Sarcastically Southern advice column is written anonymously by a woman in Bulloch County. To submit a question, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @SarcasticallyS5, and on Facebook, Sarcastically Southern.
Dear Sarcastically Southern:
My wife and I have a young child (almost 1 year old) and she is pregnant with our second one. My family tends to think that it’s OK for them to all be sitting in the waiting room waiting on the baby to be born—and then they all want to get in to see the baby. Our last child was born late in the evening after an emergency C-section and my wife and I just weren’t up to having that many visitors. Then after we got home, they assume that they can just stop by whenever without calling or texting first. It’s intrusive and it creates tension between my wife and myself. We’ve tried dropping hints, we’ve tried being direct, but no matter what we do, we end up being “the bad guy.”
What can I do? I don’t want to have issues with my wife because of my family, but I also don’t want to create any drama between my immediate family and my extended family.
Tired of Drama Dad
Dear Drama Dad,
Congrats on your kids! The thing to remember is that this is your home and your family’s “bubble,” if you don’t want people in your bubble, they need to respect that. Some families have an open door policy where anyone is always welcome and while that is great in concept, it doesn’t always work out — ultimately, someone takes advantage! You don’t have to be mean about it or confrontational, just tell them the next time that they stop by uninvited or without warning that you’d appreciate a call or text next time. If subtle hints don’t stick, explain to them that you and your wife sometimes need time to yourself or with your kids and that you’re going to have to put away the welcome mat if they continue to take advantage. Flat out tell your family that you don’t want them to walk in on something that they shouldn’t… You’re a young couple (and obviously the kids are proof that you like to have a little “fun” with your wife, wink, wink) and your family just dropping by whenever they feel like it can put a damper on all of that.
Ultimately, it is your home and your rules are what matters. If your family tries to send you on an all-expenses paid guilt trip, keep in mind that they are guests in your home — obviously you want them to feel welcome, but they are not paying your bills, so it doesn’t matter if they don’t feel welcome at all times. There should be times when they don’t feel welcome or when they feel like they should go home and let you have time with your family and if they don’t see that, it may take some tough love to get the point across. I don’t envy you that conversation, but it’s definitely a conversation you should have.
Dear Sarcastically Southern,
I have a friend who I’ve known forever, but that I’m not that close with anymore. She is getting married early next year and wants me to be a bridesmaid. I’ve only met her husband-to-be once and it was not on purpose…we ran into each other at a restaurant and she introduced me. He’s nice and everything and from the looks of things (social media mostly), he treats her well. I’m happy if she’s happy. I miss our friendship, our late-night gossip sessions, and our hilarious text conversations. We didn’t have a fight or a falling out or anything, we just both got busy (and she obviously got a boyfriend), so I’d love to be in the wedding, but I am really struggling to make ends meet and I don’t know if I can afford to be a bridesmaid. I’m honored that she asked me to be a part of her big day, but I’m also a little insulted that she sent me a gift in the mail instead of asking me in person. How do I bow out gracefully?
Dear Broke Bridesmaid,
I am a firm believer that you should never do something out of obligation. If you feel like you have to be a bridesmaid just because she asked you, then you shouldn’t do it. BUT the invitation maybe a way for her to pull you back into the fold. If you didn’t have an argument or something that would be a friendship-ending thing, then it’s possible that she wants to be close again and by asking you to be a bridesmaid, she’s hoping that you’ll be able to spend lots of time together and reunite. I mean, let’s face it, it’s also possible that her fiancé has four brothers and she needs a fourth bridesmaid to make the sides even, but I doubt it.
If she is truly trying to rekindle your friendship, then she should understand if you are unable to do it. Ask her out to coffee or dinner and tell her your situation. Offer to be a part of her day in ways that won’t cost you money — you can be her director, making sure people are where they need to be when they need to be, or you could serve as a sounding board/wedding planning assistant or even be her driver on the day of the wedding. There are lots of ways to be supportive during her wedding whirlwind that don’t involve you forking out a lot of money. Sitting down and talking with her will give you the chance to talk to her about the price of the dress and if it’s inexpensive enough, maybe you can afford it.
Whatever you do, don’t feel like you have to do anything — then you will not be happy with any of the festivities and being a bridesmaid can be time-consuming. There are bridal showers, bachelorette parties, bridesmaids’ luncheons, etc. to attend and if you are trying to work as often as possible to make ends meet, then you don’t want to commit yourself. Ultimately, you have to do what is best for you.