DEAR HARRIETTE: Before I had my son, I never cooked. My husband and I live in New York City, so it was easy to order in or go out; we could eat healthy at a good price. But after we had our son, we had to start preparing meals. I took on dinner and have become good at it.
My issue is that my family takes me for granted. I will make what I consider a masterpiece with exactly their favorites, and they won’t even say thank you. Or if we have all been out for a long day, they come home and chill while I immediately go in the kitchen and whip up something for us to eat. I realize that this is a parent’s job, especially a mom’s, but I also think I deserve some kind of basic acknowledgment. Whenever my husband or son do anything, I take the time to recognize their efforts. How can I get them to be more attentive? -- Good Manners
DEAR GOOD MANNERS: I have a friend who taught her children -- and, in turn, her husband -- to say thank you at every meal. It was part of the discipline she imposed on the family so that the children would learn how to be gracious. I watched her enforce this behavior, which included having them comment on what they enjoyed about the meal. This was her way of making it clear that it is important to acknowledge when people put forth effort on your behalf, even if they are your parents.
You should talk to your son and husband and remind them of the importance of acknowledging good actions. Expand it beyond the dinner table, because it really is broader than that. Point out times when you can thank each other for kindnesses. Train them to be more thoughtful.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend likes to show me off on social media, but I do not enjoy her sharing everyday things that I do with her to her entire following. I realize this is probably due to her having bad relationships with horrible people in the past, and I’m unsure if I blame her for it. How can I tell her my boundaries without hurting her? -- Boundary Boyfriend
DEAR BOUNDARY BOYFRIEND: You have a right to your privacy, even in this age of social media. You have to talk to your girlfriend and let her know specifically what you approve for her to share and what you want to keep private. She won’t like this at first. People love being able to post whatever they want when they want these days, but you can put your foot down. Tell her that you value your privacy and your relationship, but that there are some things that you want to keep sacred. That includes the day-to-day of your relationship. If she is unable to comply, stop allowing her to take photos of the mundane experiences so that she doesn’t have them to post.
(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.)