Dear Gabby Gayle: My daughter is so frustrated with her husband that I told her I was going to write for advice. They have four children under 8 years old. My daughter quit her teaching job to stay home. Two of the kids are doing virtual learning at home. Her husband makes a nice living so money is not an issue. My daughter is practically running all day helping with online learning and managing the two who are not in school. She often doesn’t get the meal on time or get his favorite clothes washed and ironed. Her husband complains that she did better when she was working. When he comes home and sees the house in disarray he looks around and says, “What did you do all day?” She says it makes her so mad she wants to explode. Any advice?
Dear Worried: Years ago, I was in your daughter’s spot. I had six children at home during the summer. I spent quality time with my kids and my house was often in disarray. At that time, I saw a “Family Circus” cartoon by Bil Keane in which the husband always asked his wife what she had done all day. So, she decided one day she wouldn’t do anything. When husband came home, the house and wife and kids were in total disarray. The kids and wife were still in their pajamas, dirty dishes everywhere, toys everywhere. Husband says in amazement: “What is going on?” Wife says, “You always ask me what I did all day. Well, today I didn’t do it.” I did this exact thing to my husband. He never again asked me what I did all day.
Tell your daughter to try it. She too will be amazed at just how much she does in a day!
Dear Gabby Gayle: I am 80 years old and not in good health. My husband is in even worse shape than I. He has fallen several times and lately broke a hip. I am struggling to take care of him and myself and the house. My kids have suggested alternative living arrangements. I am ready, but my husband says absolutely no. I can see this situation going downhill, but what can I do?
Dear Help: This is a scenario that is playing itself out in many elderly households in the country. It is not always the man who rebels against giving up the family home. Sometimes it is the woman. My advice is to tell your husband that it is much better to shop around and find a place that meets their needs, and is a place they feel good about, than waiting till one of them has a health emergency that will require them to be “put” somewhere, not of their choosing. I don’t like the idea of being “put” somewhere, do you? I suggest you get some outside help for a few hours a day for now, while you look around from your armchair. When most congregate-care facility residents and staff have been vaccinated against the virus, it will be safe to visit the places you have chosen from your armchair search. If he is still dead set against it, tell him you are going anyway! He will soon realize he wants to be with you.
Good luck, GG
Dear Gabby Gayle: I am a 60-year-old widow who has fallen in love with a 70-year-old man who only winters in my city. In April, he will return to his northern city for six months. I never thought I would fall in love again but here I am. I am not willing to move for six months to his place because all my kids live here (not that he has asked me!). Neither do I cherish having a love affair for six months of the year. What would you do?
Dear EG: I would probably go wherever my man would go, if I were truly in love with him. In these last years I would treasure every moment of love. It is a gift!