Our expert says:
It's good to be generous, and important but hard to remember, to set specific time and other limits on such generosity.
If her children are 18 and 20, isn't it high time they were taking care of themselves, and indeed helping to take care of mother ? Couldn't the three of them get a place together and share expenses ? Shouldn't they be part of the solution, and not part of the problems ?
Or are the kids unemployed too ?
And much as I love cats, bringing the cat too seems even more excessive.
Simply explain that, without wanting to make things worse for her, this situation cannot continue indefinitely, and that you simply cannot afford it ; and the children's visits are an imposition and a different plan needs to be made.
And anyhow, for instance, why should you be made to feel responsible for the cat ? Or for feeding it ? Presumably they do actually feed it between visits - couldn't they bring some dry cat food with them ? My cat heartily endorses this view.
She may have been a dear friend, but is hadly behaving now like a dear froend.
Try to be tactful, but be clear and not wishy-washy - they may feel relief that this situation might indeed continue indefinitely, and maybe are not trying heard enough to take responsibility for themselves ?
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