Dear Annie: My son has been dating a girl for a little over three years. My husband and I really like her. Our son loves her. Here's the problem: I have asked her before to help in the kitchen with meal preparation and cleanup, and she refuses.
They come once a week for meals, and we eat in front of the TV while watching shows. Everyone brings their dishes to the kitchen, but I'm left with the cleanup. Once, when I asked her for help, she said that she is company and wouldn't expect me to help at her house. They were here for Thanksgiving, and my mom asked her to join us at the table and visit, but she declined, saying she was OK where she was. My mom was hurt and upset.
I'm planning a big Christmas dinner and want the girls to help with cleanup and to sit and visit after the meal. How can I get her to get involved in the kitchen work, both before and after, and to put her phone away and sit and visit with us? — Disappointed
Dear Disappointed: Staring at your phone and texting while at your potential in-laws' house is very rude. The polite thing to do is ask the host if he or she needs help, but it is also polite for the host not to expect the guests to do all the work. Have a talk with your son and ask him to help you out in the kitchen. Maybe his girlfriend will catch on and want to jump in. Her behavior toward your mother was also very rude, so address this with your son, too. Perhaps there is a reason he hasn't married her yet.
Dear Annie: I enjoy reading your column and am writing in response to Caroline M. and her dilemma about how to celebrate Christmas this year.
My immediate family is comprised of four households in different parts of eastern Pennsylvania, so we won't be getting together in person. We are shipping gifts or possibly leaving them on each other's doorsteps ahead of time, and we are planning to meet virtually during the holidays. We wanted to do something fun as a family.
The age range of our group is 7 to 64. With that in mind, we decided it could be fun for us to all bake something together. We've already done bingo together. Luckily, all of the households had actual sets so we could rotate callers during the games. I know there's virtual bingo, but we needed to keep it simple for the less tech-savvy.
We have coordinated movie nights during which we have the same movie on our televisions and meet virtually on another device to watch together. That was great for grandparent/grandchildren time. Baking virtually will be different, but we're looking forward to it. We happen to have fans of that activity in all four houses, but everyone can try to find their common ground and do that together. There are many other things you may want to try together. — Trying to Make the Best of It
Dear Trying to Make the Best of It: Thank you for your suggestions. I love the idea of all family members watching a holiday movie together — remotely.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette - is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]
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