parenting advice from Care and Feeding.
Dear care and nourishment,
I have three daughters, who are 6, 4 and 1 years old. I also like to do a lot of beauty treatments. Nothing serious, but I get my hair cut and polished every 6 weeks, I get most of my face waxed (I’m Italian and Greek so we’re very hairy), I love facials, scrubs and massages. I do a manicure about once a month. Maybe once or twice a year I’ll get a spray tan. My husband never seemed to care, but now that our girls are getting older he wants me to calm him down and look more “natural” so they know they are beautiful as they are. are. I love that he cares about their body image but at the same time, I don’t want to give up on my treatments! There are a lot of natural features that I have grown to love, including my Roman nose. I hardly ever wear heavy makeup. I don’t want to have to learn to love my mustache and unruly hair. Is it so bad for our daughters’ self-esteem that I change my appearance?
—I like facials
Unless there is more to the story than what you are sharing here, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the self-care you described. Rather, you teach your daughters that there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself whenever you want.
Haircuts, facials, and even the occasional tan are no reason to sound the alarm. If you happen to see warning signs that your girls’ body image is deteriorating (such as commenting on their weight or focusing heavily on their appearance), then you will need to intervene appropriately. However, if this does happen, I don’t think waxing your upper lip is to blame for it.
You should also ask your husband directly what concerns him in your beauty routine and assure him that it will not be a problem. I mean, you’ve been the expert here since you were a young girl not too long ago. Use this expertise to your advantage.
Loving your children and building them up with positivity is far more important than the time you spend at the local spa.
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Dear care and nourishment,
I am writing this message at 6 a.m. because I was once again woken up by the upstairs neighbor. I live (alone) in an apartment and last year a single mother with a 2 year old moved into the upstairs apartment. They are STRONG. The walls are thin so I don’t mind some noise level but the kid, who is now 3, recently started running inside, just above my room, very early in the morning especially on weekends -end (for at least 20 minutes between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.). I told the mother before that woke me up, but maybe I was too nice because she just laughed and said to the child, “See? You wake up the neighbor! I honestly thought she would be more careful, but I was apparently naive. I do not know what to do. I sleep with earplugs but the noise is so loud it’s like someone is banging right above my bed. I don’t have kids yet, but my mom ran a small daycare at home, so I understand kids can be very loud and need to move around. The mother seems to have a hard time with the child, and it’s a special time in history, so I understand it’s not easy, but it’s getting too much for me. Is it correct to say something about morning jogging? Can you help me find a good way to say it? Thank you!
– Neighbor extremely tired
Dear extremely tired,
I absolutely feel your pain. When my kids were very young I lived on the ground floor of my condo and swear my neighbors upstairs brought elephants to walk above my room between 5am and 7am every morning. It woke us all up and I was pretty miserable until I finally faced them.
In doing so, I went upstairs, knocked on the door (it was not a pleasant knock) and calmly but firmly said: “Hello, there is a loud noise just above. from my room every morning at this time and it wakes me up. These walls and floors are very thin and I would appreciate it if you could be more considerate of me and my family. The woman apologized profusely and mentioned that she had used a treadmill early in the morning, which ended up being the reason. We compromised by having him use the treadmill for decent hours of the day, but I still couldn’t wait to get out of there.
I think it’s great for you to have a similar conversation with your upstairs neighbor. Granted, as a single mom, she’s probably at her wit’s end every day trying to argue with a toddler, but that doesn’t excuse her for being considerate. You have to be kind but firm so that she understands that you are not a jerk, but you also have to be taken seriously. If she is a reasonable adult, she needs to recognize what is going on and do her part to fix it. If this persists, you may be able to report your concerns to management or find another place to live (preferably on the top floor). I don’t think it will come to that, however.
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Dear care and nourishment,
I have a wonderful, intelligent, caring and generous child whom all my family adore and to whom I will bring gifts from time to time. For most family members, it’s a little something here and there, usually around vacations, any vacations, which, while unnecessary, is fine with us. Problem is, we have a few distant but well-off family members who send expensive gifts at least once a month like over a hundred dollars and that’s just a bit too much for a toddler. I tried to tell them about it but the gifts keep going and I’m lost. We donate items regularly and my child has no problem sharing or parting with, but that takes some of the excitement of gift giving occasions when it’s like any other day. I tried to intercept packages and sort them privately but toddlers are smart and mine knows what a cardboard box might contain and even randomly asks us to take them for check, so my subterfuge attempts rarely work. Should I continue to fight the good fight and get rid of what I can? Or not to worry because despite the abundance of goods, my child was brought up with love, care and good values and therefore does not seem at all spoiled?
-Please stop with the gifts
Dear please stop,
It definitely falls into the category of “first world problems”. Is the way your loved ones have a relationship with your child throwing money in an envelope? If so, that’s a problem there. Do they make video calls? Visit for the holidays? These are things that really matter, because as Tony Stark’s dad said in Avengers: Endgame, “No amount of money has ever been bought a second time.”
If this really bothers you, you should categorically tell them to stop. Not in a “Aww shucks, you shouldn’t have” way – I’m talking about “Look, these gifts make me really uncomfortable and I want you to stop sending them now or else I’ll donate them to charity “kind of way. That should stop it all.”
In case they still send things for no reason, you can ask them to send money instead. Then you can put it in your child’s college fund, donate it to a good cause, or use it for a fun vacation. I know rich people like your loved ones, and a lot of them have no idea what to do with all their money, so they just give it away. Better than stacking it up, I guess. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t make you a bad person to accept it and spend it however you see fit.
Dear care and nourishment,
For complicated but good reasons, my kids attend a school which is a 45 minute ride from our house, 10 minutes from my job. They are in kindergarten and fifth grade, and school goes through high school. As you can imagine, that means I take care of all the transport and logistics and my husband – who has a job halfway between home and school, and a lot less flexibility – no ‘in fact none. During the brief part of this year that has been in person (which, yes!), I must have taken over 2 hours out of my workday for the afternoon commute home (and putting on makeup. the evening). I want to move near the school. My husband doesn’t. The kids don’t know, but of course they don’t want to either (kids never want to move). They claim they don’t mind the ride, but the exhausting and frenzied backseat feuds tell a different story. We would all forgo extracurricular activities – sports leagues and the like – if we moved. Not all of these things are reproducible across town, and I’m not insensitive enough to think it doesn’t matter. Also the school neighborhood has smaller lots so for the same price per square foot we would have a smaller / older house and no garage. I still think we should move. And so on.
– Should we move?
Dear Do we have to move,
I’m sorry to put the hammer down here, but it sounds extremely selfish. You are ready to give up on children’s extracurricular activities, move into a smaller, older house, and upset your family so much you can spend less time in the car with your children? Do you honestly think it’s OK?
What if you move and then get laid off? Would you be able to live with yourself? Jobs come and go, and I don’t think it would be wise to make an unpopular decision because of a 45 minute commute. I know parents who have 90 minute trips each way and don’t complain. It’s just part of the job sometimes.
I don’t think you are a bad parent – I just think your exhaustion doesn’t make you think right. Getting away is a big decision to make for a seemingly minor inconvenience. I can’t tell you what to do, but I think you should get this one out.
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