Ask Amy: Grateful future mom worries about baby shower
Dear Amy: After many years, and with the help of prayers and science, I am pregnant and — along with my family and friends — looking forward to a celebratory baby shower.
My issue is whether I must invite a narcissistic sister-in-law (my brother’s wife), or if it is appropriate to only invite her daughters, ages 10 and 14.
Over the years my relationship with my SIL has deteriorated to the point that she refuses to speak to me, and we have to have separate family holidays.
I would never invite this person to any event, but her daughters and I maintain a loving relationship.
From your perspective, is it appropriate to address the invitation to my nieces alone? I would really miss their presence, but cannot stand the thought of their mother attending this special day.
— Finally Expecting
Dear Expecting: From my perspective, it is not appropriate to invite your nieces to your baby shower without also inviting their mother — but I am not living in your family and lack specific insight. (Your brother might offer you a firm suggestion.)
Understand that if you invited your nieces (and not their mother), there is a high likelihood that their mother would not let them attend without her. Additionally, you doing so would likely hand your sister-in-law more “evidence” of whatever crimes against the family she believes you have already committed.
I’m only suggesting that you be prepared for fallout, no matter what course you take.
Narcissists have a grandiose notion that the world revolves around them, so your sister-in-law would interpret any action of yours only in relation to her.
I’m accepting your assumption that things are so bad between you two adults that you consider them intolerable, but understand that as you move forward — now with a child of your own — this practice of celebrating separate holidays, etc., will become even more complicated. Some families do manage to engage in parallel relationships where individuals can gather as part of a group without interacting personally, but if you can’t do this, then continue to do your best to have an ongoing healthy and unfettered relationship with your nieces.
Dear Amy: I would like to inform my children of my intended plans for distributing my estate after my death.
How can I lovingly bequeath my funds without “ruffling feathers?”
I have three daughters. Only one is married, with two children.
In preparing my will, I would like to leave each of my grandchildren 2 percent of my remaining funds, and equally split the balance between my three daughters, at 32 percent each.
I’m afraid that one of them will look upon this distribution as her married sibling getting a larger share (believing the 2 percent should come from the married daughter’s one-third equitable share).
I would like input from you and readers on my intended plan, and how to overcome any hard feelings on the part of one of my daughters.
Dear Planning: Your planned distribution of your assets seems equitable and fair. Many people choose to give to grandchildren and other family members separately from their own children. It’s your money and you have the right to spend it however you want!
Given how painstakingly you have worked this out, I’m wondering why you feel compelled to share these details with your daughters.
You say you want to inform them, and you are obviously anticipating that one of them will object. If so, you should prepare yourself. She will have to recover from her own disappointment.
If she remains unattached and childless, then she will be spared at least one experience: the anxiety that you are experiencing now.
I’ll happily run replies from readers.
Dear Amy: I loved your response to “Tapped Out Teachers” where these retired parents keep giving money to their daughter and granddaughter, and are met with ridiculed responses.
I loved that you called out what the daughter “Clare” is: “… an entitled, incompetent, needy and angry adult.”
More people like this need to be called out for their behavior. The parents, who give more than they receive, don’t deserve this treatment, and neither does the rest of society.
— Cheering You On
Dear Cheering: One concern I had was that the older couple could actually harm their own financial future through this generosity.
Financial competency starts in childhood, and when parents teach their children to earn and to spend wisely, these children grow up to be confident, self-supporting (and oftentimes generous) adults. That education is a true gift.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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