DR. WALLACE: I have three siblings and all of us are expected to do regular chores in our home — in the garage and in our yard and garden.
We rotate these responsibilities regularly, and my parents, especially my father, like this because they say we should be able to handle a variety of tasks around the home as we grow into becoming adults on our own someday.
But at this time of the year, I’m running into a problem, as whenever it’s my weekend to work in the yard, I sometimes have to cut the grass or do gardening in areas that cause me to sneeze uncontrollably.
I want to switch tasks whenever I’m supposed to be in the yard with my sister, but my father won’t let me do that. My mom agrees with me and my parents have even had a few arguments about this.
Do you think that I should be forced to work in the yard when I have allergies? My father seems to think that I’ll get used to the air out there and eventually I’ll stop sneezing so much. — Not Happy Doing Yard Work, via email
NOT HAPPY DOING YARD WORK: I agree with you on this issue. But to keep your father happy, perhaps you can keep track of how many weeks she helped you in the yard during allergy season, and then in the fall and winter you and your sister could “trade back” those shifts so that you each end up working the same time in the yard.
In the fall you’ll likely be picking up a lot of falling leaves and in the winter, you’ll shovel snow or do some general cleaning and maintenance. Since there are four siblings in your family, this means you’d each work in the yard 13 weekends a year, or one-fourth of the time. I feel it’s quite reasonable for you to be able to do most or all of your 13 weeks after the pollen season subsides.
And for the record, if you’re allergic to that air in the spring and summer, no amount of exposure is going to build immunity to it. Therefore, your father should allow this adjustment (in my opinion).
DR. WALLACE: I’m a 22-year-old college student and all my girlfriends are already getting married or engaged. I go on a few casual dates here and there, but I don’t see myself as needing to rush into starting a family.
The rest of my friends in this part of the country seem to think there may be something wrong with me, and I actually feel pressure from them to engage in a serious relationship that can lead to marriage.
Do you feel that waiting to get married later in life these days is acceptable? And who knows; if I don’t find the perfect person, I may never get married at all since I’m not one who likes to compromise. — The Odd Girl Out, via email
THE ODD GIRL OUT: There is absolutely nothing wrong with not wishing to get married right away, or ever, for that matter. Although I’ve been happily married for many decades, I respect, admire and agree with your philosophy of not compromising.
As you go through life, perhaps you’ll run into an outstanding match who interests you, and you may end up married someday. Who knows?
In the meantime, enjoy your life and explain to your friends that you wish to remain close to them but that you’d appreciate it if they wouldn’t project their own preferences regarding relationships upon you.