Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I have two daughters who have never been very close, but never
before fought like now. There’s a constant underlying competition
between them, over everything from house size to family vacations.
Each is married to a working stiff, not a professional, so we’re talking a
pretty narrow range of discussions. But lately, since the younger has
gotten pregnant, it seems that every time we are together as a family
there is bickering, and every time I am with one or the other I hear
nothing but complaints about her sib. Should I continue to let it fester
and ignore it, or try to reconcile them? My husband, btw, in the way of
men, seems oblivious and thinks I am being a worrywart.
It’s in the nature of mothers to worry about how families get along and
in the nature of fathers to assume all is bliss until the dissonance gets
loud enough that they’re dragged in. I’d suggest a two-pronged
approach. One is to have a one-on- one with each of them saying
basically, I’m tired of the kvetching, back-biting, and jealousy and
competition. I love both of you equally, and want you to be happy.
Everyone’s life is full of joys and tsoris, and it’s the role of family to be
there to celebrate the good times and help out in the bad ones. If you
can’t count on your parents and your sister, who’s there for you?
Hope they respond appropriately. If not, offer to take them shopping
together for a day, somewhere like an outlet mall where they’ll
anticipate your smiling credit card. In actuality your goal will be to sit
them down in the food court and say, Here’s the scoop: I love you and
I love you and I want you both to act like you care about one another,
not just when I’m treating you but when no one else is around. If you
can’t do it because it’s right, do it for me. Because if you don’t you
won’t like the mother I’m going to become. Then pray it works.