Dear Amy: I have wonderful in-laws. They don’t meddle or criticize and are generally cool people.
After the birth of our first child in March, they’ve come from out of state to stay with us a few times. However, I have an issue that I really have no idea how to approach.
My father-in-law is getting on in years, and it seems he does not have the ability to hit the toilet reliably when he urinates.
Amy, I understand that aging comes with all its indignities, but is it too much to expect him to sit down to pee?
Ideally, he would realize the problem and have the decency not to pee onto our bathroom floor.
Although I’m a woman, I also guess that there may be a whole host of underlying psychology stuff that happens when a man is no longer able to stand up to pee.
The bottom line is: I don’t have the time or energy to be cleaning up someone else’s urine! Doing it for one human is quite enough.
I’ve thought about passing this off to my husband to handle, but I’m trying to stop avoiding conflict as I’ve done in the past. Any ideas?
Dear Pissed: You seem to think that this is the right time for you to stand up and confront someone who is doing something you don’t like.
Nope. This is the perfect moment to avoid conflict.
Bringing this up to your “wonderful” father-in-law could prove deeply embarrassing to him. Why would you choose to do this?
You have already made the connection that caring for an infant and an older person have some commonalities. In both cases, cleaning up after someone who doesn’t have total control over bodily functions can actually deepen your understanding of the human condition. Yes, it is NO FUN to clean up urine. But yes, it can be done with compassion.
Here are your choices: You could ask your husband to speak to his father. (“Dad, we’ve noticed that you are missing the toilet. Is the lighting in our bathroom bad for you?”).
You could also ask your husband to compassionately clean up after his father. Of course, your husband should be on diaper patrol with the baby, along with you, but perhaps during the times your in-laws are with you, you could strike up a deal: “I’ve got the baby; you take gramps.”