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Publication: Dear Abby
Housework Suffers As Single Dad Juggles Kids' Schedules

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            DEAR ABBY - December 15, 2006   

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ABBY: I would like your opinion about something. I am a 
single dad with two kids. I work 60 hours a week to support 
them. I'm involved with the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, 
soccer, their school, etc. I am often on the go to the point 
that the vacuuming, mopping and dusting are postponed. 
Personally, I feel that being involved with the kids is 
more important.

I have a lady friend I have been seeing for a few years, and 
our relationship is at a standstill. She is a very neat and 
tidy person, and the moderate clutter in my house is a bone 
of contention. She feels I should cut back on some of the 
activities, perhaps just drop off the kids and leave so I 
would have time to clean the house to her standards. That 
would mean the Girl Scout troop would fold, and many of the 
activities of the Boy Scout troop would be curtailed, but 
her feeling is that the housework comes first. I feel that 
being involved with the kids comes first. What do you think? 

SLIGHTLY CLUTTERED: The investment you are making in your 
children will reap untold benefits in the future. You seem 
to be a man whose priorities are in order. However, it appears 
there are some important lessons you are not teaching your 
children -- and one of them is how to share the housekeeping 

If they are mature enough for scouting, surely they can make 
their own beds, clear the table, load the dishwasher and help
with the dusting. You are a wonderful father, but please do 
not overlook this important part of their education. It will 
help them to be independent later, and frankly, you could use 
their help now.


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ABBY: My parents have been married 43 years, and my mother 
has never been happy with my father aside from their first 
years of marriage. Dad is and has been into himself and his 
needs, and has never lifted a thumb for our mom. They had 
three children, and she raised us completely on her own. Dad 
was either at work or away on a trip.

Now that the three of us are grown and have families of our 
own, Dad wants nothing to do with the grandchildren. This 
makes it hard for Mom, because she loves all the grandchildren 
and would like to spend time with them.

In the past, Mom talked frequently about leaving Dad, but 
now she thinks that financially it would be hard. All three 
of us would like nothing better than for her to escape from 
him and live the rest of her life in peace and harmony.

How do we let her know that divorcing Dad and living on her 
own would not be impossible when finances are the only thing 
holding her back? 

FREEDOM AT LAST: The most effective way to get that message 
across would be for the three of you to tell her in person, 
in plain English, the next time you visit. I presume, however, 
that you would all be pitching in to help support her if she 
did decide to leave your father.

However, don't be surprised if your mother refuses your 
generous offer. The glue that holds some couples together 
can sometimes be a mystery even to their children, and her 
reasons for tolerating this lonely marriage may have nothing 
to do with money.

ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as    
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline    
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box    
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.   

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