DEAR ABBY: My co-workers and I have been talking, and we disagree on this. Is fantasizing about someone other than your partner cheating? I say no. What do you think? -- "BEAUTIFUL DREAMER," BRIDGETON, MO.
DEAR "BEAUTIFUL DREAMER": It is not unusual for people in the throes of passion -- or even walking down the street -- to take a fantasy side trip. It's not cheating and can enhance the experience.
However, for you and your co-workers to discuss sex at the office IS being "unfaithful" -- to your boss!
DEAR ABBY: After 10 years of marriage, I have come to a realization. I am a terrible housekeeper! I have tried learning to clean better, using new techniques or different equipment. My husband has begged, bribed and fought with me over picking up my stuff. We have a good relationship, though, and this is one of the only conflicts between us.
We by no means live in squalor, but our house is usually messy. Frankly, I'm not interested in housecleaning. I'm not lazy. I'm busy with two kids, volunteering at two different schools, preparing healthy meals, engaging in endless play, make-believe and kiddie craft projects.
My mom and grandmother were also somewhat laissez-faire about housekeeping. Their motto was always, "Happy children are more important than a clean house."
There are so many more interesting and important things to do; I get little satisfaction from housekeeping. Cleanliness is short-lived around here, anyway. I believe there are more messy homes out there than people admit. A little clutter never hurt anyone.
This problem is not family-threatening, but I would like your opinion on it. -- GOOD MOM IN ROCHESTER, N.Y.
DEAR GOOD MOM: You asked for it -- and here it is. I agree that there are probably more messy homes out there than people admit. However, there is a difference between "clutter" and "not clean."
Your kitchen and bathrooms should be kept clean to safeguard the health of your children and spouse. If the problem is clothing in your bedroom that you have tossed all over, allow me to remind you that it takes only a moment to toss an item into the clothes hamper, hang it up or return it, folded, to the drawer from which you took it.
While I agree that "happy children are more important than a clean house," the two are not mutually exclusive. A disorganized house can also be a sign of a disorganized mind. You're setting a poor example for your children, who will grow up thinking this is acceptable -- just as you did. You should be teaching them to do their part, too.
P.S. Has it occurred to you to hire a housekeeper to come once or twice a month?
DEAR ABBY: My husband reads the newspaper at the dinner table almost every night in front of the children. He says it's the only time he has to read the paper.
Is it rude to read at the dinner table when there are four other people sitting there? -- INQUIRING MIND IN GEORGIA
DEAR INQUIRING MIND: It's not only rude, it's poor parenting. You're doing your part by having dinner on the table, but your husband is shirking his duty as a dad. The dinner hour is the ideal time for family conversation, for him to learn about what's going on in the children's lives and to discuss current events -- providing they are old enough. It is also a time for parents to "model" the kind of manners they want to pass on to their kids.
I don't know what your husband is doing AFTER dinner, but that would be the optimum time for him to catch up on the news rather than hiding from all of you.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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