Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I am 21 and have a baby with my boyfriend, “Emmett,” who is 19. I love him dearly, but I don’t know what to do with him. He is unemployed and goes out all the time.
I am stuck with two young children at home while Emmett does nothing but sleep and party. I continue to support him, but he hardly helps with the children or around the house. There are several minimum wage positions available to him, but he’s stubborn and wants something better. He says he wants to support the family on his own. As much as I would love that, it’s just not possible at this time.
Also, Emmett is mean, saying I complain too much about what he needs to do, that it will happen in time. I’ve suggested counseling because we fight so much, but he refuses. Meanwhile, he is draining my finances with his constant speeding tickets and, most recently, a broken car window that I cannot afford to fix.
How do I convince him to settle for a minimum wage job and work on our relationship before it’s too late? — Love Struck for a Mule
Dear Love Struck: You sound like a sensible woman, but Emmett is 19 and not mature enough to be a responsible partner and father. He wants to have fun with his friends. He resents having to work for a living and support a family. You cannot force him to grow up. Frankly, you’d be better off financially if you asked him to leave and sued for child support.
Dear Annie: I work for a small company, and like many others, we’ve had cutbacks, layoffs and reduced benefits.
One co-worker uses her time to manage her personal life. She does very little work. She is constantly texting, writing e-mails to friends and updating her blog, and she blatantly lies about the length of time she takes for a lunch break.
The company is paying her to do nothing, while others have lost their jobs. I brought this situation to the attention of the managers last year, and her behavior has only worsened. I feel it is immoral for her to be paid a full salary for not working, while others are being cut back.
How far up the corporate chain should I take this without risking my own job? — Frustrated Worker
Dear Frustrated: If your company has an HR department, you can register a complaint there. It’s possible this woman has some kind of “protected” status. While it isn’t fair, you cannot force management to get rid of her. The best you can do is focus on your own job and try to ignore her.
Dear Annie: I’d like to share my solution for teaching children manners. When my children were 9, 8 and 7, we started a tradition of formal Thursday night dinners. I would shop in the morning and cook all afternoon, and then we would eat in the dining room with the good china, silver and crystal.
The children had a choice: If they wished to build mashed potato forts and shoot each other with pea cannonballs, that was fine. But it meant they would have their supper in the kitchen.
On the other hand, if they wished to eat with us in the dining room, they had to use their very best grownup manners. That included eating with the proper forks from a choice of at least three, as well as two knives.
They always chose the dining room, and their manners were impeccable. I’m proud of them. — No Pea Shooters in My Home
Dear No: Very impressive. You made eating in the dining room a way to feel grown up and accomplished. It undoubtedly was a source of pride for them, as well.
Annie’s Snippet for Income Tax Day (author unknown): Did you ever notice that when you put the words “The” and “IRS” together, it spells “THEIRS”?
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.15.11