Dear Carolyn: I have three kids, ages 5 and under, and life is hectic. We have child care during our working hours but are otherwise pretty much constantly looking after our kids.
My mom always says she wants to help, and on rare occasions she will take the older two overnight, which IS a big help. But sometimes I need smaller-scale help, such as someone to watch the kids while I take a shower or do the laundry. She offers that, but when I get out of the shower, she tuts about how she had to do all the dishes. Or while I’m doing dishes, she tuts at me about how I seem to need a shower. She comes from a place of concern (“Poor thing, I can see you haven’t had time to wash your hair!”) and she IS offering help, so do I have to tolerate that she is making me feel bad while doing it? — Feel Bad
Feel Bad: Well, hm. A few things jump out at me.