Life Advice



Too Old for a Third Kid?

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I'm a newly married 32-year-old woman, and my husband is 31. We've been married for three months, and we're both really excited to share the holiday season together for the first time as husband and wife.

My childhood family is very small. I only have my mom and sister nearby and a brother who lives 2,000 miles away. My sister has been married to her husband for three years, and every year we have been celebrating holidays with my sister, her husband, his parents and my mom. Things have been fine up until last year.

My brother, who lives across the country, came out here for a month during the holidays. My brother is the different one in a family of conservative Christians. He is a homosexual liberal; he is still very loved nonetheless. My brother-in-law's parents have never met him before. Knowing how they feel about gay people, he has never come out and told them that he's gay. But they must have discussed him and figured it out on their own, because two days before Christmas last year, they told us they were not coming because they couldn't be around someone with "his views and lifestyle."

Of course, we were hurt and very offended because he is a member of our family. Anyway, my husband is not religious, but he is a wonderful, sweet man and the most incredible husband. He and I have decided to host Christmas this year at our new house, and my brother-in-law's parents will be there. I'm worried they will be rude to my husband once they discover his lack of religion.

My mother-in-law and I are very close, so she of course knows about the whole situation that happened last year and is ready to stick up for us both; however, I'm hoping that won't be necessary -- although given the way they are, I'm truly expecting the worst. Any advice on how to handle the situation if that does in fact happen? -- Worried Wife in Mississippi

Dear Worried Wife: Try not to anticipate a fight before it even happens. Everyone might love that you are hosting and all get along. It is Christmas, for goodness' sake. One rule of thumb to avoid arguments during the holidays is to agree not to discuss religion or politics.

Dear Annie: At 54, my mother, already blessed with two academically accomplished children in the 8th and 12th grades, yearns for a third child. I am nearly 18 years old and will soon leave for college. My father, 57, is adamant that he doesn't want another baby. With retirement as a middle-school teacher within a decade's grasp, the idea of raising another child weighs heavily on him, having managed students his whole life.


Nobody except my mother wants another child. To facilitate this wish without enduring another pregnancy, she's exploring surrogacy, encouraged by medical professionals who believe her fertility levels can produce a new life.

I'm concerned about my mother's demanding work schedule, as she works from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., yet she still strongly desires to add another child to our family.

Would a 12-year-old want a father in his 70s? Am I selfish in questioning the allocation of resources, as my mother contemplates funding a new lifetime while lamenting her inability to pay full tuition for a private college? Is it OK for my mother to divide our family, countering everyone's wishes but her own? -- Parenting at 70

Dear Parenting at 70: Your mom would be parenting at 54 at first. A 12-year-old wants a loving father, and it doesn't matter what age he is. If your mom really wants a child, that is up to her and your father. Try not to place your own judgement on her and focus instead on how exciting college will be for you.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




Candorville Doonesbury Get Fuzzy Al Goodwyn Clay Bennett Joey Weatherford