Daughter not keen on caring for parents

I am a 52-year-old registered nurse. I have been widowed for seven years and happily live alone. My parents, ages 80 and 71, live in the same city, and I visit them at least once a week to help with chores.

Dear Annie: I am a 52-year-old registered nurse.

I have been widowed for seven years and happily live alone. My parents, ages 80 and 71, live in the same city, and I visit them at least once a week to help with chores. Although they could afford to hire outside help, they refuse to do so.

My problem is, Mom and Dad are putting intense pressure on me to move in with them. They have made it clear that they will never go into a nursing home, and since I am a nurse, they think I should be available to them 24/7 for the rest of my life. As it is, the moment I walk in their door, I am told to do this and fix that. I will have no rest whatsoever if I am crazy enough to take them up on their “generous offer.”

How can I make them see I don’t want to be their indentured servant? — Thinking of Moving Out of State

Dear Thinking: How sad that your parents have succeeded in making you dread spending time with them. While we each have a moral obligation to see that our aging parents are cared for, that does not mean you have to live with them or be at their beck and call. Put your backbone in a stiff brace, and tell them you love them, but will not be moving in with them, now or ever, and they should stop asking. Do what you can to help them out, but get a handle on how much you are willing to do before you are eaten up with resentment and your relationship becomes bitter. It will be easier if you are not afraid to tell them when you’ve punched out for the day.

Dear Annie: I recently went to a beauty school to have my hair coloured and had a less than “beautifying” experience. I was greeted by so much exposed cleavage and so many facial piercings, tattoos and zebra hair colours that I thought I was at a circus. Everyone was chomping and smacking their gum like cows chewing their cud.

Annie, when I enter such an establishment, I want to be inspired, not repulsed. Is it too much to ask that the student hair designers conduct themselves in a professional way with regard to their personal grooming, as well as their conduct? Should I say something? — Longing for Customer Service

Dear Longing: Most people who patronize beauty schools do so because they are less expensive. Those who object to the student-in-training vibe tend to go elsewhere. However, students should be learning how to dress and behave in a way that is appropriate for the professional environments where they hope to work, although many salons have a casual attitude about employee attire. If you can phrase it as constructive criticism, speak to whoever runs the place and see if it helps.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Dreamer,” whose husband is flirting with another woman. My soon-to-be ex had an emotional relationship with a woman he was singing with at our church. My husband insisted they were just friends.

We had counselling and left that church. The counsellor stated that even though there was no sex, my husband’s lying made it an affair. After a year of expensive sessions, my husband promised he would never stray again.

But a year ago, I came home from work early because I was sick and found him having sex in our bed with this same woman. He admitted it had been going on for the past six years.

We were married 20 years. I am entitled to half of his assets, including his pension.

My husband did not realize this. I bet if “Dreamer’s” husband understood the financial realities, he might be more willing to save his marriage. — Single and Financially Sound in Michigan.

Dear Single: Divorce laws vary according to state, but you’ve pointed out something that not all cheating spouses think about at the time. Thanks.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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