Dear Carolyn: My husband and I recently moved to a small, one-and-a-half-bedroom apartment in a new city with our young child. Our infant’s room is about the size of a walk-in closet! Despite the lack of room, we love it here.
The problem is dealing with requests to stay with us from family, particularly the grandparents. They’ve asked if we could put them up overnight when they visit – but we have about two feet of walking space in the living room. The only other rooms are the dining room and galley kitchen.
We’ve suggested they stay in a hotel, causing some hard feelings. These grandparents have traveled here several times a year in the past for fun and stayed in hotels, so affording it doesn’t seem to be the issue.
Are we right to ask them to stay elsewhere? Is there a way that won’t cause such hard feelings? They say they’re happy to sleep on the floor!
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“That’s just it — there is no floor. Trust us on this till you see for yourselves.”
It’s a hard idea to get used to, I know, and pressure from loved ones only makes it harder, but: You have only two obligations here, to figure out your limits and then to enforce them kindly. That’s it.
You’ve decided you won’t bunk Grandma in the hallway — Step 1 accomplished. Now Step 2, say so kindly and don’t budge.
If any visitors hold grudges, then reassure yourself that you took everyone’s needs into account and made your decision accordingly, as was your prerogative. Hard feelings are unfortunate but also a price you already built into your choice.
One idea, if not for now then to tuck away for later: If you trust these grandparents, and if wanting more kidlet time is their issue with hotels, book a room for you and your husband and let the grandparents stay in your home. Precious couple time for you and grandchild time for them, win-win.
Dear Carolyn: Our son is 27, married and lives not far from us. Our daughter is 25 and lives a few hours away.
Daughter recently told me she witnessed her brother smoking a cigarette at a social event. Daughter begged me not to tell Son she “told on him,” or tell Dad that Son smokes. Dad is a physician and has long lectured our children, and anybody that will listen, about how smoking ravages the body. My father died from lung cancer at 58 after a lifetime of smoking. I have lived through the horror smoking causes.
I want to tell my husband so that together we can help Son quit. However, I promised Daughter I would not.
Son knows, he knows, he knows, how smoking ravages bodies. Whether this was just one party cigarette or one of a pack a day, this is not your battle to fight. I’m sorry Daughter tattled instead of just giving Son an earful then letting him sort it out. It’s his life to live, or blockheadedly throw away.
Making peace with his destructive choice is tough and painful, but no different from when your child eats the bread and leaves the spinach untouched. You control what you can, then give yourself over to love.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.