Dear Amy: My husband and I have been together for four years. We had our first child last year, so this Mother’s Day was my first official Mother’s Day.
He did nothing to make it a special day for me, except for offering a half-assed “Oh yeah, Happy Mother’s Day.”
My husband has a thing about celebrating holidays.
He almost never acknowledges me on holidays through gift-giving or through making me feel loved or special.
Our first Christmas together: nothing.
On my birthdays: nothing.
Valentine’s Day, sometimes he’ll bring home flowers or something, and I’m always so appreciative when he does.
He’ll buy me things randomly throughout the year, so it’s not like he never gets me gifts, but holidays are often ignored on his end, even though I spoil him.
I’m very easy to please. I just want to feel that he’s thinking of me.
Am I being ridiculous or selfish for wanting to feel acknowledged on these holidays?
I feel like if I have to ask for it, it’s not genuine.
I hate talking about it because it just makes me feel ungrateful because it’s not like I really want for anything.
— Not Worth Celebrating
Dear Not Worth: People adopt their holiday attitudes and habits from what they experience in childhood. And many children witness tension, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, overindulgence, and anger.
You could help by NOT referring to your husband’s Mother’s Day greeting as “half-assed.”
To me, his greeting sounds like a start. He remembered!
Surely, he has picked up on how let down you feel.
He can now add Mother’s Day to the long list of holidays that he can’t manage to do right.
You two should talk about this! Ask him about the special event celebrations or traditions in his childhood.
You might learn that your husband associates these holidays as big-ticket opportunities to fail in a big way.
You should also try to establish gift-giving traditions that are scaled down and shared.
Father’s Day is around the corner. Bring his breakfast to him on a tray with a homemade card from you and your baby. And that’s it. Don’t overwhelm him with gifts and clever ideas pulled off of Pinterest.
You want to demonstrate how easy it can be to celebrate another person’s very existence, as well as convey your gratitude for their presence in your life.
Readers who have experienced this dynamic will weigh in.
Dear Amy: I recently delivered a small “thank you” gift to a neighbor child who had helped me with some yard work.
Afterwards, the father showed up at my door and returned the gift. He said that when one of the children receives a gift, they ALL must get a gift.
He returned it because I had bought only one gift.
He and his wife have FOUR children.
This makes no sense to me.
How should I respond?
Dear Neighbor: Using this dad’s sideways logic, if you engage one child to help you with yard work, you would be obligated to hire all of his children.
This sort of “participation trophy” parenting might create problems for his kids down the line, but that is not your business.
Reading beneath his unfriendly gesture, you should assume that he does not want his children to help you.
If you decide to try again, you should perhaps agree on a reasonable fee for the work in advance.
Because this father seems to have a firm grip on interactions with his children, you should run this plan past him.
Otherwise, this man’s reaction to your appropriate gesture should inspire no response at all from you.
Dear Amy: I thoroughly enjoyed the letter from “Indeed, Not Sweetie.” I love the fact that he and his buddies enjoy “Driveway Drinks.”
My neighbor and I created “Ladies on the Lawn” several years ago.
It all started when she bought some outdoor chairs and I suggested putting them in the front yard instead of the back. We would yell for neighbors passing by to grab a drink and come over for a chat.
We now have up to seven gals, and we spend an hour or two chatting before dinner.
They are now truly friends.
This was particularly great during the warmer months of the pandemic. We still could safely socialize outside and enjoy the much-needed comradery.
— Ladies on The Lawn, from Ramsey NJ
Dear Ladies: Where I live, we call this “porch visiting.”
Too many of us live in the bubbles of our backyards. I LOVE your idea.