I don’t want my husband to move his parents’ furniture.

My in-laws are moving and they asked my husband and his brothers to help them get rid of some furniture by moving it from their home to a consignment store. My husband is not very fit, he does not work out, and he earns a very good living and supports our family. We are happy and comfortable in our life and I am afraid that if he hurts himself moving this furniture it could affect our life and his ability to support his family. Chancing a back injury from moving this old furniture so my in-laws can make some money from it doesn’t seem worth it. I am sure my sisters-in-law feel the same way about their husbands. 

I want to call them and get together as a united front to tell my husband and his brothers that they should pay a moving company or hire someone to move the furniture. I am afraid though that my husband will get mad at me for interfering. He and his brothers are happy to move the stuff. I just feel strongly about this. Should I say something?

If your husband and his brothers were jumping out of an airplane with their pants on fire and a rabid gorilla on the parachute behind them, I would say, Sure. Go ahead. Point out how this could potentially be risky. 

But moving furniture? I hate to brag about this, but I have superhuman powers, where as soon as my husband and children leave the house, I become some kind of hulking beast-woman who can move a three-part sectional all by myself to a different floor of the house. In normal life, I make my husband take out the garbage because a full Hefty bag is too heavy to carry out to the driveway. This appears to be genetic, because one time I saw my mom pick up a piano with just her pinky.

Your husband isn’t going to get hurt. His brothers aren’t going to get hurt. You only get a few opportunities in your life to raise a major stink involving all of your in-laws, and I don’t think you should waste it on furniture transportation. Save it for the time your brother-in-law tries to book you all a family reunion at a nudist resort. I think you’re feeling resentful about the move, or about your husband’s parents asking him to do something, or about them not paying for movers, or whatever.

Don’t make a fuss over this. It will stress your husband out over something not worth another thought. I would even go so far as to suggest that you make a potato salad and get some beers, and invite everyone over for a little cookout after they finish moving the stuff. Have a nice family day. Everyone’s going to be fine.

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My friends might be tacky.

I invited some friends over to hang out and swim last weekend. They said, we will bring some food, and brought cheeseburgers to grill and buns. Then they said, you owe us $20.00 for your share of the food. It was so awkward and tacky! What would you do?

I would say, “You owe us $20.00 for the chlorine you used, so I guess we’re even!”

I wouldn’t, really. But I would think they were uncouth. That’s right. Uncouth. Is there a worse insult in the world for suburban people with pools and cheeseburgers? No. I don’t think so.

You invited them over for the pleasure of their company, so I guess you should just enjoy their company. No biggie.


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I want to be a good aunt.

My older sister just had a baby, and I’m in my early 20s and don’t know much about babies or being an aunt. I find this experience amazing so far and am anxious but happy about all the changes in our relationship and our lives. What role can I take and how can I be involved in the little girl’s life? I’d like to be a help to my sister and have a good time with the baby, too. What can I do to be a good aunt?

Well, hello, sis. You came to the right place for this one, because I just happen to be the best aunt in the history of aunts. I have three nephews and six nieces, and I’m probably everyone’s favorite. Not to brag; it’s just true.

There’s one tiny little issue here, though…I know you love your sister, whatever, she’ll be fine. She doesn’t want parenting advice or help from a 22-year-old who doesn’t know shit about babies or kids. She already loves you, and you’re very sweet to want to help her, so let’s just accept the fact that being a good aunt, sometimes, will mean being a terrible sister or sister-in-law. Actually, now that I think of it, just think of the things your sister doesn’t want you to do, then do them, and you’ll be a great aunt.

For instance:

Sister’s Stance: “Susie loves Cinderella, and I hate princesses and all they stand for–patriarchy, needing a man to save you, big poofy dresses, and the concept that women naturally turn against each other. My daughter will never be into princesses.”
Your action: Buy Susie a Cinderella dress, plastic glass slippers, and a tiara. You’re a bad sister, but you’re a good aunt.

Sister’s Stance: “My daughters can’t wear makeup! It makes your eyelashes fall out and they take too long getting ready for school already as it is. They’re beautiful without it.”
Your action: Next time you see them, smuggle mascara and purple eyeliner into their handbags, along with makeup removing wipes and a note that says, “I would never condone this, but here’s something interesting I read on the internet: you can put makeup on, AND remove it, on the school bus!” Your sister will never find out, and your niece will love you, and therefore, you’re a good aunt.

Sister’s Stance: “Thank you for watching the baby overnight. We’re working really hard on getting her to sleep through the night in her crib, so if she fusses, please don’t take her out.”
Your action: The second that little bundle makes a peep, immediately fetch her from the crib, put her in bed with you, and snuggle all night. Babies can’t tell on you, so your sister won’t even know what a good aunt you are, but it won’t matter, because your niece will be happy.

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My wife is miserable and probably doesn’t like me anymore.

My wife was pretty openly miserable this past year, and we were fighting, and she hinted that she wanted me out of the house. Things are a little better recently, but she is very calm and open about how although she is unhappy, she is willing to live with it because of the children. How can I make it better?

I’m wondering how one hints that one wants her husband to move out of the house. Your inbox is full of Craigslist apartment rental listings, your clothes are in boxes in the back of your car, and she’s gone ahead and gotten you a PO Box, and you’re all, “Honey, what’s for dinner? And by the way, why did you change all the locks on the house?”

And now that I’m done making fun of you, I can tell you that there’s a possibility that you can make it better, but you might not be able to. There’s only one person who knows the real situation, and that’s your wife. I’m going to suggest something insane here, but it might just work: talk to her. And listen to her. Don’t accuse or blame or guilt-trip or defend or suggest or make excuses or pontificate or wax nostalgic or screech angrily or interrupt, and just ask her. What’s wrong? What happened? I love you and I want to be married to you. How can we make this better? And then listen carefully to the answer. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand. It’s possible that it’s simple, like you’re taking her for granted, or complicated, like she’s not in love with you anymore.  But if you know the problem, then you can work on a solution.

You’re asking the right question; you’re just asking the wrong person. And if she’s not in love with you and doesn’t want to be married and is willing to suffer for the kids or the house or whatever, you probably owe it to yourself to be happy, and can make a decision on what you’re willing to live with. 

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My son wants to be a fairy for Halloween.

My four-year-old wants to be a fairy for Halloween. A fairy-princess kind of fairy. I don’t have an issue with it at all, but my husband is not happy about it. He says he’s going to get made fun of, but I think it goes deeper than that. More like he doesn’t want his boy to dress like a girl. I told my husband to back off and let him be what he wants. Is this the right thing to do?

Sure it’s the right thing to do, if you want your kid to be a fairy when he grows up. One minute, he’s just a regular kid, eating paste and wearing his underpants on the outside of his clothes, and the next minute, he’s a fairy. Disappearing from his room in the middle of the night to go put happy spells on wood gnomes, growing wings under his t-shirt, throwing dust on people to make them fly, partying with goblins, eating moonbeams and flitting around the town leaving presents for children. Nobody wants that. What kind of life will he have? Certainly not the one you expected for him!

Your husband should shhhh. Let the kid dress like a fairy. He’ll be happy, and I’m sure that’s what you both want for him.

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Should I let my husband stay at home?

My husband and I have similar earning potential. I have been a stay at home mom for the past two years and enjoyed it, but I would like to go back to work. My husband would now like to stay home with the children. We can afford it, but I worry that he is impatient and untidy and will not be able to handle being a stay-at-home parent. Should we both work or should I let him give it a try?

I’m impatient and untidy. I also procrastinate.  My kids let out a cheer every time I swear because I’m supposed to be putting money into a swear jar as a way to stop me from saying bad words, but instead of being a deterrent, it’s just making my kids rich. Sometimes I ask the kids what they want for breakfast, and if it seems too complicated and I’m feeling lazy, I’m like, tough luck , and give them cereal. I have said the following terrible things to my children: Why can’t you color like a normal person? You are a revolting human being! Stop whistling or I’ll tape your mouth shut!

But I’m also a great mom. (Not bragging. It’s a fact.) I’ve learned some patience, and how to be more tidy, because of being a stay-at-home parent. If your husband wants to spend time with the kids, encourage it. He, and they, will remember this time for the rest of their lives. So what if your house is messy for a few years? You can clean it up after they’re all in school.


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I want to have kids. I have no one to have them with and the timing is bad, but still…

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about having babies, like this thought keeps popping up over and over again. But the career path that I am planning to embark on will probably lead to me being an older mom. How do I know if I’m making the right choice, and how can I find out more before getting committed to one path or another? I am in my mid-twenties.

I need perspective on this, being a woman in an urban setting, college educated, and hoping for more education and life experience before having kids. None of my peers or close friends are even married, though many of them have settled down, but none of them want kids any time soon, so it’s hard to discuss this with them.

Career-wise, my goals involve it will involve a long, committed training program that will make kids impossible for at least a few years. The truth is, though, I would love to meet someone and have kids within the next few years. If I feel this way now, what are the chances that at 35, I’ll really regret not starting a family, even if it requires dialing down the career goals?
You can start a family when you’re 35. 35 isn’t 100. You’re not going to be some wrinkled hormonally-depleted dried up old hag with dead eggs falling out of your body with every step. I know a lot of people who had their first kid at 35. I know people who were even older than the ancient, ancient age of 35 when they had their first child. I’m not at all defensive because I’m over 35 and you’re acting like 35 is when your life comes to a screeching halt. I’ll have you know, I went out dancing the other night. It was 80s night, and the young people were all there dancing ironically and my friend and I were dancing for real, but whatever. I was still dancing. And out.
Stop thinking about babies.  They smell good and sometimes they come running at you full speed ahead just to smash their faces into you for a super kiss and scream, “I YOVE YOU!” which is nice. But they also refuse to wear pants in the middle of winter when you’re late for a pediatrician appointment. Sometimes they poop on things, or in things, or under things. They don’t care what time it is–they want a cup of water, and they want it now.
Focus on your career. Go to school, do your training program, have some fun. Chill the f out. Meet someone cool and nice, and develop a nice relationship, and go on some cool trips together, and sleep in on Saturdays. Then have some kids as soon as you’re in a good spot with school and work. You can have a great career and kids, you know. You can even have kids on your own. You can work and your partner can stay home with the kids, or you can both work and send them to daycare, which your mom will probably judge, but it’s none of her business, or anyone’s business, how you decide to raise your family.
Just relax and enjoy yourself. Work hard at doing something you love. For Christ’s sake, just settle down. Or find someone with kids who will let you spend a weekend with them alone, and I bet you change your mind reeeeeaaallllllll fast.

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