An overbearing mother, bad manners and a shy boyfriend are this week's problems
Q It's always been made clear by my mother that she favours my sister, who was considered an easy child. On the other hand, I have always been more headstrong, less inclined to tick milestone boxes and instead pursue pathways that just feel right to me.
None of her criticisms have held me back and I gave up trying to get her to approve of me a long time ago. However, I am pregnant with my first child and it's a girl and there is a part of me that is terrified that I will mess this child up, that I will either unintentionally repeat the past or go so far out of my way to make my daughter feel acceptable in every way no matter what she does that I will utterly spoil her.
I've been looking into classes I can do to better prepare me to be a mum and reading lots of books, but should I make one last-ditch attempt to sort things out with my mum?
My only aim would be to ensure that she does not subconsciously put my daughter down the way she did me. I hold no hope that we can ever form a close bond, but it would be something if she could be kinder to my own daughter.
First, congratulations on your pregnancy. It's such an exciting time of your life and understandable that you want to be the very best mum that you can be, especially considering your own childhood difficulties.
I really admire you for being so strong and ignoring the various criticisms you've had to deal with. It sounds like you didn't turn into the exact person your mother wanted you to be, and she maybe felt she has let you down as a parent. I find it so sad to hear of family members who have fallen out, because family is so precious.
There are always two sides to these situations too, and perhaps you haven't taken the time to find out how she sees your relationship. I very much doubt she actually intended to push you away like this. So my advice is to really try to iron things out with your mum.
Explain that your pregnancy has made you think about motherhood and how you want to raise your daughter. Tell her how she made you feel and that you hope she treats your daughter with love and respect. Finally, try not to worry about what kind of mum you will be. Let it all happen naturally as it's difficult to plan these things in detail.
It's all about striking a healthy balance as a parent, and that can take time.
Bad manners drive me mad, but I have never been comfortable complaining or dealing with any kind of confrontation. There are two areas that really make me annoyed. The first is on the bus - people talk so loudly on their phones, and some even have them on hands free. A lot of the time these people are speaking in a foreign language and I think the fact that most of the people on the bus may not understand what they are saying makes them think they can just roar away.
It's quite rude - a lot of people use their commute to get in a head space for work or to chill out on the way home and it just bugs me that the odd person ruins a quiet space.
The second thing that annoys me is women out pushing buggies - they seem to think that everyone else should just move out of their way because they have a child with them.
They are even worse if they have a few kids - most of them do not tell their little ones to move aside for the lady or man - which is how it was done when I was a kid. Of course, it's hard to mind kids, but you're not doing them any favours by making them think the world is all about them. Is it possible to complain in a polite way in this world that is dominated by technology and a "me" culture?
I really understand and sympathise with you, and I'm often shocked by how rude and pushy people can be in shops and airports especially. But it's perhaps the nature of the times we live in, and a feature of busy city life.
The idea of complaining, even in a gentle way, will probably cause you as much hassle as the original problem, and it's unlikely others will respond kindly to it if they're rude to begin with.
So it most likely won't be the solution. If there is a figure of authority wherever you are when it happens again, then it may be worth speaking to them.
However, people are still entitled to speak on their phone on the bus and push their buggies around. It's just a pity that they weren't raised to have proper manners and some consideration for others.
Unfortunately, the best I think you can do is to learn to tolerate it - and wear headphones on the bus.
MY boyfriend of eight months never ever makes the first move - he's always up for it but he never initiates. I kind of went along with it but I'm at breaking point because I can't work out if this is what turns him on, me being dominant, or if he's not that into me and just kind of literally going along for the ride.
I mean, it's just not normal for a guy to be so hands-off - it makes me feel a bit pathetic, dropping the hand all the time.
I'm not massively traditional, but I think most women like to be pursued and made feel desirable by their man - but how do I bring this topic up without causing some kind of fuss?
It sounds like you're enjoying a great relationship, and he wouldn't be with you if he wasn't interested. But he's probably very shy about making the first move. Perhaps he has been rejected in the past or his sexual performance has been insulted, and he no longer has the confidence to initiate it for fear of further rejection.
But there's also nothing wrong with being the dominant one, and he may enjoy it when you take control. But I think the best thing to do it to speak to him about it. Just suggest that you would love to spice things up in the bedroom.
Explain that you would like it if he made the first move from time to time and made you feel like the desir- able one for a change. Be really enthusiastic and encouraging, and the positive feedback should help him to make the first move every time.