My sister-in-law is useless.

My brother and his wife live about 15 minutes from my Mom.  She is getting older and needs a lot more help these days.  Someone needs to take her to the doctor, shopping, help cook her meals and clean her house.  I live more than an hour away and work full time.  My brother goes to see Mom about once a week.  He does help but more needs to be done.  My sister-in-law says she is busy with her work and kids and does not help out at all.  This makes me so mad, how can I get her to understand that more care is needed?



Hi Dianna:

I firmly believe that the care of a parent should be done (at least partially if possible) by the adult children. I am glad to hear that your brother comes over, but why cannot you go there once a week too?  One hour away is not far, many people do that twice a day, coming and going to work  Could you not take one of your off work days and help out?  I think you are using distance as a poor excuse for not pitching in.  If I were your brother, I would be quite upset with you.  Does he ever talk to you about his needs and how you could and should do more?   As for your sister-in-law, I believe it is not her responsibility or job to take care of YOUR Mother.  If she offers to help, that is very kind of her, but do not expect her to help.  It is YOUR job not HERs.

I suggest you stop being mad at her and pitch in.  Perhaps you could plan a visit to help your Mom and during the same visit, sit down with your brother.  You need to create better communication with him and develop a care plan that works for all of you.  Your mother’s health will only decline more over time.  If you start now to work and develop a plan, you will all be better prepared and working as a team.   If you do these two suggestions, your brother and Mother will be very thankful. Your sister-in-law will be glad you finally have done the right thing by helping out and also by leaving her alone.

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