Dear Abby: I need advice from someone who doesn't know me personally. My husband and I have been married four years and have three lovely kids. Recently we have hit hard times.
A few months ago my husband lost his job, and from there we hit rock bottom. Right now we are sleeping in our car. My problem is I don't like having my kids live like this. It makes me mad and I feel like a bad parent. I could go to a women's shelter, but I don't want to break up my family. I'm scared, and I'm not sure what to do.
My husband is working now, but we don't have enough money to get an apartment, so I was considering staying in a hotel — but it will take some time before we can do that. Do you think we should stay at the shelter until we have a place, or until we can get a hotel room? I need some serious advice. —SCARED
Dear Scared: I'm glad you asked. You should check out the shelter and see what kind of accommodations they can make for you and your small children. It's a better, safer environment for them than five people sleeping in a car. I know this is a painful decision, but it isn't "breaking up the family." It is only temporary until you and your husband have saved enough for accommodations together again.
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Dear Abby: For the last five years I have had no time for myself. I'm 30 and have a wonderful wife and two daughters, 7 and 4. I work a 40-hour week and go to school full-time.
I don't want to sound selfish, because I know that my priorities are my wife and daughters, and I enjoy spending "quality time" with them. But I also feel that every other week or so, I should be able to get away for a few hours by myself to enjoy 18 holes of golf or go fishing.
If I tell my wife I'm going to do something, she makes me feel guilty. If I ask, she gives me the third degree. I know she doesn't need or want time to herself because I have asked her repeatedly if she does, hoping she'd return the favor — but she doesn't give me "permission."
Am I asking the impossible? How do I find time for myself and tell my wife without upsetting her? —"SELFISH" IN SPRINGFIELD
Dear "Selfish": (Almost) everyone needs "alone time" to pursue personal interests and unwind. You have a full schedule and you deserve quality time for yourself. Out of consideration for your wife, ask her if playing golf or fishing on a specific day conflicts with any couple or family event she had planned. And be sure to tell her that having some time to yourself will make you a better husband and father — because it's the truth. Then go and enjoy yourself, and don't feel guilty.