I am six months pregnant, and my husband and I live with my mother in the house that I built for her…. We have a lot of problems because she constantly gives us orders and reminds us day after day that the house is hers and that everything must be done to suit her. She says that she doesn’t want anything to do with my baby when it is born, and that hurts me very much.

We are thinking of moving somewhere else so that this won’t affect my pregnancy anymore. But I am her only means of support, because my siblings have their own lives and don’t look after her. What should we do for her good and the good of my baby, since I am very distressed and cry a lot? My husband doesn’t want to see me cry anymore, and is getting tired of her orders and comments.

Dear Friend,

Congratulations! You’re going to be a mother soon! Your new baby should be your highest priority in the decisions that you and your husband must make in the near future.

How wonderful that you have provided a home for your mother to live in! You have truly honored her by caring for her for the past number of years. You have obeyed the Fifth Commandment by supporting your mother and looking out for her.

However, you are now a married woman and there is a child who you must protect and care for. It is time for you and your husband to prepare a home where there is peace and loving acceptance for your child. Your mother has made it clear that her home is not the place for you anymore.

You say that your siblings “have their own lives” and therefore do not look after your mother. Shouldn’t you “have your own life” as well? Call a family meeting with your siblings and inform them that you are moving out. Remind them that your mother’s care is the responsibility of all her children. Tell them that you will continue to do your share, but that you will no longer be the only one responsible for her.

One day Jesus was walking on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and He saw James and John mending the fishing nets with their father.(1) The family business was fishing, and James and John were expected to support their father, Zebedee, and follow in his footsteps. So when Jesus called James and John to come and be His disciples, it must have been difficult for Zebedee to understand. He may have felt that they were deserting him.

Was Jesus insensitive to the plight of Zebedee? Was Jesus encouraging James and John to dishonor their father? Not at all. Jesus taught through this example that honoring your parents does not mean that you abandon your own responsibilities in order to care for them. God the Father had a plan for James and John to be instrumental in the ministry of His Son Jesus, and Jesus knew that His Father would take care of their father.

You have a responsibility now that you have never had before. God expects you to make the right decisions for your child. Hopefully you will have time to establish your own home with your husband before the little one arrives.

We wish you well,

Linda and Charles
1 Mk 1:19-20