Dear Amy: I'm a woman in my mid-30s. My husband and I are indecisive about having kids. I’m not much of a “kid person.” He is definitely better with kids than I am.
I got along with school-age and older children well until a few years ago, when relatives on both sides started pressuring us, declaring that we were selfish or missing out on the meaning of life if we didn't have kids.
Meanwhile, my husband and I are regularly bombarded by photos of the kids in the family, to the point that I have turned off notifications.
Now, I'm uneasy about planned visits from family this summer.
Our relatives have eased up on overtly pressuring us, but I know the adult conversations will revolve heavily around childrearing or discussing the latest results of their “doomscrolling” (another topic that drives me crazy).
Also, my youngest nieces/nephews, who are kryptonite for my patience, are being brought into the mix.
When they first visited before COVID, my most successful day with them was when they came over to our house, and they were very happy to play with our dog, who is a dream with children.
However, we quickly found that our home is not exactly kid-friendly.
This time, I'm thinking of suggesting an outing or two at a big, lovely park near us that has a well-maintained dog park, plenty of walking paths, and one or two playgrounds. The only downside is the grandparents, who aren't very mobile anymore, likely couldn't join us.
Do you have any other recommendations on how I can survive these summer visits?
– Not a Kid Person
Dear Not a Kid Person: I have been a part of many family groups where the woman is automatically assigned the role of camp counselor and kid wrangler, while the male partner behaves more as a helpful guest, dipping in and out and occasionally grilling meat for dinner.
Maybe you should be the secondary host and primary grill-master during these visits.
Unfortunately, in addition to not being a “kid person,” you also don’t want to see photos of children or listen to parents discuss them. You also don’t want to engage in conversations involving “doomscrolling,” (which is an outsized interest in negative news).
I know that you must have some reserve of patience because you have a dog, so you should work on applying more tolerance toward the people in your life, because your parameters are so limiting that it is as if you are setting yourself – and especially these children – up for failure.
Keep the visit short. Three nights might be best, especially if you have family members staying with you, otherwise, a local motel with a pool would be ideal.
Prepare your house (the way you might for unfamiliar dogs) by tucking away valuables, breakables, and medication.
Ask these parents for ideas in terms of keeping the children occupied, fed and watered, but remember that their parents should always be in charge of them.
Depending on the age of the children, I would plan one larger outing for the morning/lunch, and one mini-outing (including grandparents) for the afternoon.
Dear Amy: My fiancé and I are getting married this summer.
We are having a very small event with a guest list including immediate family and only a few of our closest friends. We are allowing “plus ones” for all of our single friends.
One of our dear friends has a roommate that we are not fond of.
Is there a way to ask this friend not to invite this particular person?
Dear Exclusive: Nope. “And guest” means just that.
Some couples only include “plus-ones” if their invited guest is in a serious romantic relationship. But if all single guests at this very small wedding are invited to include a “plus one,” then this single guest should be given that opportunity, too.
Welcome to marriage and family-building where you can’t always control the guest list.
Dear Amy: “Heartbroken Husband” reported that his wife was engaging in “increasingly risky behavior,” including a one-night stand with a stranger.
I could have written that letter.
I thought your answer was good, but I want to add another possibility: This woman might be experiencing the swings of bipolar mood disorder.
Regardless of whether this couple decides to stay together or part, their young children deserve to have two healthy parents. I wish you had urged her to get a mental health screening.
– Been There
Dear Been There: Several readers offered responded similarly. I appreciate the insight and advice.
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