A: Absolutely not. I’m sure your friends and family mean well, but they have no idea what’s truly best for you. You can quote a song by Billie Holiday the next time they bring up the subject. Simply respond, “‘Ain’t nobody’s business if I do.’ Or don’t.”
Q: How do you handle unruly children in public and parents who do nothing to try to corral them?
A: Shoot them the laser death glare. That’s about all you can do.
Q: How do you deal with people talking loudly on cellphones in the grocery store and other public places?
A: See answer above.
Q: My husband is forever critical of my 10-year-old son, his stepson. I think truthfully the two are a lot alike, and my husband sees the things he doesn’t like about himself in his stepson. To me, he comes across as easily exasperated, impatient, critical, at times just mean. This is pretty much the only area of our marriage where things aren’t hunky dory. I count my blessings about that but ouch! It hurts to have strife between two of my nearest and dearest loved ones.
I’ve tried to gently point these things out to hubby. He tends to get defensive and throw his hands up and say things like “Well, fine. I just can’t do anything right.” This makes me want to pinch his little head off. Thoughts?
A: It’s time to have a Come to Jesus meeting with hubby. The two of you need to be unified in how you raise your son. Talk through the issues and concerns until you are of one accord. This won’t be easy or quick, especially since your husband will have to do some soul-searching, and both of you will have to make concessions.
Remember that having a step-parent — or being a step-parent — often brings a primordial layer of tension into the family. I experienced this at the age of 10 when my mother remarried. Her timing was exquisite: she married an Iranian shortly before the American hostages were taken in Tehran. This new strange man seemed like an intruder, and we loathed each other.
Instead of pinching hubby’s head off, face this problem head-on. Work to find a compromise. It’s the most loving thing you can do for your son and your marriage.
Q: I constantly feel like I’m nothing after six years of working my behind off to be something. How can I be happy at work when I feel like this?
A: Quit defining yourself by your job. You are so much more than what you do from 9 to 5. Your position is as meaningless as the type of car you drive, your income, how you look, or who you know. As long as you attach your identity to your work, you will never have satisfaction or peace. Why? Because you are living an illusion that says your happiness depends on superficial, worldly things. You are drowning in shallow water. Real contentment and joy are found in the deep undercurrents. That is where your value lies.
Don’t deceive yourself any longer. You’re operating in the wrong realm. As Antoine De Saint-Exupery says in “The Little Prince,” “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
I’m so sorry that you are miserable. I suspect that your work is not aligned with your purpose. I’d bet that you’re not using your God-given talents for the highest good. The best part is that you can reclaim your joy. Begin to feed your passions and use your natural gifts. This is more effective than any happy pill on the market. Dive underneath the surface to the place where you feel renewed. Find your sanctuary and dwell there.
Send your questions to
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Visit her at thecrackerqueen.com.