Dear Amy: My husband and I are in our late-60s. We have no children.
We are usually invited by nieces and nephews to join them for Thanksgiving dinner.
My problem concerns my brother, “Jack,” who inevitably brings up topics that we do not agree with (he believes that COVID is just a mild flu, vaccines are not useful, the last election was stolen, the current president is stupid, climate change is a hoax, etc.).
Most of the family supported the former president in the last election; we are probably the only ones in the family who voted Democratic.
At one of the last family get-togethers, Jack and another family member were having a discussion in front of my husband, saying that most Democrats don't go to church and don't have morals.
My husband didn't say anything, but he was offended.
Although we would like to see family members, we think we will just stay home for Thanksgiving.
When and if we are invited, I can say that we made other plans, but someone will inevitably ask what we are doing.
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Should I just tell Jack that I am tired of him bringing up inflammatory topics, and I am staying home?
I know he will not refrain from bringing up these topics, and he is very dogmatic in his views. – Tired
Dear Tired: In addition to the political divide, you have described an incident where your husband was offended (for good reason), but didn’t respond.
You seem extremely passive in the face of this onslaught, perhaps because it is overwhelming in the moment, but it seems to me that these family members aren’t starting arguments – because they all agree with each other.
All the same – it is galling to be lectured to, especially since your guy is in the White House.
You don’t need to invent an excuse in order to decline this year. Just tell them you’ve decided to take a break from politics.
Dear Amy: I have been fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom to our son over the past five years. This year he is in school.
Given the unpredictability of the school year (possible virtual schooling, quarantining, etc.) and my husband’s demanding job, we agreed that I should continue to stay home this year.
I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease late last year and we agreed that it’s good for me to have some time to focus on my health.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had multiple calls/texts from friends panicking because their child is either suddenly having virtual school because of COVID cases in their classroom, or they are being sent home from daycare due to fevers or cold/flu-like symptoms.
These moms are asking me to babysit their children for all or part of the day so they can go to work or attend previously planned activities.
I’m hesitant to spend extended periods of time with children who are sick or who have been around other sick kids.
So, my policy is that I will help out, only if the child has a current negative COVID test.
I have received some flippant responses: (i.e., “Never mind,” and, “I have no intention to get a test, because they weren’t exposed”).
This has made me question whether I’m being unreasonable.
I think some of my friends believe that since I have all this “free time” I would make a great free babysitter. Ultimately, I know they are stressed, and I do want to help them, but I also want to keep my family safe.
What are your thoughts? – A Loyal Reader
Dear Loyal: You do not have to justify your choice to decline babysitting for children who are home from school because they are sick, or have possibly been exposed to COVID.
Nor do you have to justify your choice not to babysit, regardless of the circumstances. You only need to keep in mind that parents do exchange child-related favors over time, and you might someday be in the position of asking.
Now that you have declined and received frosty responses, these parents will have figured out that you are not going to be available to them for backup.
Dear Amy: You maintained that a father who refused to address his child by their new “non-binary” identity was being “hateful.”
Just because the cultural paradigm has changed, the truth and science has not.
Amy, you are alienating and marginalizing a significant portion of the population. – SB
Dear SB: Ironically, “alienating and marginalizing” was exactly what this father was doing.
You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: email@example.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter
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