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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband thinks he's better than I am because he earns money and I don't. I stay home with our three children.

During a recent argument, he spilled juice on our new carpet. When I asked him to clean it up, he refused, saying it's his carpet because he paid for it and it's my job to take care of his things.

I try to explain that it's hard work to keep up a home and care for the children, but he says he'd change places with me anytime if I could find a job that pays me the same amount of money he makes. He knows I don't have the skills to do that.

He says he loves me, but I don't think that you can love someone you don't value or respect because she doesn't bring home a paycheck. -- FEELING WORTHLESS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR FEELING WORTHLESS: In 1989, I printed a letter stating the dollar-and-cents value of a homemaker. At the time, it was $52,000 a year, and the Employment Cost Index has continually risen. Your husband should be able to do the math.

Later, I told another woman who described herself as "only a housewife": "In your home you are the director of health, education and welfare; the secretary of the treasury; the head of entertainment and public relations; the chairman of the House Rules Committee; and the chief operating officer of family planning. You'd have to be married to a millionaire to be paid what you're really worth."

Give your husband some food for thought. Schedule dinner a little later for him tonight, and leave this column on his plate for him to digest.

DEAR ABBY: I think you missed the real issue in the letter from "Enough Already in New York," the man whose company made him room with a gay colleague on a business trip. "Enough" managed to endure his discomfort during the trip. What he's had enough of is the ribbing from his co-workers after his return.

Abby, the man is being harassed. The subject of the harassment is sexual in nature. Sexual harassment, homophobic or otherwise, should not be tolerated in any workplace. "Enough" should ask his co-workers to stop harassing him. If they persist, management should discipline them. If management fails to intervene, this man has a claim against his employers. -- LAURIE LEIBER

DEAR LAURIE: You're right. I failed to see the forest for the trees. Thank you for the astute analysis.

DEAR ABBY: The problem experienced by "Cursing Mom" may be avoided when this little poem is taken to heart:

I lost a very little word,

Just the other day;

It was a very naughty word

I had not meant to say.

But then, it was not really lost --

When from my lips it flew,

My little daughter picked it up,

And now she says it too.


To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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