Sug­gest that hol­i­day crit­ics step up and lend a hand

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - 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 P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY >> The hol­i­days are com­ing, and this year it’s my turn to host Thanks­giv­ing. I’m a full-time work­ing mom with two ac­tive chil­dren, and I also vol­un­teer. No mat­ter how hard I will work at clean­ing my house be­fore the rel­a­tives come, I know there’ll be ar­eas that aren’t spot­less. There’s just not enough time in the sched­ule.

I have rel­a­tives who will make sure to point out what needs to be done, or cri­tique how I have ar­ranged my fur­ni­ture, or what I did or didn’t pre­pare for the meal. How do I gra­ciously han­dle th­ese com­ments? I want to be an ex­am­ple to my chil­dren on how to be a gra­cious host­ess, even when deal­ing with crit­i­cal or rude com­ments.

— Un­der pres­sure in Ohio

DEAR UN­DER PRES­SURE >> You would be amazed what a per­son can get away with if it’s said with a warm smile. If some­one crit­i­cizes your house­keep­ing, smile and say, “Oh, re­ally? I must have missed it. The vac­uum cleaner is in the closet. Be an angel and take care of it for me, will you?” The same goes for where you keep your duster.

If your rel­a­tives don’t like what’s on your menu, sug­gest sweetly that next time they come they bring some­thing they will en­joy. It would be a lot more gra­cious than show­ing the per­son the door.

DEAR ABBY >> I have been in a re­la­tion­ship with a won­der­ful man for more than a year. He has sole cus­tody of his 10-year-old son, “Jor­dan.” Be­cause of our fi­nan­cial cir­cum­stances at the time, we moved in with each other right away. Jor­dan’s mother is not in the picture and, un­for­tu­nately, I in­her­ited her par­ent­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties be­cause of it.

Jor­dan is a sweet boy, but I have no emo­tional at­tach­ment to him. To be hon­est, I’m dis­ap­pointed ev­ery time he walks in the door af­ter school and I’m forced to stop what I am do­ing in or­der to care for him.

Abby, I thought I would be­come more at­tached to Jor­dan as time went on, but in­stead, I’m feel­ing re­sent­ful. I’m em­bar­rassed to have made a com­mit­ment to this man and his son and to have ended up in this sit­u­a­tion. I don’t want to break up with the love of my life, but I don’t want to sac­ri­fice the next eight years of my life rais­ing a child who isn’t mine. Do you have any ad­vice for me? — Con­flicted in Sacra­mento,

Calif.

DEAR CON­FLICTED >> Yes, as a mat­ter of fact, I do. If Jor­dan’s father is re­ally “the love of your life,” you had bet­ter ac­cept that he and his son are a pack­age deal and treat the child with love. If you can’t man­age that, then do them both a fa­vor and bow out of the picture NOW.

P.S. And be­cause none of this is Jor­dan’s fault, while you’re pack­ing, as­sure him that your leav­ing has noth­ing to do with him, only with you. It’s the truth, and that way, he won’t blame him­self for some­thing that’s not his fault.

DEAR ABBY >> My son was mar­ried twice to dif­fer­ent women. I had two daugh­ters-in-law. He is now mar­ried to a man. Is his spouse my son-in-law?

— Mom in Maine

DEAR MOM >> Yes. Re­fer to him as your son-in-law and, if your son is fi­nally happy with his spouse, your “son-in-love.”

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