The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

I lost it after my mother-in-law called hub by for help ... again. What can I do to solve issue?

Looking for practical advice, relationsh­ip help or emotional support? As a mum of four, gran of eight and dear friend to many, Margaret Clayton’s years of experience make her the ideal person to turn to

- Maggie Listens

Dear Maggie

My husband Donald and I have been happily married for 24 years and we celebrate our silver wedding later this year.

But there is one issue that bothers me about his family – it’s the way his mother favours his younger brother Tom and takes her first son Donald for granted. He is the one she phones when she wants help fixing her car, decorating her kitchen, digging the garden and endless little DIY jobs around the house. Does she phone Tom? No chance. I’ve asked her why not and she always replies: “Oh Tom has so much on his plate with his demanding job, overtime and lots of travelling. It just doesn’t seem fair to ask him.”

Donald and I have three daughters and I give them all the same time and attention and I have never shown favouritis­m. Last week my mother-in-law phoned to ask Donald to come round to help her paint the kitchen and bathroom. I lost my temper with him when he said “yes” right away. We haven’t spoken since. What can I do to make my husband understand how I feel?

Maggie says

Family relationsh­ips are never easy to understand. Your husband has probably grown accustomed to the fact that his mother relies on him for practical help and assistance while his younger brother gets let off the hook! Perhaps your hubby actually enjoys being the reliable and dependable one his mum calls on for assistance.

As we grow up in a family, certain habits get taken for granted. My friend says her sister is the one who listens to her mother’s ups and downs and she is the one who her mother relies on to help with advice about choosing clothes or booking a holiday because she is enthusiast­ic about these things.

In families these things are known over the years and yes sometimes parents do get into the habit of relying on one child or another for assistance.

Try not to make your husband feel guilty about helping his mum. It shows he has a kind heart. Accept that he’s doing what he feels is right and relax and let him know how much you appreciate him. That way he will be happier – and you will too. Dear Maggie

I work in the office of a large company and I love my job. I’ve been offered a promoted post but I don’t know whether to accept it or not. It means I would have to travel quite a lot for work and I have two young children who are still at primary school and my husband and I love to spend time with them in the evenings. Should I give up this chance of promotion at work or put my family first?

Maggie says

Only you can answer that question truthfully. Be honest with yourself. You have the best of both worlds at present – a job you enjoy and which you are clearly good at. That’s the reason you have been offered this promoted post and I’m sure you would enjoy the challenge. But is the timing quite right for you yet?

If you feel it would cause stress that you’d find difficult to cope with, be frank with your boss and tell him exactly how you feel. If you decide to let this chance of promotion go, I don’t think this would rule you out for promotion in the future. Good luck.

Are you struggling in these uncertain times? Contact Maggie for advice by emailing ps@sundaypost. com

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