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Section: relationships, family, gender, marriage, money

Dear Ann Landers,
One day last weekend, my parents popped in just as my husband and I finished lunch. It was one of those rare occasions when my husband had offered to do the dishes. I was shocked when my mother asked, "Why is HE doing the dishes?" My mother has always been very traditional when it comes to women's roles, and her disapproving remark annoyed me. Wishing to avoid a confrontation, I simply did not respond. What I SHOULD have said was "Maybe because this is the '90s and I work, too." I could have added, "Maybe because I spackled and sanded and painted all the bedroom walls. Maybe because I ripped up the carpet on the stairs, pulled nails and repainted the stairway. Maybe because I go to his shop and do sanding for him while he builds kitchens for a living. Maybe because I helped him put a new floor in the upstairs bathroom. Maybe because I help him unload wood from his pickup truck. Maybe because I'm usually the one who hauls two large garbage cans filled with trash down the road to be collected. Maybe because I'm constantly picking up after him, cooking his meals and doing his laundry. Maybe because we do things for each other and I shouldn't be made to feel guilty if he does the dishes once in a while." I'd love to write more, Ann, but I've got to mop the kitchen floor and start preparing Sunday's dinner. HIS family is coming over. If my mother reads this, I've got another shocker for her. He cooks, too. And now, if I could only get him to sew. -- Doing It All in Binghamton, N.Y.

Dear Bing.,
You don't owe your mother any explanation as to why your husband does the dishes. It's not her business. If the subject comes up again, you can hand her this column.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Momma Reyes's Comment
Dear Doing It All, boy do I hear you loud and clear! Sometimes I marvel at all the things I handle in one day! Lol! Try not to be too hard on your Mom and just let it pass. She does not witness your daily routine at home to know how much you contribute to your household. I think you did the right thing by not responding. It’s not a subject worth exchanging harsh words. After all, it’s your mother. [email protected]

Reader Comment
Probably if she witnessed the daily routine she would have been even more upset by the 'manly' responsibilities her daughter takes on. I also do not agree with letting it pass. If you hadn't noticed her words expressed a great deal of frustration over 'letting it go' for apparently a very long time. They need to have an open, honest, respectful conversation about the different beliefs of each and agree to disagree (if needed) but to work through it and 'let it pass' Every time i read your advice I cringe. It seems that letting things pass/avoiding is just the only way to deal with things. i think it is time I stop reading your comments.

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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"If you marry a man who cheats on his wife, you'll be married to a man who cheats on his wife."
-Ann Landers