Dear RV Shrink:
We have had a large motorhome for many years. I always thought that after I retired, my wife and I would travel several months during the year. Now that I have retired and have all my ducks in a row, my wife refuses to go because her 83-year-old mother would be left alone. My mother-in-law is healthy and active but my wife is afraid she would feel abandoned if we were gone that long.
Can you give me some suggestions on how to convince my wife we need to have a life too? I love my mother-in-law but I don’t want to miss traveling in our golden years because she might need us occasionally. Any help would be greatly appreciated. —Mommy-in-Law’s Boy in Bowling Green
Dear Mommy’s Boy:
If you really love your mother-in-law, take her along. There is a large percentage of boomers who have parents to care for. I think that is an honorable responsibility in most cases. If you have a large motorhome and everyone gets along, why not travel with mom if she is willing. It’s like a mother-in-law apartment on wheels. I have seen this work out wonderfully in many traveling relationships. It sometimes takes a while to work out all the scheduling bugs between a couple and a parent all living in a small space, but it is very feasible.
With cell phones, email and even Skype on today’s portable computers, it is easy to stay in touch with loved ones while traveling, but those devices do not replace spending quality time with an aging parent.
Another plus could be having a live-in referee. I know one couple, both with Type A personalities, that seem to argue all the time. Once her mother joined them on the road it mellowed them both out, added a third voice to the conversation, and they often used her for the tie-breaking vote involving important decisions.
This third-wheel relationship is not going to work for everyone. Don’t make any rash moves until you consider all the negatives that could positively drive you to drink. Good luck. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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