Since 2013, I’ve written a monthly advice column for the Detroit Jewish News. I love writing it and thought it would be meaningful and gratifying to expand the love to my Read the Spirit family. You don’t have to be Jewish to have tsuris! (troubles, heartaches, problems.) You just have to have a trouble, problem or dilemma that plagues you by day and disturbs you by night. The reader who penned Problem Number Two, took this invitation literally. Write to me at deardebra at renmedia dot us or use the form that accompanies the column.
1. My spouse’s parents play favorites with their grandchildren, and my children are starting to notice, asking why Grandma and Grandpa don’t pay the same kind of attention to them as they do to their cousins (and it’s not that these other grandchildren need them more for any apparent reason) . How should we handle this? UnFavored
Dear Unfavored, Familial favoritism should be the 11th Thou Shalt Not. Has your husband discussed with his parents that the children have noticed the favoritism? If 1) he has and they haven’t changed or 2) he cannot or will not bring it up, then you have to take the initiative . Tell your in-laws that you’ve missed having them around and would love to see more of them. Invite them to share a new family tradition — a weekly Skype or family outing. Hopefully they will respond in kind. But if they remain scarce, you will have to help your children learn a painful and important life lesson: we cannot change others, we can only change our reaction to what life throws us. Be sure you give them the message, as much as is needed , that their grandparents’ behavior has nothing to do with them. They are the biggest losers for missing out on joyous time with some pretty terrific grandkids.
2. My husband’s work expects him to be available 24/7. He sleeps with the phone beside the bed to catch incoming texts. The problem is he doesn’t hear them come in; I do. By the time I wake him to take the text, I can’t fall back asleep. Help! Sleepless
Dear Sleepless, Even the Creator of the World granted Himself weekly rest after Her labors were completed! It seems quite awful that your husband has to be available 24/7. But since you didn’t ask me to weigh in on that one, I’ll keep mum. And here’s my advice on what you did ask about: Set hubby’s phone to vibrate and slip it beneath his pillowcase. If the sound of the incoming text doesn’t stir him, hopefully the motion will and the sound of the vibration will not disturb you. . You might also try sweetly whispering, as he is falling asleep, that you are turning his phone off (but don’t). Perhaps the anxiety of missing an emergency text will prompt some part of his sleeping brain to keep one eye (or ear) open so you can keep both of yours shut.