Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Bed's Too Crowded in Pennsylvania

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My son, "Stevie," is 5 years old, and he just started kindergarten. The problem is, he is still sleeping in our bed, and it's his father's fault. My husband wants him with us. When we remodeled Stevie's bedroom, our son started sleeping in his own bed, but my husband kept saying, "Don't you want to sleep with Mommy and Daddy?"

I tried telling Stevie that he has to sleep in his own bed before he starts school, and he said, "No, I don't. Daddy says I can sleep with you guys as long as I want." When I discuss this with my husband, he insists that we only get a short time to enjoy our children when they are small. He figures when Stevie is a teen, he will lock himself in his bedroom, so we may as well have him with us as long as we can.

Now the problem has become compounded. Our daughter is 3 years old and sleeps in her own room. When she gets up at night to go potty, she sees the three of us sleeping together, so naturally, she wants to join in. Something's gotta give. Please help. -- Bed's Too Crowded in Pennsylvania

Dear Too Crowded: How's your sex life? Is it possible your husband is using Stevie's presence to avoid intimacy? If that's the case, you need to discuss it. If that is not what's going on, then your husband is simply being selfish.

Parents sometimes do not realize the harm they do their children in an effort to cling to them. One of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is the tools to become independent. If you want what is best for Stevie, you and your husband should encourage him to sleep in his own room, which now will take more effort than it should have. He's a big boy. Allow him to be proud of it.

Dear Annie: I recently visited a coffee shop at a local mall. I noticed two handwritten signs next to an oversized tip container. One sign read, "We are not cheap, you shouldn't be either." The other had a drawing of a familiar cartoon character and said, "This show is brought to you in part by the letters T-I-P-S."

If I hadn't already placed my order, I would have left. All the employee did was hand me a plastic-wrapped muffin and a cup of coffee, to which I added the cream and sugar myself.

I find these signs offensive and tacky. Are the people who work behind the counters horribly underpaid, or are they just greedy? -- Albany, New York


Dear Albany: According to Peggy Post, you are under no obligation to leave a tip in a countertop tip jar. Most such workers receive adequate base salaries. You may want to slip something into the jar, however, if you feel the server has been especially friendly or has provided some additional service to you.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Gloria," whose husband is a Red Cross volunteer. I agree that all volunteers are to be commended for their work, especially during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but let's not forget the silent victims that were left behind because their owners weren't allowed to take their pets with them.

Dogs, cats and other animals need food and shelter, too, so could you please list the following organizations that are also in need of donations and volunteers?: The Humane Society ( at 1-800-HUMANE-1 (1-800-486-2631); The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( at 1-866-275-3923; American Veterinary Medical Foundation ( at 1-800-248-2862; Noah's Wish (; and the United Animal Nations Emergency Animal Rescue Service ( The last two organizations are set up specifically for disaster relief and offer training to anyone willing to volunteer. Thanks, Annie. -- For Black Dog

Dear Friend: We are happy to do what we can for our animal companions, who often are forgotten or ignored in times of need. Thank you for writing.


"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




Joey Weatherford Humor Me Dog Eat Doug Doonesbury Jeff Koterba Brian Duffy