DEAR HARRIETTE: I am about to get married, and my fiancé and I have come to an impasse over something that I don’t think is such a big deal. I grew up in a household where everybody had chores, but we also had a housekeeper who came once a week to do heavy cleaning. It was so helpful having Mrs. Lancaster with us. She became part of the family. I want the same thing for my new home. Of course, both of us should do chores, but I believe having extra help will ensure we keep everything organized and clean. My husband thinks this is excessive and a waste of money. He grew up in a household where no extra help was ever there. They couldn’t afford it. We can. Plus, I work 80 hours a week usually. I need the help. How can I get my fiancé to see that? -- Clean Up, Rochester, New York
DEAR CLEAN UP: This is one of many value-driven conversations you must have with your fiancé to determine whether the two of you can compromise when needed to build your life together. While it may sound clichéd, it is the little things in a marriage that help to make your bond stronger or erode it entirely.
Since your husband-to-be does not see the need for a housekeeper, a compromise might be to have someone come in once a month in the beginning. Suggest this as an acknowledgment that you know he doesn’t see eye to eye with you on this point but that you know you need help in order to keep your home in the manner you believe appropriate.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My son is applying for college, and he is required to write several essays. The ones we have seen thus far are not good at all. It looks like he has been rushing through them. He hasn’t gotten particularly good grades on them. I have offered to edit his work to help boost his writing, but he wants to do it by himself. I like that in theory, but I’m shocked he hasn’t become a stronger writer yet. With the essays he has shown me thus far, I don’t think he is going to get into a good school. How can I support him? -- Need a Boost, Boston
DEAR NEED A BOOST: It is often difficult for parents to serve as tutors for their children. Tempers can flare quickly, and judgments abound. You and your son would do better if you hired a writing tutor to support him. There are many companies that offer this service, specifically for helping students write their essays for high school and college admission. Interview several of these services to find the best fit for you. One small company that has a good reputation is Write for the Future. You can reach them at writeforthefuture.com. A much larger company that people recommend is Kaplan at kaptest.com.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)