I am going to have a baby soon. I also have a wonderful 9-year-old stepdaughter. My husband and I have agreed that we want our daughter in the room when her sibling is brought into the world. Although I have an amazing relationship with my husband’s ex, she is insisting she also be in the delivery room. At first I thought she was joking, but she expressed concern about my stepdaughter getting overwhelmed during the birth process. I want my stepdaughter to be a part her sibling’s life from the very beginning. However, I was planning on limiting hospital time to the three of us and possibly my mother. I want to come up with a diplomatic solution. What should I do?
—Party in Labor and Delivery, Room 7
Your delivery room is going to resemble the stateroom scene in the Marx Brother’s A Night at the Opera if you don’t entirely rethink this. A 9-year-old does not belong in the delivery room, and neither does her mother, unless it’s her mother who’s delivering. Limit the invited guests to your husband, and possibly your mother, and make everyone saner and happier. Your stepdaughter will still be there at the beginning of her new sibling’s life if after the main event, when everyone is pronounced fine and has had a chance to rest, her mother brings her to the hospital to visit the cleaned-up, sweetly swaddled baby.
I'm a young, female, professional program administrator who works with diverse organizations statewide. I try to keep my demeanor open and friendly, while keeping the relationships with my colleagues professional. I know one shouldn't read too much into email tone, but occasionally if something goes wrong I will get an email from a colleague that is overtly aggressive or accusatory. My question is, how do I politely communicate to my colleagues, especially those that are older, that I don't think their response is appropriate for a professional relationship, and I won't stand to be treated this way?
If you want to enhance your reputation as a hypersensitive nut, striking the “I won’t be treated this way” attitude is the way to go. If you are the frequent recipient of accusatory emails, then maybe your program administrating leaves something to be desired. If so, forget the tone and instead concentrate on the content of the critiques. Respond by agreeing the issue needs to be addressed, and that you are doing so. If you feel an accusation is being made unfairly, clarify the misunderstanding straightforwardly. Then sign off with all the insincerity you can muster by thanking your correspondent for bringing the matter to your attention. Leave off the emoticon.
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“Isolated Incident?: Dear Prudence advises a teacher reluctant to report abuse for fear of fracturing a family—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Dec. 19, 2011.
“Ring of Ire: Dear Prudence advises a bride who is remarrying but wants to keep wearing her old ring—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Dec. 12, 2011.
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