Dear Annie/Retirement to bring new set of headaches

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: After working my whole life, I am retiring in a couple of weeks. I’ve been looking forward to some downtime, sleeping in, time for myself and time to do the things I want to do, but a problem has appeared.

My husband wants me to take care of his 97-year-old semi-invalid father, who expects a full cooked breakfast every morning at 7 o’clock. On top of that, my son and his wife, who work different shifts, expect me to care for their screaming 2-year-old toddler and their new baby, who is due in a few weeks.

I hate to say “no” to my family, but what about me? What should I do? — Distressed in Utah

Dear Distressed: Don’t think of it as saying “no” to your family. Think of it as finally saying “yes” to yourself.

Someone was taking care of your father-in-law up until this point. Can that person continue to do so, at least in some capacity? Perhaps you could hire a part-time caregiver who could be with him during the day. Surely, you and your husband can come up with a plan that doesn’t require you to serve as 24/7 nurse and chef. The same goes for your son and his wife. They should not rely entirely on you for child care. Baby-sitting should be a favor, not a duty.

Though setting boundaries may lead to some conflict with family members in the short term, it will make for healthier, less resentful relations in the long term. Congrats on your retirement.

Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at