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Dear Abby: I am a 31-year-old wife and mother. My husband, "Jake," works 40-plus hours a week, while I am a stay-at-home mom. My daughter, who is almost 3, keeps me on my toes. In the evenings and on weekends, Jake does yard work or works in the garden. I hate it because I'm with our daughter all day, every day, and he expects me to watch her while he's outside working. I dislike yard and garden work and don't like being outside. I also have health/physical issues that keep me from being as active as I would like.

Every weekend I feel my resentment and anger growing over this issue. Jake says it is necessary for us to have a garden, and I agree. But why must I have all the responsibility of caring for our daughter even on weekends?

I'd like it if Jake would stay in with us and give up on some of the outside activities. This is something we argue about at least once a week. What do you suggest?

- Second to a Shrub in Oregon



Dear Second to a Shrub: While tending to the yard and the garden may be necessary, it is also very important for your husband to devote some time to nurturing his relationship with his daughter. Mention that fact to him, and while you're at it, tell him she should be at least as important to him as the tomato plants and the zinnias.

You should not be saddled with all the child care responsibilities 24/7. Marriages are like gardens. If they're not given care and feeding, they will wither as yours appears to be doing.

Daughter seems content

Dear Abby: My daughter, "Joanne," is 42 and lives at home with me. She's attractive, friendly, well-liked and has a good job. She pays all her own bills.

The problem is, she seems stuck in her life. She hasn't dated in years and appears content to just go to work and come home.

Whenever I try to encourage her to get out more, she says, "It is what it is." She's not shy. She's outgoing, so I don't understand. I'd love for her to be independent and have her own apartment. Sometimes she'll turn it around and ask, "Do you WANT me to leave?"

Joanne doesn't seem to understand that I'm concerned only for her future. She has no siblings, and I worry that when I'm gone she'll be alone. I want her to get out more, meet someone and eventually fall in love. How do I get through to her without nagging?

- Only Wants the Best For Her



Dear Only Wants the Best: Your daughter has many positive attributes. Has it occurred to you that she may be perfectly happy with her life as it is and not looking for the kind of life you would like her to have? Worrying about her won't do either of you any good. Let the future work itself out. There's an old proverb with much truth in it: "Man plans; God laughs."