DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for almost a decade and our beautiful daughter is 3 years old. We do not plan to have more children for health and personal reasons. I feel constant pressure from other mom-friends and couples to go on vacation without my daughter. While my husband would agree with that, I am not. We had plenty of time to travel before our daughter arrived and plan to continue to do so with her.
My husband respects my feelings and understands where I’m from but unfortunately none of our friends do. This is when they make me feel like I’m crazy for not wanting to leave my child for an extended period of time. They all say they need a “break” with their kids. I just don’t feel the same. Should I force myself to leave my daughter and go on vacation without her? Or am I right to feel what I am feeling?
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that everyone is different. Some people think a vacation without children is what they need, and for me that is perfectly fine. It’s just that they make me feel that something is wrong with me that is bothering me. I’m not doing this to them. I respect their decisions, so why don’t they do the same? – STAYING MOM DEAR MOM: I don’t think these friends intend to appear disrespectful. You may have had your child later than them, and their children may be older, which may explain why they feel they need a break. I’m surprised, however, that anyone expects you to take an “extended” one. Please try to keep your sense of humor on this. If you don’t care to join in the fun, you don’t have to.
DEAR ABBY: A few months before my son “Travis” was 18, he moved into a friend’s house. The year before he left it seemed like he was going out of his way to upset me and my youngest son, who is 7 years old. Travis would alienate his little brother, and when a reaction occurred, Travis blamed him for reacting.
Travis missed 37 days of school and claimed it was my fault. He refused to help with household chores and was angry every day for something. When he left, we talked about it at length, but he neither confessed nor apologized for his behavior. I feel guilty for not wanting a relationship with him because he doesn’t have a lot of supportive people in his life. But how can I support someone who, in my opinion, does not deserve my support? – MOM TORN IN ILLINOIS
DEAR MOM: Support your son by continuing to love him as you always have. Support him by encouraging him to graduate from high school and possibly counseling a licensed mental health professional so he can identify and resolve his issues. What you should NOT do is support him financially under these circumstances. Let him know that you will always be there for him if he changes his mind. At 18, he must learn to take responsibility for the decisions he makes. Moving under the circumstances you described was a bad choice.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.