Dear Janice,

I have tried so hard to get my husband of 12 years to up his game because we have three children under 10, we both work full-time, and I need help.

He does show willingness, but I seriously wonder if he botches things up so that I lose the rag and do everything myself.

The final straw was when he text me at work to let me know that one of the kids had been sick, but hadn’t quite made it to the toilet.

Naturally, I assumed I was going home to clean up vomit, however, he met me at the front door looking well-pleased saying ‘no worries, it’s sorted’.

But his idea of sorting it was to vacuum it up!

I was seething, especially as I had just bought the blinking thing a month before.

He ran off like a scalded cat when he saw the disapproval on my face.

Am I being unreasonable? 


Dear Jane,

Absolutely not. Many readers will undoubtedly share your frustrations, but where do you go from here?

After 12 years, I fear there is little hope of your husband suddenly becoming a domestic God, so let’s start small.

Recognise that it’s pointless tasking him with jobs out of his capabilities, (it’s estimated 70% of men have no idea how to operate most of their domestic appliances).

Make a list of all chores to be done, and circle the ones he is realistically able to do. Washing the car, manning the dishwasher, mopping the floors, vacuuming (not vomit), overseeing the kids’ homework, etc.  There must be some foolproof tasks he can perform reasonably well, and you do the rest.

Yes, this may still seem unfair, but your feelings of overwhelming exasperation when fixing his botched chores will be far more tiresome than doing them yourself.

Perhaps he can spend more time with the kids, take them to the park, their clubs etc which will free you up to get on with the more mundane day-to-day stuff.

When he gets it ‘right’, praise him and say thanks.  It may feel like you are raising a fourth child, but if it gets you the outcome you are hoping for, then it’s a result.

Dear Janice,

Eight years on and I still get extremely upset over the abortion I had.

Every year since, I imagine what my child would look like, and what he/she would be like as a person.

I have a five-year-old and I wonder if they would have looked similar, and I know that my daughter would have loved an older brother or sister.

I pray that these feelings will stop, and then I feel guilty for that too.


Dear Elaine,

Sub conscientiously punishing yourself regularly will never make you feel better. It won’t help you deal with your emotions, and it won’t help you overcome the guilt you feel.

Guilt and regret are powerful emotions. Guilt is when you believe you have done something wrong, and regret is when you wish you could change it.

Check out locally for a psychotherapist who can provide Compassion Focussed Therapy. This aims to help promote mental and emotional healing by encouraging people like you to be compassionate towards themselves.

Also, try to think rationally. Your daughter has never had an older sibling, so will not know what she is missing, therefore beating yourself up is not helping.

I hope you can find a way to move on.

Dear Janice,

I’ve turned 60 years old and feel as though life is passing me by.

My job is boring. I have no real friends, and my husband doesn’t want to do anything other than watch telly and go to the pub for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, whereas I yearn for more.

The trouble is, I don’t even know what the ‘more’ is.  I just feel that my life is empty.

Our kids left home years ago and live quite a distance away, so it’s not like I have family nearby to visit.

Surely there must be more to life?


Dear Sheila,

Milestone birthdays can lead us to question where we are in life, what are we doing, and where we are going.

And yes, there is indeed an exciting world out there waiting to be explored.

Perhaps your husband doesn’t want to move out of his comfort zone, but what’s stopping you from making your own plans?

Write down things you might like to do, and places you want to see.

You don’t need to be trekking in Nepal, skydiving, or swimming with dolphins, perhaps a visit to a museum or stately home, or an away day bus or train ride to the seaside.

I guarantee when you start to do something just a little bit different, your mindset will start to shift just a little bit, then a bit more, and…… before you know it, these small changes will begin to make a big difference.

There are lots of groups with like-minded people who just want to do something/anything other than sit about, so check out what’s going on nearby.

Sheila, filling your diary with small stepping-stone events throughout the year will bring you much happiness, and perhaps when your husband notices the change in your demeanour, he might want to tag along.