cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently had a baby girl, our first. We both work full-time, but my husband is gone nights and weekends and I'm the primary parent at home with our daughter.

Something has been bothering me since my daughter came along. My in-laws have never once told me I'm doing a good job as a mother. I'm critiqued every time they come over, whether it be that her hands are too cold, her room is too warm or her nails are too "sharp."

They compliment my husband repeatedly, and he's the first to give all the credit to me, but I feel like they don't think I'm doing a good job and it makes me feel bad. Am I being too sensitive? -- CRITICIZED ALL THE TIME

DEAR CRITICIZED: It is possible that in making these comments, your in-laws are simply trying to be helpful. Instead of regarding them as criticism, take them under consideration.

However, if your hurt feelings persist, you -- or your husband -- should point out to his parents that in trying to be helpful, they have forgotten to be supportive, and mention some of the things you are doing right.
cereta: (spydaddy)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Prudence,
I don’t get along with my sister-in-law. She adores my brother and makes him very happy so I try to be friendly when I see her, but now that we’ve moved back to his hometown and she lives just a few miles away, it’s gotten much harder. She criticizes my taste in furniture, my clothes, and my cooking. I try to deflect the comments, but she will not let it go. Recently, my husband and I adopted two rescue dogs and posted pictures of them in Facebook. I then get a text from my sister-in-law telling me that I have to change the names of my dogs because she is going to use those names for her kids, and that she is now pregnant but I can’t tell anyone. This is ridiculous and I don’t know what to do. Do I just ignore her and hope it goes away? Share the text and get raked over the coals for spoiling the pregnancy surprise? Post tons of pictures of my dogs and refer to them as my babies? I have to live with this woman in my life and I don’t want to hurt my brother but I am not changing the names of my dogs.
—Changing Names, Keeping Boundaries


This is a sister-in-law for the record books! I’ve heard of plenty of fights over baby names, but I’ve yet to come across the dog-versus–unborn baby combo, where the dogs in question have already been named and the baby does not yet exist. I almost—almost—admire her ability to mine conflict from a seemingly peaceful landscape. As tempting as it might be to start rubbing Ruby and Synthesizer in your sister-in-law’s face, I think gentle nonengagement is the road to hoe here. “We’re not going to change the dog’s names, but congratulations on your pregnancy! What exciting news.” Don’t get drawn into an argument or an explanation for your behavior, because what she’s asking is so absurd that the only response it merits is a flat refusal. There is a nonzero possibility that this pregnancy is invented solely to try to get you to do what she wants, which is why she asked you and not your brother, and why she’s swearing you to secrecy now. Perhaps I’m being paranoid, but your sister-in-law has already displayed a propensity for the irrational, and it’s quite a coincidence she favors the name of both your pets, not just one. Plenty of dogs have human names and vice versa; your sister’s children, whenever they come into being, will have to share their names, no matter how unique, with any number of other humans and animals. They’ll be just fine.
cereta: Nixie from Mako's Mermaids (Nixie)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: My brother got married a year ago after dating for less than a year. His wife started calling my parents Mom and Dad from the get-go. I didn't realize how much it would bother me, but it does and, frankly, I resent her for it.

I'm very close to my parents, and I view our bond as sacred. To me, Mom and Dad aren't names you use lightly, to be cute or as a term of endearment. The relationship is earned and unique.

I would never think of calling my husband's parents Mom and Dad, and I don't feel that I'm offending them by not doing so. Is there a proper way to discuss this with my brother and sister-in-law without hurting feelings or creating tension? -- ANNOYED SISTER-IN-LAW

DEAR ANNOYED: Calm down and curb the attitude, because if you say anything you will appear to be jealous and petty. What your sister-in-law is doing is very common. Regardless of what she calls your parents, you are still their daughter and she is not. If they didn't like her calling them Mom and Dad, I'm sure they would let her know they preferred she choose something else.
cereta: Owl with roses (Masque owl)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: My son is more than likely going to win a trip to the Dominican Republic through his employer. He's planning to take his wife with him. Their two children will stay with me or their other grandma.

With the way the world is now, I wouldn't go on a vacation with my husband, fly to another country and leave my children behind. I would let him go alone so that in case something happens, my kids would have at least one parent left.

I understand that we should not give in to fear and give up what we like to do, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take logical precautions. My children would be more important to me than a vacation. What is your opinion on this? -- LIVING IN THE REAL WORLD

DEAR LIVING: My opinion is that you should stay out of it, and let your son and daughter-in-law enjoy that hard-earned vacation. If they were visiting a country where the threat level was high, I might think differently. However, to repeat what you said in your letter, "we should not give in to fear and give up what we like to do" because we are afraid of what "might" happen. That's not living; it is hiding.
cereta: Nixie from Mako's Mermaids (Nixie)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I have been married to my husband for a year. We dated for four years before the wedding, and we have a son together. The child and I have never met any of my husband's immediate family. I have never spoken to any of them over the phone, either.

He has met all of my family members. I have asked repeatedly to meet his, and he tells me he's planning a family trip to visit. He seemed annoyed when I brought it up. What should I do? -- LEFT OUT IN FLORIDA

DEAR LEFT OUT: That you have had no contact with these people in the five years you've been in the picture is, frankly, beyond strange. It appears there may be some things your husband hasn't told you. He may be ashamed of his family, on the outs with them, or they were never told about his involvement with you and/or the existence of their grandchild.

Because you have now been a member of their family for a year, pick up the phone, call your in-laws and introduce yourself.

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