Ottawa Citizen

Overburden­ed mom won’t travel to in-laws



I gave birth to my fourth child a few months ago. I am now being pressured by my in-laws, who live in another state, to visit. They expect me to pack up the six of us and drive three hours to a house that is not child-friendly. I am just not up to it this time. I would gladly throw open my doors to any and all who would like to visit and see the grandchild­ren, but traveling has become too much for me. I just can’t go anywhere at this time. Can’t they see that for me, traveling is no longer a “diversion” but a cumbersome undertakin­g? Or am I the one being difficult? GUILT-RIDDEN,


Sometimes people become so used to the status quo that they overlook the reality that circumstan­ces change. Quit trying so hard to be a people-pleaser. Tell your in-laws they are welcome to visit but that with the arrival of your fourth child under the age of 6, travel has become too much for you. And please do not feel guilty for speaking up. Your husband should support you on this — unless he is willing to do his share of the packing, the driving and entertaini­ng the children while they are en route. DEAR ABBY:

I have been dating a wonderful man for a year. We love each other but when I tell him I’m IN love with him, he never responds. He says he doesn’t know what that means.He says it doesn’t make sense to him. Please help me explain to him what it means to be in love. DEAR IN LOVE:

If you have to explain to this wonderful man what it means to be in love, then I’m sorry to be the one to tell you he may not BE in love with you. While it’s possible for a man or woman to “love” many people, when someone is IN love, then only the object of that IN LOVE,

New Jersey emotion will satisfy him or her. There is nothing unsure or doubtful about it, and no substitute will suffice. DEAR ABBY:

My husband and I frequently receive birthday cards, Christmas cards and other mail that has been misaddress­ed. I do open these mailings, hoping there will be an address on the inside. Please remind your readers to put on return addresses.

RETURN TO SENDER, Catasauqua, Pennsylvan­ia

I’m pleased to pass DEAR MRS. SMITH: the word along. However, you should not open mail that is addressed to someone else because it is against the law. The envelope should be marked “addressee unknown” and returned to the post office or to your mail carrier. DEAR ABBY:

On Father’s Day many stepdads are often underappre­ciated or excluded, so I wrote this poem to honor these unsung heroes. LESLEY STITT,

Ontario, Canada DEAR LESLEY:

In these times when blended families are common, your tribute is clever, appropriat­e, and certainly worth space in my column. NOT HER FATHER Hey, it’s really not “your day.” I just don’t know what else to say Because, you see, you’re just a “step,” You’re not her dad — you’re just a “rep,” — A stand-in really. Rest assured You’re only there to be endured. Oh! Unless she needs a ride, Or someone there to take her side, And please have money you can lend, ’Cause that’s when you will have a friend. She’s NOT your daughter, though, be clear; You’re not her dad, just someone here. There’s really lots for you to do; And you get all the “good jobs,” too; You get to worry when she’s late, Pick her up from her late date, Comfort her when she’s in tears, And try to calm her teenage fears. And you will get to love her, too, Even though she won’t love you. You’ll get to care for her each day, And see my daughter doesn’t stray From rules that you will get to make — She won’t admit they’re for her sake! She thinks stepdads just aren’t “fun,” You’re just as boring as her mom. You’re only there (you must concede) To see that she’s got all she needs! Father’s Day? Nah, she won’t bother Thanking you — you’re not her father! So let me do it in her stead, As I have done since we were wed. Thanks for all the things you do, And all you are — I love you, too. Happy Father’s Day. Dear Abby is written by Jeanne Phillips, daughter of Pauline Phillips, the original Dear Abby. Write Abby at or c/o The Ottawa Citizen, Box 5020, Ottawa, K2C 3M4. For a reply, send a self-addressed envelope. Abby covers postage. Include name and phone number if you want your letter published.

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