Q: I am recently engaged, and both my fiance and his mother keep trying to set up “play dates” between his mom, my mom and me. I understand this may be a social norm so the mothers of an engaged couple can get to know each other during the engagement. However, my mom wants nothing to do with these dates.
Mom works long hours in the medical field. When she isn’t working, she’s frequently baby-sitting my sister’s children. When she has free time, she enjoys being alone and reading a good book. This is her ideal way to spend her time, and she doesn’t want to “hang out” with anyone but my dad. I have explained this more than once to my fiance, yet he and his mom still try to set up meetings.
In defense of my mom, she and my fiance’s mother have known each other longer than my fiance and I have known each other. They live about a mile apart and have met many, many times. I don’t understand why more meetups are necessary.
It’s getting to the point where I wish they’d stop asking my mom to do things, because I always have to awkwardly say no. Must I drag Mom somewhere I know she’d rather not be, or should my fiance let this go? — Too Much Togetherness
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A: Marriage is supposed to be a blending of two families, which may be why your fiance and his mother are so persistent. However, you should not be a message carrier and feel stuck in the middle because it isn’t fair to you.
Tell your fiance that if his mother wants to get together with yours, she should call your mother herself. That way your mom can explain directly that because of her busy schedule — and her short list of priorities — she is not available.
Q: I’m a single father raising my four children alone. My problem may seem trivial and minor, but it’s extremely taxing for me. My kids refuse to stop talking during my very brief television/movie time.
I work full time and take care of them by myself, and my two-hour escape via a movie or TV show is constantly interrupted. When I point out that what they are doing is rude and even disruptive, I am met with accusations that I “don’t care about them” or “You love TV more than me.” They somehow turn my anger around to their benefit. Please help. — Me Time in Florida
A: Welcome to parenthood! It’s a 24-hour-a-day job, seven days a week.
You didn’t mention how old your children are, but if they are under the age of 13, they should have a regular bedtime. Once they are in bed, you can have your “me time.” However, if they are older, then accept that teenagers may need to communicate with their dad about things that are important, and it is more important to be available to them than to watch television every night.
P.S. Suggestion: Perhaps you can record or stream your shows and watch them at a later time when your kids don’t need you.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.