, Advice by Ann Landers - []
Section: behavior, children, relationships, marriage

Dear Margo,
Every time we go to visit my mother-in-law's house she complains about how much groceries for my family of 6 costs. She rations out the food and I get yelled it if I eat too much. I am afraid to eat anything in her house and am often hungry. The frustrating part is she is really not struggling for money. They recently retired, but they also just bought an expensive second home by the ocean, travel all over the world, buy expensive things, gets way more retirement money every month than we earn, and they also inherited a lot of money. We are a family that struggles every month to put food on our table. It frustrates me when she complains, and I think it is rude. We recently started bringing food with us, yet she still complains about money. I feel like I am going to lose it. How do I handle this tactfully and at the same time get her to stop complaining? - Money matters

Dear Money,
Somehow this letter does not ring true on my radar. Granted, some people are squirrelly about money, but the sources of income you say these people have cover all the categories of funds a person can have except perhaps for winning the lottery. I will respond to the question you ask, however, assuming it may be legit.

Your mother-in-law's approach to food, not to mention complaining, is inhospitable, rude, and mean-spirited. You do not mention what your husband, their son, has to say about her history of behavior. I would think that would be a central factor in this discussion. Was she always like this? What does he think of the way she behaves? Was she hostile to his marrying you? If I were in your position, I would end the visits. To be hungry and insulted can be no one's idea of a good time.
- Margo

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Marina's Comment
Perhaps the mother-in-law is just a poor hostess. It is tasteless to discuss money while entertaining. I think the best way to handle this is to stop the visits. Also, where is your husband, your son,in all of this? Shouldn't he be speaking to his mother to set her straight?

Reader Comment
your family of 6 is certainly going to require a LOT more food than her family of 2, Just because she can afford it won't stop her from deciding what is appropriate for people to eat. Since you struggle to put food on the table, maybe you should not travel to see her. You chose to have a family that size, you should not complain about putting enough food on the table.
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, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good."
-Ann Landers