Abby: Sister appalled by what brother asks mom to do

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My brother and his wife recently had their second child through induced labor. On the delivery day, my mother asked what she could do to help. My brother asked her to go to his home, which is an hour away, sweep and vacuum the house, change the sheets and do the laundry because they didn’t have time.

I feel it was extremely inappropriate. Picking up diapers and making sure the bassinet has clean sheets are acceptable requests; cleaning the house is not. My mother wasn’t bothered by it, but I am appalled. Am I wrong?

Stuck In The Middle

Dear Stuck: You are entitled to your feelings. However, because your mother wasn’t bothered by your brother’s request, my advice is to stay out of it because it was none of your business. Please don’t stir the pot more than you already may have because the person who will suffer for it is you.

Dear Abby: I’m a mom who raised three kids and now I help with the grandchildren. I had dogs all my life until my last one died of old age. I was enjoying life with no responsibilities and could walk out of my house without worry.

My friend, who lives in an apartment, asked me to keep her cat, “Fluffy,” while she was on vacation. I gladly helped her out and carefully took care of her cat. Now Fluffy loves being at my house and acts mean when she goes back to the apartment. The only answer was to keep Fluffy, but I don’t want a cat!

How do I get rid of a cat who loves being at my house? I’m miserable because I miss my carefree life after many years of caring for others.

Pet-free in Alabama

Dear Pet-free: You have done enough. If you can, figure out why Fluffy is happy with you so you can share that information with her owner as you return her. You deserve the carefree life you have earned.

Dear Abby: My son volunteers as a chaperone for his daughters’ elementary school field trips. Each parent volunteer is assigned five or six children.

Before they board the bus, my son gathers his group and tells them they are going to take a memory picture. He does it because if a child is ever lost, he wants a photo to immediately show any responding police officers. His exact words to me were, “Mom, in an emergency, I might not remember what a child was wearing, what her backpack looked like or how tall she is.”

He never tells the children the real reason for taking the picture. Afterward, he just emails it to any child who wants a souvenir of the trip.

Proud Of My Son

Dear Proud: Congratulations for having raised a smart son. My readers will let us know if his idea is original, but it’s a good one, which is why I’m printing your letter. For anyone supervising a group of children, this could be a helpful suggestion.

Dear Abby: Under what circumstances do you ask your adult offspring (still living at home, working, doing their own laundry, somewhat feeding themselves) to contribute money toward household expenses?

Just Wondering

in Pennsylvania

Dear Just Wondering: At what point? I recommend you do it tonight!

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.