Dear Abby: Woman is fuming that her mother-in-law exposes her child to secondhand smoke
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law is a heavy smoker. She lives two hours away from us, so when she visits, she likes to stay for one or two nights. My husband and I have a 3-year-old son, and my MIL’s smoking is a huge concern for me.
Every two hours, she smokes outside on our back patio. She seems to think this is her right. She closes the sliding glass door behind her, but I can still smell the smoke inside the entire time. And, of course, when she comes back inside, the smell permeates even more.
After her last visit, our home smelled like an ashtray. My eyes burned, and my son was also rubbing his eyes. By the second day, I’m seething each time she ventures out to smoke. I have asked her in the past to go down the street away from our home, but there’s always an excuse why she can’t. (For example, she doesn’t want to risk walking down the incline of the sidewalk for fear of falling.)
I don’t think it should be her right to expose my child (or us) to her harmful addiction. I need advice on how to make clear that if she intends to visit our home and son in the future, smoking will not be permitted anywhere. My husband thinks we should just tolerate it while she’s here. — FUMING IN THE WEST
DEAR FUMING: As much as I agree that smoking is unhealthy and a social turnoff, your husband is right. His mother is severely addicted to smoking if she can’t go more than two hours without a “fix.” She is cooperating to the extent she can with your house rules, so if you want a relationship with her (if only so your child has a chance to know his grandmother), I suggest you lighten up.
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