A: Your letter has me celebrating the robust love lives of Americans, and the ability of people to feel horny with Mom or Dad in the next room. Since I'm one of those who isn't able to function in the morning without a big cup of coffee, I'm impressed with the energy of your brother and his wife. Let's give Dad credit that over breakfast he doesn't say, "Can you pass the jam? And Daniel is really jamming it this morning!" Not hearing, or pretending not to hear, is the way to go on this one. What you describe is not your permanent living situation, so while I understand this makes you uncomfortable, it's also funny. If you can just privately laugh it off, you'll save some money and have more time with your father. However, part of being an adult means that if you prefer to stay at a motel, your father is not going to take away your car keys if you refuse to be in your bedroom before curfew.
Q. Re: Parents: Please don't be so hard on these parents. Baby yoga is a way to get out of the house, speak with other parents, and stave off postpartum depression. I also live in a bilingual city where almost everyone tries to speak two languages to their kids. Here it's commonplace, and it helps their language skills in general—as does learning sign language. Please don't judge people for wanting the best for their kids, even when it seems at times like they're going overboard. If these families are happy and healthy, there's no reason to judge.
A: I agree with you it's natural to go overboard with your child and there's nothing pernicious about baby yoga or organic food. But the letter writer did identify a certain kind of obsessive parenting style that from the outside is both silly and dull. Being around all this indulgence is stirring up understandable and difficult feelings for the letter writer. But having a sense of humor about the lucky people she knows and likes is the best approach.
Q. Future Mom-in-Law Has No Boundaries: I've been with my boyfriend for four years and we have lived together for two years. His mom has absolutely no boundaries and she's driving me crazy! I noticed when we first got together that his mom had some severe "hover parent" issues even though my boyfriend is in his late 20s. She calls and texts him multiple times a day at all hours of the day, sometimes even before 8 a.m. and after midnight. If he doesn't return her calls or texts because he's busy or annoyed at the barrage, she'll often call or text me to check up on him. It's annoying sometimes, but we'd dismissed it as one of her quirks. But lately she's taken to "dropping by" our home unannounced and trying the front door. If it's unlocked she lets herself in—we live in a small town, so we don't always lock our doors when we're awake and hanging out at home. She always has a reason (gift or some mail for my boyfriend) and acts hurt that we're startled and bothered by her unannounced entrance. My boyfriend has gotten angry with her and asked her to please at least knock, but she continues to let herself in. Short of locking all the doors all the time, hiding, or moving far away, how do we let Mom know that we need a little adult privacy?
A: Maybe you leave the door unlocked, and when you hear Mom at it, you two hop into bed and start going at it—loudly. This week's chat indicates that's the American way. I think your question contains your solution. Yes, you lock the doors all the time, hide, then move far away. You forgot to mention entering the witness protection program—I think that's going to be necessary, too. What your boyfriend needs to do is have a very blunt conversation with his mother and say things need to change and here's how they're going to. He explains he will have one short conversation or exchange one text with her a day. If she continues to barrage both of you, neither of you will answer. If she won't stop, I know it's a giant pain, but you two should change your phone numbers. You also set up a weekly time you will see her. Then you say that when she comes to the door unannounced, you won't let her in. You explain to hate to be so rude, but particularly since you live so nearby, it's important that as adults you all respect each other's privacy. Then since I don't think any of this is really going to work, you move far away.
Emily Yoffe: Thanks, everyone. I'm off to dog yoga. Have a great week.
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