Dilemma: Dad expects me to do the chores whilst my brother gets off scot free

Jo Brand / 28 January 2019

A reader consults Jo Brand on what to do about her father who won't ask her brother to help out with his chores.

Dilemma: I want my brother to help more with our dad

 Although I work full-time, have teenage children and live quite some distance from my widowed father, he asks me to run errands for him and do his admin when he is away.

My brother lives much closer, also has a family, yet is always deemed too busy.

It infuriates me that the lion’s share of the support role falls to me, even though I am at least as busy as my brother.

Why can’t my father see that? And why do I feel so guilty and beat myself up because I can’t do more for him?

Dilemma: I resent having to spend my retirement caring for my parents

Jo Brand's advice

Let’s start with why you feel so guilty and think you should do more. That is because you are a nice person.

However, your father’s attitude harks back to the 19th century when all the female relatives were called upon to (wo)man the domestic barricades, while the males swanned around drinking beer and watching sport.

It is the 21st century, so it’s time not to cave in any more. Tell your dad you love him but you can’t do everything, and you want to divide the chores and get your brother to do his half.

If you can’t face saying this to him, write it in a letter (upbeat and positive, no grovelling or expressing guilt) or an email. Send a copy of the letter to your brother and see what happens.

There may well be resistance, but stick to your guns. It is all too easy when you are a combo of nice and guilty to end up doing everything, but don’t, you don’t deserve it!

It will make you feel better even if you have to go through a couple of months of doing only half the chores, while your dad fumes and your brother digs his heels in. Good luck!

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