Stay-at-home mom seeks adult con­tact by giv­ing art lessons

The Progress-Index Weekend - - LIFESTYLES - Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I am a shy, 30-year-old woman. I stay at home with our 10-mon­thold, pri­mar­ily be­cause of our fam­ily's fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.

I am gifted in the vis­ual arts, but be­cause I don't have an art de­gree, I'm un­able to pur­sue a pro­fes­sional job in the arts. In­stead, I have been ad­ver­tis­ing to teach pri­vate art lessons at home. One month in, I have one stu­dent.

The past months have been lonely, and I am aching for friend­ship. My hus­band doesn't seem to un­der­stand this. We know one fam­ily, but we are not close. I am con­sid­er­ing of­fer­ing free lessons to their kinder­gart­ner be­cause it would not only help me to de­velop pro­fes­sion­ally, but also give me some adult in­ter­ac­tion, which I des­per­ately need. Again, my hus­band doesn't un­der­stand this, and doesn't want me to teach this child for free. How can I make him see?

— UN­FUL­FILLED ARTIST IN PENN­SYL­VA­NIA

DEAR ARTIST: Your hus­band ap­pears to be un­usu­ally con­trol­ling. Have you told him the rea­son you want to give the fam­ily free art lessons is so you can have some much­needed adult in­ter­ac­tion? If you haven't, you should, rather than keep silent.

He should not be iso­lat­ing you the way he ap­pears to be, which strikes me as wor­ri­some. Is his mo­ti­va­tion for keep­ing you in the house and away from oth­ers the money or some­thing else?

I think you should try do­ing what you have in mind and see how it works out. And if there are other young moth­ers in your area who gather so their chil­dren can so­cial­ize, per­haps you could at­tend and make some friend­ships there. If your hus­band con­tin­ues to be as pos­ses­sive as he ap­pears to be, con­sider call­ing the Na­tional Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Hot­line at (800) 799-7233 for sug­ges­tions.

P.S. I en­cour­age you to go for that de­gree as soon as you are fi­nan­cially able.

DEAR ABBY: My grand­son is 16, a good stu­dent, a great ath­lete and pop­u­lar. We are very proud of him. The prob­lem is, he has ter­ri­ble acne and picks at his face con­stantly.

His mother, my daugh­ter-in-law, is a nurse prac­ti­tioner and a germa­phobe. I'm con­stantly sur­prised that she doesn't take him to a der­ma­tol­o­gist and re­mind him to keep his hands away from the sores on his face. I know it isn't my place to cor­rect him or sug­gest a der­ma­tol­o­gist. She cer­tainly is aware that he has a prob­lem, but she acts like it doesn't bother her.

While I re­al­ize this is a stage many teenagers go through and it will pass, his con­stant pick­ing keeps his face red and look­ing ir­ri­tated. Is there any­thing I can say or do to help with­out in­trud­ing in their space?

— CAR­ING GRANDMA IN TEXAS

DEAR GRANDMA: Yes. Your grand­son would not be pick­ing at the pim­ples if they didn't bother HIM. Point out to your daugh­ter-in-law that while your grand­son's acne may be "just a phase," there are things that can be done to clear it up, and the so­lu­tion is to con­sult a der­ma­tol­o­gist be­fore he gives him­self scars that may last a life­time. This would not be in­trud­ing. It would be act­ing like the lov­ing, car­ing grand­par­ent that you are.

TO MY JEWISH READ­ERS: The eight days of Hanukkah be­gin at sun­down. (So EARLY this year!) Happy Hanukkah, ev­ery­one! A joy­ous Fes­ti­val of Lights to all of us!

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.

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