Caring For Your Parents; Presidential In-Laws Throughout History

After our recent posts about President-elect Obama and his plan to keep the estate tax, we thought it might be nice to follow up with a lighter story about the office of the President. When Barack Obama takes office on Tuesday and moves his family into the White House, his mother-in-law Marian Robinson will be moving with them. This is a situation with which many of our clients can identify, having their own elderly parents or in-laws under their care in one capacity or another.

The Obamas aren’t the only first family to have a parent live with them in the White House. According to a number of Presidents have welcomed their own parents or their in-laws into the White House with them, and in this article by David Holzel four in particular have been highlighted: Ulysses S. Grant, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Benjamin Harrison. And if you were under the impression that your own disapproving mother-in-law would appreciate you if you only did something great like become a CEO or the President, you should read about Harry Truman’s mother-in-law, who was heard to wonder “Why would Harry run against that nice Mr. Dewey?” during the 1948 presidential race.

Many of our clients are caregivers for elderly parents or relatives, and it is a role that can feel very isolating at times; having the President’s mother-in-law in the White House with the First Family—even if it’s not in a care-giving situation—may serve to bring more attention to a role that is too often pushed into the shadows.