DEAR HARRIETTE: I cook dinner almost every night, except for when I am traveling or when we order in, which is rare. This week, I was working late and let my family know. Turns out I didn’t get home until after 9 p.m., and my husband made dinner for himself and my daughter, but didn’t think to prepare anything for me. He knew I would be working late. When I called and asked him to make me a plate as I was heading home, he said that he had served them leftovers and there was nothing left for me. He suggested I could warm up a cooked chicken and fix myself some vegetables. He did not offer to do anything for me and copped an attitude when I reminded him that I cook for him every night.
Why didn’t my husband even consider that I might be hungry? He blew me off like I was wrong to ask. I ask him every night that he’s running late if he wants dinner, so my feelings are hurt. Is there anything else I can say or do to get him to be more thoughtful? -- No Food for Me
DEAR NO FOOD FOR ME: My mother would say, “You have to train him,” meaning you have to make it clear to your partner what you want or expect to avoid hurt feelings -- to the best of your ability. Since you are the one who almost always cooks dinner, your husband probably didn’t think that you would need to eat. Is this an excuse? No, but it does give a window into his thinking. Chances are, if you didn’t have a child, he might not have eaten himself.
Next time, try to tell him in the morning if you think you will be late, and ask him to prepare something for you and your child to eat. You can even remind him during the day. If he still flakes, it is time for a more serious conversation.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a client who keeps canceling on me at the last minute. We have worked together for years, so I always try to give her preferential treatment and accommodate her when she books me. But recently I have lost a couple of freelance gigs because I was holding time for her and she didn’t let me know that she would not need me. She owns a small company, and she won’t pay me if she forgets to cancel, even if I have reached out to her to ask her if she wanted to release the time. What should I do? I don’t want to walk away from this client, but I can’t afford to lose work out of allegiance to a company that doesn’t have allegiance to me. -- Standing My Ground
DEAR STANDING MY GROUND: In the future, do not give up other work if this client -- or any other client -- is vacillating. Check in with the client that first reserved the time. If you do not get a response in a timely manner, accept the other job and let the initial client understand that you are no longer available at that particular time. Business is business. Keep it that clean.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)