Ask Amy

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 12:00am

DEAR AMY: My brother-in-law moved in with us recently, and now it seems that he and my husband visit the local bar for several hours four, five, six days per week. I am left at home with our two small children.

I miss having family time and adult conversation.

My husband knows how I feel but continues to go out. Recently, he started asking me each time if I mind if he goes out.

If I say, "Yes, I do mind," then I feel I am being clingy, needy and possessive.

I don't like feeling that way, but if I tell him to make his own decision or if I say that he should go ahead and go, then, according to him, I am "playing games." I don't like that either.

What should I do?

— Worried Wife

No responsible husband and parent should go to a bar four to six nights a week.

Your husband is behaving like an adolescent, and now he is gaslighting you into acting like his mommy.

Neat trick.

He really needs a useful hobby; he should also have a role at home that extends beyond playing frat boy with his brother.

You and your husband could work things out for now by compromising on how your week should go.

Perhaps he can go out one night, you can go out with your friends one night and then one night you two could go out together while his brother takes care of the kids (that is, only if you deem him to be a responsible adult; obviously, I have my doubts).

Also, because your husband can't seem to handle the ongoing temptation presented by his brother's presence in the household, if things don't change, the brother needs to go.

It's your household too, and you should have a say over who lives there.

Your feelings belong to you, and you get to choose how to react. If you're upset about this, then be honest about it and say so.

If your husband doesn't like your reaction to his behavior, then that's his problem to solve.

DEAR AMY: My husband and I are expecting our fourth child this year.

We have three sons and recently found out that we'll be having another boy.

We couldn't be happier, but strangers apparently find this hard to believe. Several have commented that we must have been trying for a girl, and some have even expressed sympathy by saying things such as "I'm so sorry" and "Better luck next time."

My husband and I are appalled at these comments, particularly when made in front of our three older sons.

What is an appropriate way to respond to these ignorant individuals?

— Chagrined in Chicagoland

DEAR CHAGRINED: The thought that strangers are weighing in on your motives or the gender of your unborn child is pretty shocking. Go ahead and act shocked.

"Wow — I can't believe you just said that," you can say.

Make light of this with your kids. Make sure to tell them that everybody knows boys are awesome.

More boys means there is just more awesome to go around.

DEAR AMY: I'm responding to the letter from "Mom" about her toddler having a meltdown in a store.

This mom doesn't seem to think this bothers other people. The child probably needs discipline, lest he or she grow up continuing the selfish and offensive, inconsiderate behavior.

Not everything revolves around children. Airplanes are particularly bad places for those of us who don't want to listen to screaming children who are too old to be behaving like that and observe mothers who let them get away with this behavior.

On a recent flight, we sat in front of a girl who was way too old to behave that way, and her mother should have taken her to the lavatory and spanked her. When a fellow passenger said he didn't want to sit next to her, the mother was offended!

— Cindy

DEAR CINDY: Spanking is not the answer. Corporal punishment only works in the minds of people witnessing the dynamics of other people's families.

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