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Advice & More May 2018

Ask Miss Nora

Tea for Two … or 7?

Very simply put, your daughter’s choice to have a large family is none of your business. The ONLY time you should interfere and offer your opinion without being asked for it is if your daughter is unable to care for her children, unable to care for herself or unable to think of further names!

Dear Miss Nora: Please help me with this problem before I do something rash! My husband of decades is a kind and fun man. We are both retired now and have plenty of time to do
the things we love. We didn’t used to go to restaurants very often in the past. While we raised our children and had jobs, we didn’t have much time or money for such luxuries. But now with time on our hands and more money, we eat out at least once a week and the problem is becoming unbearable.

At the end of every meal, when the check comes, my husband scrutinizes it as if he’s auditing the restaurant’s books! He’ll even get out his calculator to go over the more problematic add-ons and extras.

I hate it. It’s offensive to me that my husband cares so little about how this looks and how embarrassed I am by his pettiness. I've repeatedly asked him not to do this but he won’t listen. Only two times in all the years we’ve eaten out has he come across a discrepancy and neither of them were substantial enough to warrant this act of meanness. Yet he recites those two incidences as proof that he needs to be this vigilant.

How do I make him stop? Because, if this can’t be resolved, I'm not going out to eat with him anymore! – Table for one? in Dallas
 

Dear Table for One: You do have a few options available to you. When the bill comes, excuse yourself from the table and inform your husband that you will wait for him in the car while he analyses the receipt. This doesn’t stop him from calculating every morsel of food but it does relieve you of having to watch the spectacle.

The other option is for you to pay the bill. Leave the table when you're both finished ordering and pay covertly before it’s brought to the table. If your husband complains let him know that it’s your way of managing his embarrassing behavior since politely asking him to stop has fallen on deaf ears.

Last, and this is a little naughty, refuse to sit with him at the restaurant. Request your own table and order at your leisure. If your husband complains, let him know that he can only sit with you if he promises not to scrutinize the bill when it comes. If he can’t (or wont) promise this, refuse to allow him to sit with you. Be assertive and possibly a little vociferous. Stick to your guns. Point out that your actions are no more embarrassing to him than his are to you. I'm confident he will see the error of his ways. 

 

Dear Miss Nora,: I'm struggling to keep my opinions to myself where my daughter is concerned. She just informed me that she is pregnant with her fifth child. I love all my grandchildren dearly, and she and her husband seem to be able to afford so many children, but I find it embarrassing to tell people that I am expecting another one. Surely this isn’t normal. How can I broach the subject of my daughter being more careful without hurting her feelings or causing a scene? — Overflowing with grandchildren in Seattle
 

Dear Overboard Overflowing: Every once in a while, I'm asked a question that defies belief. This is one such instance. Very simply put, your daughter’s choice to have a large family is none of your business. The ONLY time you should interfere and offer your opinion without being asked for it is if your daughter is unable to care for her children, unable to care for herself or unable to think of further names!

You don’t go into much detail about finances but I'm confident that your daughter and her husband have figured out that children aren’t free. Furthermore, I don’t know if your objection is that it’s too much for you to care for all of the grandchildren at once if you help babysit or have sleep overs. But if this is the case, ask to have two at a time instead of all at once.

However, what I do know is that if you voice your unsolicited opinion about something as personal as a woman’s choice to have the family she wants, you might end up not seeing any of them while your daughter recovers from your impertinence!

 

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