DEAR ABBY: I gave birth to my fourth child a few months ago. (My oldest is 5.) I am now being pressured by my in-laws, who live in another state, to visit. They expect me to pack up the six of us and drive three hours to a house that is not child-friendly.
I have tried to be as accommodating as possible, and have traveled as much as I could with pregnancies and newborns to deal with. I am just not up to it this time. Would it be unreasonable of me to ask for a year's reprieve?
I would gladly throw open my doors to any and all who would like to visit and see the grandchildren, but traveling has become too much for me. I just can't go anywhere at this time. Why won't people understand? Why must I be constantly burdened with the guilt of disappointing others?
Can't they see that for me, traveling is no longer a "diversion" but a cumbersome undertaking? Or am I the one being difficult? -- GUILT-RIDDEN IN MARYLAND
DEAR GUILT-RIDDEN: Sometimes people become so used to the status quo that they overlook the reality that circumstances change. The time has come for you to quit trying so hard to be a people-pleaser. Tell your in-laws they are welcome to visit at a time of their choosing, but that with the arrival of your fourth child under the age of 6, travel has become too much for you.
And please do not feel guilty for speaking up. Your husband should support you on this -- unless he is willing to do his share of the packing, the driving and entertaining the children while they are en route.