DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for almost a decade, and our beautiful daughter is 3. We're not planning on more children for health and personal reasons. I feel constant pressure from other mom-friends and couples to go on vacation without my daughter. While my husband would be OK with this, I am not. We had plenty of time to travel before our daughter came along, and we plan to continue doing so with her.
My husband respects my feelings and understands where I'm coming from but, unfortunately, none of our friends do. It's at the point where they make me feel like I am crazy for not wanting to leave my child for an extended period of time. They all say they need a "break" from their kids. I simply do not feel the same way. Must I force myself to leave my daughter and go on vacation without her? Or am I right to feel the way I do?
Don't get me wrong -- I understand everyone is different. Some feel that a kid-free vacation is what they need, and to me, that is perfectly fine. It's just that they make me feel like something is wrong with me that's bothering me. I don't do that to them. I respect their decisions, so why don't they do the same? -- MOMMY WHO'S STAYING PUT
DEAR MOMMY: I don't think those friends mean to come across as disrespectful. You may have had your child later than they did, and their children may be older, which might account for the fact they feel they need a break. I'm surprised, however, that anyone would expect you to take an "extended" one. Please try to hang onto your sense of humor about this. If you don't care to join in the "fun," you are not compelled to do it.
DEAR ABBY: A few months before my son "Travis" turned 18, he moved into a friend's house. The year before he left, it seemed like he did everything possible to upset me and my younger son, who is 7. Travis would antagonize his little brother, and when a reaction happened, Travis would blame him for reacting.
Travis missed 37 days of school and claimed it was my fault. He refused to help with chores and was mad every day about something. When he left, we had a long talk about it, but he did not admit it or apologize for his behavior. I feel guilty for not wanting a relationship with him because he doesn't have a lot of supportive people in his life. But how do I be supportive to someone I don't feel deserves my support? -- TORN MOM IN ILLINOIS
DEAR MOM: Support your son by continuing to love him as you always have. Support him by encouraging him to get his high school diploma and, possibly, counseling from a licensed mental health professional so he can figure out what his issues are and resolve them. What you should NOT do is support him financially under these circumstances. Let him know you will always be there for him if he changes his mind. At 18, he needs to learn to take responsibility for the decisions he makes. Moving out under the circumstances you described was a poor choice.