Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

British Co-Worker's Humor Goes Too Far

DEAR HARRIETTE: Of my three daughters, my two youngest are actresses. I realized I've been neglecting the oldest one, "Lacey," when we sit down to dinner, and I had no clue what was going on in her preteen world. I drive the two youngest to auditions, casting calls and the occasional modeling shoot. My husband tends to look after Lacey. I don't want this to be an irreparable rift in our mother-daughter relationship. How can I spend more time with Lacey when I'm already trying to be supermom, without boring her as a chauffeur? -- Mother-Daughter Time, Cincinnati

DEAR MOTHER-DAUGHTER TIME: Take a step back and evaluate your engagement of your children. Talk to your husband about your concerns. Discuss how the two of you can better balance the ways that you interact with all your children. It would also be wise for you to give up your “supermom” complex. No matter what you do, it is not possible to be perfect. Instead of striving for the impossible, think about each of your daughters, what you can do to make it clear that you actively care about her well-being and what you can do to demonstrate that you are paying attention.

Consider swapping days when you and your husband act as chauffeur. Carve out time once a week, at least, when you have one-on-one time with your preteen. She is at a vulnerable time in her life when close parental observation is hard but extremely important. Do not give up. Each of your children needs your loving attention.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)