Dear Abby: I just found out I’m pregnant with our third child, a “surprise” baby. We’re due Christmas week, but we’re scrambling to get our already stretched finances in order. We’re trying to cut back on expenses by taking no vacations this year, budgeting food expenses and embracing second hand and hand-me-downs.
I told my husband I’d like to forgo giving the adults’ Christmas presents this year. We have a large extended family with multiple kids, and it’s a strain anyway. He was upset and said he would rather keep giving the presents, even though it could save up to $2,000. Add that cost and the giving birth/new baby cost, and it’s just too much.
I took the stance that we’re all parents now with financial responsibilities, some are retired and don’t need anything (my parents’ favorite refrain), and some are financially strained because of job problems from COVID. Focusing only on the kids just makes sense. What do you think?
Delivering on Christmas
Dear Delivering: I agree that it’s not only time to trim your gift list, but also necessary. With the new baby arriving during the Christmas holidays, his or her needs must take priority, at least this year and probably longer. Make sure the adult relatives know well in advance and there should be no hurt feelings.
Dear Abby: I’m educated, attractive, financially stable, easygoing, open-minded and still single at 61. I was engaged twice but never made it to the altar, and there are no children in the picture. When I reach out to people, they are delighted to hear from me, but I’m always the one who must initiate the contact. I am now the sole (almost 24/7) caregiver for my mother. We have a beautiful home and yard, but I am lonely.
I volunteered for years, but that stopped with the pandemic. Mom says I’m too smart and I don’t NEED anyone. That may be true, but I WANT someone. People don’t like me, and I don’t know why. Any suggestions would truly be appreciated.
Lonely for Too Long
Dear Lonely: People may not reach out not because they don’t like you, but because you have set a pattern and they are used to it. They may also be busy and concentrating on their families.
The pandemic and quarantine upended the majority of peoples’ lives, and your nearly 24/7 schedule caring for your mother hasn’t helped. Although I hesitate to contradict your mother, no one is “too smart.” Women who “need” someone too often settle for “anyone” and are no happier than you are. Be grateful you’re not in a situation like that.
For insight about why people aren’t more proactive in reaching out to you, start asking your friends — in a nonconfrontational way, of course. And get back to volunteering as soon as you’re able. You might also want to consider online dating, which has been successful for countless individuals.
Dear Readers: I’m wishing you a happy and healthy Fourth of July! Please drive carefully and celebrate safely.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.