Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Running Out of Time

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I am a 25-year-old woman with two toddlers. My husband, "Clark," works during the day, and I work at night. We have a wonderful relationship, considering what little time we have for each other.

There is one problem. Clark is a total neat freak. He's even kept the children from their toys because the kids make a mess. A few times he's thrown perfectly good toys away. I tell him that kids are messy, and ours are basically pretty neat, and so am I. But he expects our house to look like a magazine cover all of the time.

I feel like all I do is run around the house cleaning floors, toilets, tubs and sinks, vacuuming and picking things up. Clark does it, too. He's always helping out and cleaning, but I still get the feeling he is disappointed in me because I can't do it the way he can.

Clark does everything to perfection. He's into rearranging furniture, and he also decorates. I don't do any of those things as well as he does. He lets me know that he "shuts his mouth" about how I do things because he loves me, but then again, we don't speak much anyway. He says I don't even load the dishwasher correctly.

I am so hurt knowing that he feels this way about me and that I will never be good enough. What should I do? -- Always Have To Keep Up

Dear Always: You're right -- you will never be good enough, because Clark expects perfection, and that is not possible for anyone. He is unreasonable on the subject, and it probably dates back to his childhood. It has nothing to do with you.

Stop competing in the Housework Olympics. Admit to Clark that he does a better job than you, and tell him he's welcome to take over so you can concentrate on raising well-adjusted kids who won't freak out over a spill.

Dear Annie: I am eight months' pregnant with our second child. My husband's mother wants to be with us when our baby is born. So do his sister and his brother's wife. Last time, they promised to stay in the waiting room, but they walked right into the delivery room anyway.


I am a very private person and do not want anyone but my husband and possibly my mom there. I've told my husband this, but he is not good at standing up to his mother, so I don't trust him to tell her to leave, and I know she won't listen to me. Any suggestions? -- Running Out of Time

Dear Running: First, there's no reason to tell your mother-in-law when you go into labor. You can surprise her later. You also can enlist the help of the nurses. Explain the problem NOW, and let them know you don't want anyone in there except Hubby and Mom. Remind them when the time comes, and they will take care of it.

Dear Annie: My wife wears the engagement ring I gave her 41 years ago (which cost $1,000 back then). She also wears my mother's engagement ring, which is twice as big and was purchased about 60 years ago by my father.

My wife wants to give the larger ring to our daughter-in-law, who rarely visits and is cool and distant. I want it to go to our daughter, who is 39, or save the ring for our granddaughter, who is 6 years old (our daughter-in-law's child). What is acceptable? -- Dick from Scarsdale, New York

Dear Dick: Generally, unless a daughter-in-law is the only female relative, or she is especially close, a daughter or granddaughter takes precedence in receiving family heirlooms. However, your own mother obviously gave that engagement ring to HER daughter-in-law, your wife. Perhaps your wife wants to continue the tradition, and it is still likely to end up with your granddaughter. We say, let your wife do whatever she wishes.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




Take It From The Tinkersons Curtis Free Range Chip Bok Dave Granlund David Fitzsimmons