When the holidays roll around, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, my grandparents always host at their home. They spend all day fixing up the house and preparing the food. When it’s time to eat, Grandma Ella’s children think they should be first in the line. If someone else tries (some of us on my grandfather’s side of the family have small children), they grumble and complain.
When the dinner is over, it’s always my mom, one of my two aunts and me doing the dishes and cleaning up. Grandma Ella’s family never helps. They just stroll back into the living room and watch TV or leave to go somewhere else. It would be nice to get some help once in a while, so Mom, my aunts and I could also relax after the meal. Just leaving the mess is not an option. We tried it once, and Grandma and Grandpa ended up doing it. Any advice?
Stressed in Advance in Iowa
Dear Stressed: Gladly! This Thanksgiving when everyone arrives, Grandma and Grandpa should cheerfully inform the happy revelers that small children will be fed first, regardless of whose side of the family they come from. At the same time, each of the adults should be ASSIGNED a cleanup chore so one side of the family isn’t stuck with the entire burden. Unless your grandparents assert themselves, nothing will change, so please suggest this to them in advance.
Dear Abby: When a man is married, who is supposed to come first in his life — his wife or his mother?
Tired of Being Second String
Dear Tired: At the risk of sounding preachy, the Scripture says a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife. As much as a man may love his mother, in order to have a strong and healthy marriage, his wife should come first if he must make a choice.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.