commentary on the young woman's choice to have 4 children! We're not talking Octomom territory, here, and she could have one or two sets of twins, so there's nothing to suggest that she HAD to have started as a young teen, either. Also, she doesn't say anything at all about struggling financially, she doesn't mention a partner or husband at all (although it could have been edited out of her letter because it wasn't really relevant to the problem), so the issue here is that her life was probably working just fine with her and the four children -- it's the *unexpected* situation of also having to deal with her paralyzed AND ungrateful mother that has created the problem. As it likely would have even if she'd had only two kids, to be honest.

Older sister needs to come in for a powwow about long-term care options, and LW1 and older sister need to take equal responsibility for figuring it out.

Re: LW2, I think it's EXTREMELY FOOLISH to predicate your retirement planning on any inheritance. So, if your parents say "yes, you're getting an inheritance", and you plan differently, and then 10 years from now some financial situation happens that wipes your parents out before they die... and now you're screwed as well, because you had 10 years of planning the wrong way because the inheritance you expected didn't materialize?? Dumb.

You make your retirement plans based on what you and your spouse have, and nothing more. Any inheritance is just extra, or a cushion, but it should never be counted on.

Comment: #19
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:58 AM
I think LW1 has enough to worry about without everyone judging her on her personal life. I realize this is a public forum and she chose to write for advice in the first place, but come on.
Comment: #20
Posted by: aimee85
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:22 AM
Re: Mike H, Do the math. 24 year old mom with at least one child struggling in school. That would still make her in her teens when she had the first one. I can't see that people were exceptionally negative towards her. Although I didn't mention birth control I certainly thought it. If you think a 24 year old with 4 children and no husband is doing just fine I'm guessing you do not have 4 children. If the LW reads BTL I can't see that she would be horribly offended by the remarks. Birth control should be #1 on the list of thngs to do. #2 get mom into a facility. #3 get more eduction. TRY to find a job. Nothing negative in those suggestions.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Penny
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:33 AM
I cannot believe the venom that is being spewed at LW1 because she has 4 kids at her age. You wanna make some assumptions? Fine, let's make some in the other direction as well: for all we know, she married at 19 like I did, and started having children right away because her husband and her were getting along great and both wanted them, and then he got killed in Iraq and she is on survivor's benefits.

I don't see ANYTHING IN THERE that makes the scenario of her being an irresponsible bitch in heat and a leech to society any more likely than the one I just outlined. Fair is fair, or it ought to be.
Comment: #22
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:33 AM
There is also no indication that she is NOT presently on birth control, or that she even nas need of it. Anyone with four kids and a paraplegic mother living with her would have other things to do but to run around, I think.

Comment: #23
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:35 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette, There is nothing ugly or demeaning in the posts about the LW. Please reread and point out which ones were negative. And certainly nothing like "irresponsible bitch in heat and a leech to society". Try taking yourself out of this equation.
Comment: #24
Posted by: Penny
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:42 AM
Re: Mike H

She almost certainly started having kids around 14-15. Otherwise she would say "I have 4 kids under the age of 5".

When she says: "With hardly any help from my older sister, I struggle every day trying to take care of everyone's needs." I assumed she was speaking financially, but I suppose she could be referring to her workload. In all likelihood it is both. If she had 2, maybe even 3 kids under the age of 5, I don't know that anyone would say anything. But what with the world population at past 7 billion, what, she really felt she needed to QUADRUPLE herself?
Comment: #25
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:45 AM
You're right that I didn't do the math about her mother. At 24, her mother is likely in between 44 and 50. I'm not going to assume that she was a (hormone-driven, irresponsible, floozy-headed loser with her brains in her parts, yadda yadda yadda) teenage mom like it seems to be assumed the LW was.

To all the people jumping down her throat, I didn't do the math about the mother, but I certainly did it for the LW. She could VERY WELL have 4 kids at her age and not have been a teenage mom. In her specific case, no, because she specifies that her eldest's grades in school are slipping, which means he's at least 6, which makes her a mother at 18. Even if she was a teenage mom, she could also have been a MARRIED one.

I married at 19, was a mother at 21, and LOOKED 14. I remember very well the side looks, sour faces and whispers behind my back from all these gossiping, judgmental sourpusses who ASSUMED that I was indeed 14 and shamefully shacked up without the benefit of God or law with "that hippie". It would be nice if posters here stopped assuming that the LW is some kind of irresponsible skank. If she took her mother in with what else she's got, she's anything but.

Comment: #26
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:49 AM
Re: LW1 - The LW doesn't say how old her mother is, but since she's 24 and has an older sister, I'd say the mother is at least in her 40's. Unless she is much older than that, there are many resources available to her which can help her become a functioning member of society and hold down a job.

My daughter was the victim of a violient crime 10 years ago, and as a result is paralyzed from the waist down. She drives, holds down a job (as a matter of fact she had her own business for some time before she moved to a different state), counseled at a camp for handicapped children, and has been horseback riding, sky diving, kayaking, and rock climbing. She is 41. So, there are many things it's possible for the mother to accomplish if she has proper physical and mental therapy and support. The LW should look into all programs available to the mother in the area in which they live in order to help her become self-sufficient.
Comment: #27
Posted by: Kitty
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:53 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette, You are the ONLY one that is using word like skank and floozy-headed loser. Birth control is not a dirty word (unless you're a republican) and is a logical topic to mention. NO ONE accused her of anything like you suggested. Again, this is not about you or what may have happed to you in the past.
Comment: #28
Posted by: Penny
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:02 AM
Meow! Get our claws sharpened today, did we?
Comment: #29
Posted by: CB
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:06 AM
Today is easy -
LW1 - You actually have no choice. Put her in a care facility. I'm sorry about her situation but she sounds like the Devil Herself anyway

LW2 - Not it's not okay. Even using your flimsy excuse. C'mon. Retirement planning around an inheritance? Laughable.

LW3 - You're a woman. This sounds like something out of Cosmo.
Comment: #30
Posted by: Rick
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:08 AM
Re LW#1-------I fully agree with the posters that say the LW should be checking out getting financial assistance for her mom, with the objective of placing her elsewhere, someplace where she can be taken care of without all of it being dumped on one child.
Don't know about this mom, but it has been my experience that many, many moms dump the guilt thing on their kids---------------the "Don't you ever put me in a nursing home, it would kill me--------Take care of me yourself."
I know my mom fully expects that when the time comes, she will live with one of her kids. She constantly tells all of us how she just could not live in a care facility, and she makes little 'jokes' about which one she will choose, as if that is her perogative. (I guess she will be pretty surprised if she expects it to be me. No way could we get along.)
This is something one should NEVER do to their kids. At some point there may well be a need for a care facility, and to dump all that guilt on your kids is awful.
(Funny thing is, when HER mom could no longer live alone, there was no question of Mom taking her in------she got on the phone and located a place for her. Her reasoning for not taking her in, I know, is that HER mom wasn't a particularly good mom, while SHE is the best mom in the world. Not true in either case, but not something you can argue with her.)
Now, if your aging or ill parent WANTS to live with you, you WANT them to live with you, and you are capable of taking care of them without financially, physically, or emotionally damaging the rest of your life, well and good. But not otherwise.
LW should waste no time in getting her transferred someplace else and getting on with her life and her kids' lives.
Re LW#3----------I am a bit surprised to hear that both men and women need the same amount of time (12 minutes) to become sexually aroused. The common complaint I hear from the women I know is that their husbands/boyfriends are ready more quickly and will not take the time to make sure they are also ready.
And one thing I know he is wrong about----------I know many women whose husbands are the only men who see them naked, and that fact doesn't seem to turn them on when there is a weight problem. My understanding is that many men want someone that only they see naked------but they also prefer that it be a super-model-type body. I'd like to know where these men the LW talks about are, I have many friends that would love to meet them.
Comment: #31
Posted by: jennylee
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:14 AM
Re: Lise

You being married and having one kid at 21 is not the same thing as LW1, regardless of what age you looked at the time. LW1 started having kids likely in her mid-teams and apparently hasn't stopped (unless she had a set of triplets or two sets of twins, which I somehow doubt).

At any rate, it doesn't matter. As Penny said, the only one using offensive words is you. Some others are just saying to get on birth control if she's not already (except for me, who said something tree-huggerish). I think you are projecting your own long-standing anger and insecurities from being poorly treated because of your financial, parental and/or marital situations. But the people BTL are not treating LW1 that way. There is a certain amount of incredulity and "srsly get on the pill" but that's to be expected and since no one was particularly mean about it, I'd let it go.

Re: Rick, re: LW3

I love your response!! I hate that Cosmo crapola.
Comment: #32
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:16 AM
Re: jennylee

I'm with you on LW3. That letter sounds like a mishmash of poor advice snippits from magazines from 30 years ago. I mean, "because her body is only shown to him"... really? I wouldn't take any of that letter too seriously.

Also, I really hate the word "pleasuring". Gross.
Comment: #33
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:19 AM
I just wanted to stop by and say "YAY Lise!". I am pretty danged talented at reading between the lines, but Ifind your posts are clear and easily understood even without all that line/reading dealie. I find you to be compassionate, empathetic and doggone, I like you! ;)

And CB? Why is it that when women (or people with feminine sounding names) are always accused of this "catty" BS? Knock it off, please.

Okay, I will sit back now and wait for the inevitable "You said you were't coming back here!" and "Why don't you mind your own business?" (that one always makes me laugh, as everyone here puts their noses into everyone's bidness until they don't like what they other guy says' "MYOB" seems to be the default state of "SPLUTTER SMACKO PHHTTTTTTTTTBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTT BLURF!!"

Or maybe it's just me.
Comment: #34
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:25 AM
Re LW#1-------I apparently misread this letter. I thought she was asking for advice about whether she should continue to care for her paralyzed mom-------------------not asking for opinions as to whether or not she should have as many kids as she has at her age. I expect she didn't ask that because she did not perceive it to be her problem, or anyone else's business.
I personally don't care as long as she doesn't come to me for financial help. (Yes, I realize she may very well be on welfare or public assistance. As are many people. And perhaps someday the government will do a survey as to whether someone with 4 kids should get help, and if the majority of people say no, that woman and her kids will be left to starve.)
At the present time, though, that's not the case.) So---------she appeared to be fine with her life before her mom showed up, she just wants to know if she is right in getting things back to the way they were before that happened.
Comment: #35
Posted by: jennylee
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:33 AM
Re: Samantha Kimmel

Well, it hadn't occurred to me before you said it, but... You said you were't coming back here! Why don't you mind your own business?
Comment: #36
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:37 AM
Re: Penny
I have to disagree, Penny. People are jumping from the issue LW1 has *with her mother" and are now making it about her having 4 kids. There are some very unfair assumptions being made about her. We don't know her values, religion, culture, marital status, financial status, or anything else outside of the fact that she is losing her mind carrying for 4 young children and a disabled mother.
LW hasn't once mentioned an issue with raising her kids, lack of mention of a husband does not automatically preclude the existence of one, and she doesn't bring up financial issues. Raising 4 kids - even with a supportive spouse - can be a very lively life. Carrying for a disabled person with no children can be very trying - we see letters here about it all the time. Combine the two...and on top of that she is judged by people who don't know anything, really.
Comment: #37
Posted by: kristen
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:37 AM
Re: Samantha Kimmel
Samantha, gotta say, I for one am really glad you changed your mind and came back.

I often disagree with someone's post, but can't think of anyone's that I don't enjoy reading just to see the different points of view (except for people like John Dung and his ilk, who I try to ignore. He seems to be a super-unhappy person who lives to bitch.)
Comment: #38
Posted by: jennylee
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:37 AM
I just wanted to stop by and say "YAY Lise!". I am pretty danged talented at reading between the lines, but Ifind your posts are clear and easily understood even without all that line/reading dealie. I find you to be compassionate, empathetic and doggone, I like you! ;)
And CB? Why is it that when women (or people with feminine sounding names) are always accused of this "catty" BS? Knock it off, please.
Okay, I will sit back now and wait for the inevitable "You said you were't coming back here!" and "Why don't you mind your own business?" (that one always makes me laugh, as everyone here puts their noses into everyone's bidness until they don't like what they other guy says' "MYOB" seems to be the default state of "SPLUTTER SMACKO PHHTTTTTTTTTBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTT BLURF!!"
Or maybe it's just me.
Comment: #39
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:51 AM
My dad has been taking me to baseball games since I was a little kid. I've already let him know that the only thing I really want to inherit from him are the scorecards he so meticulously kept, handwritten in pencil (that I occasionally helped with when he needed a restroom break) for every game. Anything else would be gravy.
Comment: #40
Posted by: Paul W
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:51 AM
LW1- If your mother is still young enough to have independence, try looking for a rehabilitation hospital. They will help her learn a new kind of independence so she can live on her own. They will possibly also offer counseling. Also, being in the presence of others with her problem could help her change her viewpoint. I see no reason why a woman who was completely independent before the accident can't regain that independence now.

Comment: #41
Posted by: p
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:51 AM
@ p #41

EXACTLY the point I was making in my previous post! I am very familiar with many people in the disabled community and most are independent and self-supporting.
Comment: #42
Posted by: Kitty
Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:01 AM
@Zoe, @Penny, part of my problem here is that her choice to have one kid or four has nothing to do with the problem at hand: That her life WAS under control UNTIL her mother's accident.

We also don't know she is husbandless; details have been edited out of letters before.

@Zoe, we can take the discussion into ZPG and environmental causes if you like, but that still has nothing to do with her ability to manage her life and her household.

Maybe nobody was using bad words, but there was obviously a lot of judgement being thrown around at her choice to have four children. If she had only one child, and everything else had stayed exactly the same, would that have changed your response? It wouldn't have changed mine, because the issue is the additional burden of the paralyzed mother overburdening her household, when prior to that her household had been running fine -- and the fact that she has a sibling who is not taking any responsibility for their mother's care.
Comment: #43
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:15 AM
@Zoe: Cosmos are only crapola if they are made with inferior brands of vodka. I enjoy pleasuring my taste buds with a good Cosmo every now and then.
Comment: #44
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:18 AM
Re: Penny
"There is nothing ugly or demeaning in the posts about the LW. Please reread and point out which ones were negative." Okay:

"willing to hop into bed with the first sweet cookie willing to show her some affection." = neurotic & using her parts to fix her problems

"LW1, first, get your tubes tied." = "You've had enough kids already"

"Without going into the math I'll go with + or - 15 when she had the first. " = That's assuming. And even if she did, what's wrong with that if she's a good mother and coping fine?

"Now I'm just guessing here that she didn't marry either a rich or poor man. No mention of a husband which would certainly have brought in another opinion. " = Indeed you're guessing that "she didn't marry". No mention of a husband doesn't mean that there never was one.

"add to all the rest of the mess that she is on public assistance." = Another assumption. She could be a widow on survivor's benefits. She could have had some insurance settlement of some kind.

"LW1 being in desperate need of birth control!" There isn't even any indication that she's presently sexually active!

"If you think a 24 year old with 4 children and no husband is doing just fine I'm guessing you do not have 4 children."= Another assumption. She could very well be doing perfectly fine if she loves children, is well-organised and has enough money to go by.

"But what with the world population at past 7 billion, what, she really felt she needed to QUADRUPLE herself?" I thought that in "free" America 2012, a woman had the right to do what she wants with her own body? The very IDEA, that perfect strangers can dictate to a woman how many children she may have! WTF?

And for that matter, just the assumption that she needs birth control at all is derogatory, as it takes for granted that she has too many children AND is still sexually active. There is no indication that she wasn't coping with her brood just fine before she was saddled with a paraplegic, overly-demanding and verbally abusive mother.

And then, there's the final gem, "And certainly nothing like "irresponsible bitch in heat and a leech to society". Try taking yourself out of this equation."
And where am I in this equation, pray tell? Unless you're snidely insinuating that *I* am an irresponsible bitch in heat and leech to society... without saying it in so many words, of course?

Indeed there was plenty here that was ugly and demeaning, even if no one has called her names - so far. And I'm not the only one who thinks there's a pile up on her. Check Mike H and aimee85's posts if you haven't already read them.

Comment: #45
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:28 AM
Holy cow, Lise, what have you got against birth control? Sorry, but telling someone to take birthcontrol or get their tubes tied when they just said they are "struggling" with four kids is sound advice, akin to "get an education" and "don't take any wooden nickels". To equate that with calling someone such vile names is quite a leap. And as to your getting married at 19 and having a kid at 21, that is a totally different situation. As someone else said, take yourself out of the equation. It's not about YOU.
Comment: #46
Posted by: Jane
Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:41 AM
Re: Mike H

I don't think the number of kids she has really changed anyone's response (get your mother into a home or something), it just added another dimension to it. When she wrote in, she knew it might get published, so I think anything included is fair game for commentary. This would not be the first time that BTL has addressed something that isn't part of the actual question.

And there is always the tiny chance that she doesn't know about birth control until she reads it BTL :P

Re: Lise B

I'm not telling anyone how many kids they can and can't have, it just shocks me that some people have so many despite the world population. Seriously, what is the thought process there? "Well, I already have three, but I better have a few more, because the world needs more people in it. I'm sure there are plenty of resources left for everyone."

But, I guess, good for you for putting everything together in one tidy post and keeping the discussion going about LW1's fruitful uterus. I thought the topic's spark was dying after a few "birth control plz" - implication being, of course, to stop having kids, and if she's already on BC, then all's well, no? People judging teen moms or people with 4 kids is hardly new, but it doesn't usually go past "holy cow 4 kids at 24!" until someone escalates it with "skank" and "bitch" and "leech". Lise, I do see where you are coming from, I think your point is valid, and we don't know ANYTHING about this girl but we're going by what is more likely and many of us are just saying what we're thinking. No one said ANYTHING as bad as what you're "translating" our phrases into. Acting like we said awful things about LW1 doesn't make it so and causing the escalated "heat" in this topic is only going to result in people saying hurtful things.

That is what I meant by "let it go". Address it if you want, counter, discuss. But don't put words in people's mouths. Nothing anyone said was unreasonable or that mean, so why make it out to be?
Comment: #47
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:47 AM
Re: Penny #28
No, birth control is NOT a logical thing to mention at all, considering her problem is not her four children, but her paraplegic, overly-demanding, verbally abusive mother. To drag birth control into this is a) deciding for her how many children she's allowed to have, as if she were nothing but a breeding hen, AND, b) assuming she's sexually active, which, apart from being unlikely, has nothing to do with the problem at hand and is none of anyone's dang business!

As for the words I'm using, I'm only putting into words what has been clearly hinted at. I'm getting tired of this hyper-sensitive political correctness, where nothing is ever spelled out clearly, but rather snidely insinuated, as in your post #24. I hear echoes of Aaron Neville's song, "Tell it like it is"...

@Jennylee, Kristen, Mike H, aimee85
I'm glad someone ELSE here is reading that letter the same way I did!

@Samantha Kimmel
Why, thank you very kindly and I for one, am glad that you're back! (Hey - your own posts aren't bad either ;-)

@Kitty & P
Very constructive suggestion, and one that would be best for everyone!
Comment: #48
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:58 AM
To LW1, I am a paraplegic and have been for over ten years. Her anger is justified and it will take about a year for it to subside. Counseling is a good idea. You can help her by contacting your local Dept of Social Service Dept and Social Security to see if she qualifies for any in home care and for other aid. If you state has Voc Rehab services or other services for whatever reason you may need. I don't know what you have done or looked into, but these are some suggestions. Taking her out of her home is not a good think mentally for her. Does she have a church or close friends that can come and get her out to do some shopping or visiting. It works wonders. I will pray for her and you that you find a resolution to this. There is help just need to look and ask for it.
Comment: #49
Posted by: danelle sauers
Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:10 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette

That's good, Lise. Keep dragging this out as long as you can. And don't pass up any opportunity to make this be about you at least once per comment.
Comment: #50
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:14 AM
Re: Jane
You misread. She is not struggling with four kids, she is struggling with the demands of a paraplegic, overly-demanding and verbally abusive mother who was dumped on her unexpectedly. It would appear that she was doing FINE before that: she's asking what to do about her mother, not her four kids.

So birth control is not relevant to this as the four kids are not the problem she is writing about. And no, I have no problem with birth control at all, as I got on it myself when it came out and used it until I menopaused.

"This would not be the first time that BTL has addressed something that isn't part of the actual question."
True. But that doesn't mean it's fair. Sometimes, it's relevant extrapolation, sometimes not.

As for the population of Earth being what it is... Zoe, I'm not the kind myself who would want a large brood, but there are women who LOVE children, who are happiest when pregnant (I know one), and believe me that the large number of children in the third world is no consolation for the women who love children, yearn for motherhood and are having diffifulties conceiving. Just because the world doesn't "need" more doesn't stop women from wanting them. It's a natural urge, even if there is nothing wrong with the women (like my daughter) who don't have it.

As for her thought process... Well, my stepmother had three and the last one died in infancy. She's a GENIUS with kids and, if the last one hadn't ripped everything out on his way out, she certainly would have had more. Perhaps LW1's thought process was that she just loves children.

And as for the world not "needing" more children... this is the global view, but not the local one. When a country's childbirth falls below replacement rate, then it HAS to rely on immigration so that the ageing population has a chance of being supported in its old age, and with sufficient manpower to continue running the place. The world at large doesn't "need" another baby, but Canada for one certainly does!

Comment: #51
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:20 AM
Is Lise Brouillette really upset because others are making assumptions?

If so, she may want to take time out of her busy work schedule and read some of her own responses to LWs over the last year.

Filthy McNasty out!
Comment: #52
Posted by: Filthy McNasty
Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:24 AM
Sorry, Lise, but yes, birth control is an extremely logical piece of advice, and no, her parapalgic mother is not the whole problem. Two reasons. First, she said she "struggles every day to care of everyone's needs." Note the word "everyone" includes her kids and not just her mother. The first thing you do when you're in a hole is stop digging. You think having a fifth baby now is going to make things better for her? And the second reason is that her kids no longer want to be around her and the oldest's grades are slipping. That means it's not just the LW who is suffering, but the kids, too. You think having a new baby in the house--someone else to have to share their mother's time and attention--is going to help those kids she already has? Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices for the sake of your kids. Maybe this woman would love to have a dozen kids--I know I would have--but it's not all about her. You need to think about the kids too, and that sometimes means focusing on the ones you have.
Comment: #53
Posted by: Jane
Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:33 AM
For all those concentrating on her having four kids (one, at least old enough to be in school), another possibility is that she married a man who is older, had kids and had custody of them. She doesn't mention a husband, but that may be because the REAL issue is trying to take care of a difficult woman who belongs in a facility of some kind. She "sounds" quite stressed, she does NOT need nasty comments about the number of children living under her roof.
And many of the comments have been nasty, or at least snarky and very, very critical.
Comment: #54
Posted by: Pat Lang
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:12 AM
Re: Lise Brouillette
Perhaps telling this young woman to get on birth control isn't taking the situation far enough. Maybe it's time to (re)introduce involuntary sterilization - and we can make all who post here the jury on whether or not the sterilization takes place.
Personally, I do find the introduction of the LW needing to be put on birth control to be very offensive. The suggestion assumes WAY more than any of us have the right to do, and implies more than anyone is owning up to, despite knowing the nastiness you are implying.
@Jane - who are you to determine that the whole problem is not the mother? Did you write the letter and are you carrying on her life? Do you have children and know how crazy life can get running around after kids all day, even with a spouse? Do you know what it's like to take care of a disabled person? Do you know that LW did not have her life under control prior to her mother's accident? Hell, no, you don't know any of that.
And you say "that means focusing on the ones you have..." Isn't she trying to do just that? I guess I missed the part of the letter where LW indicates she's trying for more kids, or anything that shows she's been irresponsible...anything to back up what I've been reading BTL.
Comment: #55
Posted by: kristen
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:22 AM
Re: Zoe
Re # 47 You said "But don't put words in people's mouths." And yet here on the board people (you included) are creating a whole life story for someone they don't know.
"Nothing anyone said was unreasonable or that mean, so why make it out to be?" Actually, yes, they have. I think the general overall attitude has been really very nasty toward the LW.
Comment: #56
Posted by: kristen
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:31 AM
Re: Jane
I don't care how many posters used the word "struggle" to assume that she was having as much trouble with her kids as with her mother. Just because everybody says so (and not everybody does say so) doesn't make it correct. And she didn't ask about her kids she asked about her mother. The logical assumption here would be to deduct that the problem is with her mother, not her kids.

And of course having a fifth child would be the last thing she needs. But where do you get that she wants more children and is about to? Nowhere at all. There isn't even any indication that she's even sexually active, nor that she isn't presently using contraception. For all we know, she could have a IUD in place even though there is no mention of a man in her life. Telling her she has enough kids already and that she needs to get on the pill is not only all assumptions and fighting for the right to have them, it is uncalled for and intrusive, in a domain we have no business with. Sometimes extrapolation is relevant, but not this time.

@Pat Lang & Kristen
Glad to see I'm not the only voice preaching in the desert here... Thank you!

Comment: #57
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:47 AM
I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that she was 14 or 15 when she had the first child because she says she had four children under the age of 10. Whenever I have heard (or read) someone say they had X number of children under the age of Y, the oldest child is, at most, one year younger than Y. Indeed, in most of the cases I know about (where I know for sure how old the kids are), if the person says "under the age of 10" that means the oldest one is going to be turning 10 very, very soon. So, again, perhaps incorrectly, I assumed her oldest is 9. I think it really is pretty darn to safe to assume she was a teenage mom, and likely closer to 15 or 16 than 18 or 19, and even though that is just a few years' difference chronologically, it can be a WORLD of difference in terms of maturity and life circumstance.

I also assumed (and again, perhaps incorrectly) that, if the LW was pregnant at 14, 15 or even 17 that she didn't have a stable, reliable partner (be it husband, BF or just that the guy she slept with, even if the two of them weren't really in a relationship, was still a dependable guy who would do right by the child) with whom to raise the children and that she therefore lived with her mother (who, at that time, was still healthy) and depended on her mother for support, probably both financially, emotionally and for the actual day-to-day grind of caring for a baby. As such, her mother's accident and resulting medical issues are actually a double whammy -- not only does the LW need to care for her mother, but she also can no longer rely on the mother to help her with her children. Now, I went back to read the letter, and she does say, "she now lives with us, "which potentially indicates that they weren't all living together before, so I concede I may be totally wrong on this one.

Moreover, I have just the one child. I have been told by those who have multiple children that having a second isn't just double the workload -- it multiplies well beyond that because of the change in family dynamics, the potential for sibling rivalry, the fact that you have two different kids who are two different ages with two totally different needs (that are frequently juxtaposed). I am making the (possibly incorrect) assumption that the LW might not be quite so overwhelmed if she had just one child. I'm not judging her for having more than one child, I'm just saying that having more than one is, obviously, more work.

I agree that the LW didn't ask about help with her kids. I agree that the LW didn't ask about birth control. I agree that her having more children, if at some point she wants to, is her decision and no one else's business. But I'm not going to lie -- I also thought, "boy, I hope she's not still reproducing -- she's got too much on her plate already."

And because there was no mention of a father for these children, I did assume (possibly incorrectly) that she has had these children with different fathers and that she had them not necessarily because she just loves kids but because she's not been dependable with birth control. It is certainly true that this could be an issue related to bad editing.

But honestly, I don't think you can say, "her problem is mother, not her children." Her problem is that she has too much on her plate with little or no support from anyone else. That means she needs to offload some of her responsibilities, and/or get additional support to help her meet those responsibilities -- and she shouldn't add to those responsibilities. And I'm not limiting that to children -- she also probably shouldn't go out and get a pet for the same exact reason, and I can assure you I'm saying that without judging her in any way, shape or form.
Comment: #58
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:49 AM
As a total off-topic...I'm glad to see a column where a post by Miss Pasko is not needed, for once. Not that I don't appreciate Miss Pasko's posts when they are needed.

But it shows how inane and essentially useless advice columns in general are getting, other than for entertainment, since at least 1/3 of them seem to be references to previous columns. Of course, before the days of the internet, one had to wait a whole day to see a new bit of advice from Dear Abby. Now you can just google for advice on just about anything...and if you want relationship advice on just about anything, you can find it at any time with minimal effort.
Comment: #59
Posted by: Paul W
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:50 AM
@Lise -- One other thing I definitely agree with you on -- it's hard to imagine a mother of four children under the age of 10 with an ailing mother having the time, energy or opportunity to go out and get pregnant!
Comment: #60
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:52 AM
Re: kristen #56
And yet I remember the LW who didn't like to hold babies, how viciously she was attacked, and called ever name in the book... And here we have this one, who clearly LIKES to hold babies, and she is being slammed also. No outright name-calling this time but, as Pat Lang said, "many of the comments have been nasty, or at least snarky and very, very critical". Very strange - sometimes, you just can't win!

Comment: #61
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:54 AM
@ Samantha Kimmel:
What I said to Penny.
Comment: #62
Posted by: CB
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:54 AM
Why is everyone assuming that LW1 is the biological mother? Blended families are very common these days. She could very easily have married a widower with children, had one or two of her own (or not), and done what most people would consider to be the right thing by loving and accepting them all as "hers".
Comment: #63
Posted by: R.A.
Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:55 AM
Re: Lisa
"I have been told by those who have multiple children that having a second isn't just double the workload -- it multiplies well beyond that because of the change in family dynamics, the potential for sibling rivalry, the fact that you have two different kids who are two different ages with two totally different needs (that are frequently juxtaposed)."

From what little I have seen, read and heard about, the dynamic changes again after two children and then again after three, many dynamics becoming possible depending on how many boys or girls, their place in the birthing order, whether or not there are any physical disabilities, learning difficulties or mental problems involved, the different personalities of the children, the type of child-rearing the parent(s) favour... But in general, the dynamic changes for the better, because it is no longer a first-born vs intruder opposition.

Comment: #64
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:06 PM
Re: R.A.
You're absolutely right!

Comment: #65
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:07 PM
There seems to be MUCH more discussion and advice for LW1 on how not to have more children, based upon some possibly erroneous assumptions as to how she GOT four children, than anything constructive to assist her with dealing with the problem she actually ASKED for help with -- how to deal with her paraplegic mother. Unfortunately, those of us with actual experience in that area don't have enough information to offer as much in the way of help as we could, since we don't know the age of the mother and her limitations, both before and after the accident. It would be more helpful if there were other posters who have been in the LW's situation, either personally or through family members or friends, but I don't see where a lengthy discussion on the LW's birth control practices or the lack thereof is going to solve her immediate problem. She already HAS four children -- do those of you who are berating her for that suggest that she should get rid of some of them? If not, then I don't see what going on and on about the number of children she has is going to solve.
Comment: #66
Posted by: Kitty
Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:13 PM
Count me in on the "birth control is not the issue here" side. I have a friend who had a baby at 14 and raised him with her parents' help, stayed in school, married a nice Christian guy when she was 19, and they had three more kids by the time she was 23. He had a good job and they lived just fine and their youngest is in middle school now. Now this LW1 could be a welfare queen and have four kids from three different dads but that's not a given, and not the business of the people to respond. You can't know if it needs commenting or not. So shut up. You have no idea if she has an education, a job, or a husband. The patronizing misogynistic comments are out of line.

FTR I have four kids. My thought process went something like "I enjoy parenting and having babies, we have the financial resources to care for them to a reasonable degree, so I'll have four." I would have liked 5 but I feel too old for that now. Mr KH and I are quite happy with our brood and while we can be frazzled at times we work through it like most any parents do.
Comment: #67
Posted by: wkh
Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:18 PM
@Paul W -- just a note regarding yesterday's breastfeeding debate (with apologies for bringing this up the next day) -- just had a chance to go back and read what was posted after I left, and I saw yours. I misread your original post to mean that you were among those offended by public breastfeeding. I now see you were merely pointing to the fact that some people are. So, while I stand by my post -- clearly it didn't need to be addressed to you, and I apologize if it felt like I was jumping on your back.

And, I too, find it refreshing that Miss Pasko's services -- though always appreciated -- are not necessary today! :)
Comment: #68
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:22 PM
@Lisa, #58, except there's no evidence that she had any trouble at all managing her life with the four kids; so the problem really is *just* about dealing with the paralyzed mother, which was the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back".

You could re-write the letter where she only has a single child, and she could STILL be writing in that taking care of her paralyzed mother has overwhelmed her.

She didn't suggest that she had too much on her plate prior to her mother's accident. She seems to only have too much on her plate SINCE the mother's accident. So it seems pretty clear that the advice she needs is about what to do with the situation that created the sense of being overwhelmed, and that's not her children.
Comment: #69
Posted by: Mike H
Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:37 PM
Re: kristen

I think I have been quite clear about us not knowing LW1's situation. We often comment on letters not knowing the full story (in fact we always do). Speculating on what may or may not be the situation, or playing devil's advocate and presenting another side, is NOT the same thing as saying "you think the world population is too high? clearly you are dictating to everyone woman how many children she can have!" or "you think she needs to have birth control? obviously you are calling this girl a slut and a leech and a bitch in heat!"

The attitude to LW1 didn't seem that bad to me until the swear words broke out. Sure, some of it was not nice, but this girl was probably a mother at 15. She's encountered this before, I guarantee it; it's NOT an unnatural reaction especially since so many teenage mothers do not go on to do as well as their adult counterparts, or it takes a lot longer - this may not be the case with LW1, but it is the general attitude. No one sees LW1 as a bad person, no one hates her kids, but many of us would like her not to have anymore, at least at her age and in her situation... regardless of whether she is having difficulties with the ones she's currently got. It's sort of a one-off, semi-unrelated comment. That's it, that's all. It's not any more than that unless you perceive it to be.
Comment: #70
Posted by: Zoe
Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:07 PM
OMG, do you realize how judgemental you sound?!!!
Comment: #71
Posted by: CB
Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:20 PM
@Mike H. -- You (and others who share your view) are correct. She asked about how to deal with her mother, and there's no evidence to suggest that she wasn't doing just fine until her mother had the accident. As often happens at the BTL, we are making assumptions based on our own experiences and beliefs. We are also extrapolating information/trying to read between the lines because it's a sure bet we don't have the full story. I'm a real believer that we need to answer the question that is being asked, and as such, advice related to dealing with the mother, potential resources that may be available to her, etc., are more relevant and more helpful than suggestions related to her increasing her responsibilities (be that by having more kids or otherwise).

But I'm also a real believer in the idea that a lot of times, people ask the wrong questions. And I'm also a real believer in the idea that we don't get all the information we need, whether because the LW doesn't include it or due to poor editing. And I also believe that one of the strengths of the BTL is the very fact that we do bring a lot of different experiences, philosophies and interpretations to the table, offering the LW (if she reads the BTL) a veritable buffet of advice to consider. Unlike us, the LW absolutely knows what her situation is and will know if some advice is or isn't useful to her.

Honestly, I seriously doubt that the LW needs to be told to get on birth control -- even though, when I read the first comment suggesting it, it resonated with me due to the assumptions I made when I read her letter. If we take the LW at her word, and if we answer the question she asked, then there's no need to include anything about birth control (or not getting any pets!). But when there's a "last straw that breaks the camel's back" that almost by definition means there were other "straws" there, first. What the LW most needs is information about how to deal with the mother -- absolutely. But I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with reminding her not to be taking on any additional responsibilities if she can help it unless or until she has more resources/better support system in place to help her with her existing responsibilities.
Comment: #72
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:31 PM
LW1--"I'm losing my mind and my life. My kids don't want to be around me, and my oldest son's grades are declining." This pretty much sums it up. Your situation has deteriorated to the point where you have to choose your family's sanity or your mother. I think you've already made your choice; you just don't know how to execute it. You need to have a heart to heart with your mother during which you calmly but frankly inform her that while you love her dearly, you are not in a position to care for her yourself; not financially, emotionally, or medically. If your sister can't or won't help you, then contact one of several organizations to help you get your mother into a facility that is equipped to handle her very special needs. Do it for the sake of your children if not for your own well being. Do it soon!

LW2--No! Your parents are entitled to bequeath their earthly possessions to whomever they wish, including charitable organizations of their choice or to the family cat (in some jurisdictions.) To ask your parents whether or not you're in their will is presumptuous on several levels. Think about how you might react to such a question? This is about life, love and respect, not how much cash you'll have in your 401K.

LW3--OMG! Not THIS again!!!!!!! <Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!> I'm going to go leave some cabinet doors open and then wash my dirty hands in the kitchen sink....
Comment: #73
Posted by: Chris
Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:53 PM
After all this BTL about LW1, her age and how many kids she has, please remind me to never reveal my age or how many kids I have if I ever write to Abby, or Annies or Margo. I think it's sad that a woman with a real problem that isn't related to her children is being raked over the coals for the size of her family and her age. Yes, she's young and she has more children at that age than a great many others. However, it makes no difference to her reason for writing. She needs help with her :::mother:::. not her children. Geez, I feel sorry that she even asked.
Comment: #74
Posted by: Katie
Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:14 PM
To: Pat Lang post#54 - Thank you for mentioning the possibility of stepchildren.
Comment: #75
Posted by: Girl Scout Leader
Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:53 PM
Apparently it's occurred to no one that LW1's four children might include a foster child or two, or maybe an adopted child. When Michael Landon married his (older) first wife, he was only 19 and she was a widow with a 7-year-old son. When Landon adopted him, he became the father of a son only seven years younger than himself.
Comment: #76
Posted by: Kimiko
Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:53 PM
Kimiko, thank you for thinking of foster children. But re: Michael Landon, if he was 19 and the son was 7, they were twelve years apart. I personally have male friend who at age 21 married a 30 year old widow with a 10 year old. After her tragic death, he was the only parent - with an 11 year age difference.
Comment: #77
Posted by: Girl Scout Leader
Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:31 PM
Re: Zoe
LW1 had to have her first child at 14 or 15???? Nope. My mother had her first child at 18 (me) and 3 more by the time she was 24. No twins. When she was 24 I was 6 and in first grade. She had a husband all that time but he had yet to find his nitch in the working world and made very little money. We survived.
I assumed that LW1 does have a husband and didn't mention him because his job was to earn a living for the family leaving her with the lion's share of childrearing and mother caring and those were the issue of the letter. I agree that the mother needs to be moved to facility for her needs, the LW's needs and the LW's children's needs. And the LW's husband's, if there is one, needs.
Comment: #78
Posted by: JH
Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:24 PM
Just for fun, let's talk about LW3. I think he brings up a very intelligent point and potential reason for why sex lags in long relationships, and I think it's a point that isn't brought up often. Men are often associated with not valuing foreplay, but I think plenty of women, tired after a long day, might just roll over and have him get done with it.
Comment: #79
Posted by: Jers
Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:28 PM
I can see the point about the LW possibly having step/foster children, but I don't think that really matters.

What matters is there are FOUR children, all quite you, and at least one is exhibiting behavior problems that no doubt have something to do with the decrease in the LW's time etc. after the mother was paralyzed.

This woman is stretched thin, and the last thing she needs to do is add another child into the mix until she has her life under control. Her life is NOT under control, and that's why I advised looking into birth control.

I come from a very large family, and I think large families are wonderful. I am NOT judging the LW at all, I'm just saying at this time, RIGHT NOW, until she has her life in a better space, she should probably hold off on adding another child to the mix, whether it be foster, birth, step ot WHATEVER.
Comment: #80
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:27 PM
Nowhere. is. it. specified. that. she means. to. have. another. child.
Comment: #81
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:04 PM
Foster children at 24? What are you guys smokin'? A teen mother adopting so she can have another child? I want some of that. Half the stuff we make up down here is stretching it but this is waaaaay to far fetched. Just drop it Lise, everybody gets to say what they want and you don't always have to get in the last word. We heard you the first 100 times. That still doesn't make you right - so ha ha.
Comment: #82
Posted by: Penny
Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:37 PM
Girl Scout Leader, I have been lousy at math all my life. You're right, of course.
Comment: #83
Posted by: Kimiko
Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:42 PM
Your first responsibility is to your children. Take care of them & expend your energy being a mom just like your mother did raising you. Get off the guilt trip with your mom & put her where she can be taken care of properly. She doesn't like it? Tough. Pity parties are a waste of time. Been there, done it, got the t-shirt.
Comment: #84
Posted by: Cls
Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:37 AM
Re: Penny
I get to say what I want too, I heard all of YOU the first hundred times too and it still doesn't make you right either. She never mentioned any intention of having more children, GET IT? Now why don't YOU drop it?

Comment: #85
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:35 AM
Jinkies, there are a lot of posts here! I was trying to find the comment made to ME by Mike (#62) about something HE said to CB ( he wrote "SK: What I said to CB")and, whangly ding dang, I can't find WHAT he said to CB because this thing is a MOUNTAIN of commentary and it's askeery coming in here with the comments a'flyin' and references being made to posties that I can' find because I haven't sowed my lobelia, alyssum and nasturtiums (which I calls 'nastys' which, ha ha, seems to fit a lot of folken here of a time!) and I'm pretty sure Zoe was being snarky but it MIGHT have been sarcastic OR a backhanded compliment so

I AM VERY CONFUSED. I think I will hide for a while and plant my nastys. Oh, and you are wholly welcome Lise. People just get really tangled in their nether garments sometimes, don't they?

Comment: #86
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:34 AM
Re: Samantha Kimmel
That they do!
Comment: #87
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:40 AM

Your response was incomplete and unfair to the kids who wondered
whether their 80 year old parents would be leaving them any
inheritance. Surely, kids should plan for their own retirement, but
responsible parents should keep children informed as to their
financial holdings. Why keep one's assets secret? I go over my
financial statement every 3 months with my children. Someday soon they
may have to take over management of these funds and I want them to be
D.M., Oxnard, CARe: Janet
Comment: #88
Posted by: Dan Murphy
Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:45 AM
LW1: You chose to have children. Now choose to put them first. Mom has to go. Your children are hurting and need you. Plus, taking care of your mother in this way is unhealthy for both of you.

LW2: Yes, it's okay but you shouldn't include their finances in your planning because it's stupid. Anything could happen prior to death. One of them could get very sick and spend a good portion of their money on medical bills. Plan for your future using your money and if they leave you anything then be grateful but don't depend on it.
Comment: #89
Posted by: Diana
Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:56 PM
LW1-There was a letter to Annie's called "His Marriage Took A Big Turn" where the husband didn't want to have to take care of his retarded brother and sister-in-law, because it would make it impossible to raise his own children in the house as well.
Your mother should NOT be living with you. I taught high school in a very poor and depressed town, and the parents of my students always had the same problem; they had a bunch of adult relatives living with them, who didn't work or pay rent. Mom ended up paying the bills, cooking for them, and feeding these layabouts on her salary alone. Her own children suffered because Mom was too tired to go to school on parent-teacher night, make sure they were doing their schoolwork, keeping them off the streets, etc.
Move your mother to a nursing home as soon as possible. Having her live with you will destroy your life.
Comment: #90
Posted by: Roger
Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:48 AM
Re: Kimiko

You wrote:
"When Michael Landon married his (older) first wife, he was only 19 and she was a widow with a 7-year-old son. When Landon adopted him, he became the father of a son only seven years younger than himself."

That's fascinating, because California law states clearly that the adopter must be at least 25 years older than the adopted. I know Mike was a connected guy, but not at that time. So.... how'd he do it?
Comment: #91
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:35 AM
Re: Samantha Kimmel
How did he do it? Well, he was connected, famous... and rich.

Comment: #92
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:28 AM
Odd, I posted a reply here yesterday, saw it, and now it's gone. I get so-o-o-o-o very tired of this
website; it's not just the annoying people. (They're so much fun to taunt!) It's the Vanishing Posts
that have my knickers in a knot.

Anywho, the post was in ref to # 92:

Michael Landon might have been famous, connected and rich, but not at 19. Mike was just another
famous young actor
(with a promising future) but not connected or rich, yet.
Comment: #93
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:10 AM
You must find another way that your mom can be taken care of. You have yoru plate full with 4 kids. This is the type of situation where you can have a nervous breakdown, or worse, and you should avoid anything bad happening due to your stress. It's understandable if you tell mom that you can't take care of her now, but will do so in the future after you get a handle on taking care of all your children. If you are 24, I'm guessing mom is quite young as well, and she could need help for 30+ years. Gently break it to her that your children's grades are suffering, and you have to put them first, and that after you get things sorted out, you'd be happy to help her then. Meanwhile, get some birth control - you clearly had your first child in your mid-teens, then had 3 more children? I don't see a mention of a dad here, so lesson was not learned after child 1 or 2. I'm sure you love your children, and the best way for you to adequately take care of your children they way they deserve, is to not have any more. Get thee to a clinic .
Comment: #94
Posted by: Salty
Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:22 PM
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