Joyous Empty Nesters!
Dear Margo: We are empty-nest parents. We’re having a great time while our two daughters are in college. Finally, we have the freedom to do some adult activities without worrying about boring or embarrassing the kids. For example, the art museum instead of a soccer game every Saturday. Sleeping in vs. getting up and getting them off to school. No more PTA meetings. No waiting up for them to come home from dates. (We didn’t tell them that we couldn’t sleep while they were out with some of those yahoos they dated.) Weekends at a nearby resort hotel come to mind. Then, of course, there’s the sex on the living room couch, which was impossible when they were home, for fear they would get up and wander around the house at an inopportune time.
We love our daughters dearly, but it’s time for them to spread their wings and fly. We only hope they will not show up unexpectedly on a Sunday afternoon lest their mother die of embarrassment. We have friends who seem bereft when their kids are out of the house. Are we the oddballs? — Empty Nest Dad
Dear Emp: I’m with you. I think by the time kids are grown up enough to be out of the house, parents have earned the right to say goodbye to PTA meetings and have sex on the couch. I never did get it with the Velcro parents who had no life outside of their children. Your attitude to your kids being off to college sounds very healthy to me, and I’m so happy you’re enjoying yourselves. Sounds like a job well done. — Margo, approvingly
Dear Margo: I’m a mom with four children under the age of 7. I am also a part-time student in a rigorous science program that takes up a lot of my time. While school is in session, my husband and I do not entertain guests, nor do we travel. We have found that in order to keep our house livable, the kids happy and healthy, and my schoolwork on track, we need to limit distractions. Most of our friends and family are aware of this and have no problem scheduling time to see us during my breaks from school. The problem is my mother-in-law.
She is upset that we won’t let her visit while I am in school. My mother-in-law technically does not have a home of her own (she has a boyfriend she stays with sometimes), so she spends her time traveling between my husband’s siblings’ homes. We don’t live in the same state, so she has mostly left us alone. Unfortunately, she has all but worn out her welcome with one sister-in-law due to her trying to take over. She likes to redecorate, cook and mother the children without anyone’s permission.
She is now talking about coming to stay with us for “a little while.” I am sure this would turn into an extended stay. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I cannot compromise my educational program — and our financial future — to suit this woman. How do I explain to her that we cannot have company while school is in session? — Doing It All
Dear Do: You don’t. Your husband does. (Happily, it sounds as though he concurs with the program you are living by.) He has to explain to his mother the system you’ve worked out, and from which you do not deviate, so that you can meet the primary responsibilities in your lives. Suggest a visit during one of your “open” times. (Too bad you can’t use the cook, decorator and nanny services.) — Margo, resolutely
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
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