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home : columns : dear harriette February 6, 2016

4/1/2014 9:37:00 AM
Adding mother-in-law to vacation means more rooms

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I are planning a trip with our three children next month to visit friends and family in California. We made a budget for our family of five to stay in a three-star hotel. My husband wants to bring his mother with us. It will be a tight fit in our SUV, which I do not have a problem with, but what bothers me is that my husband wants his mother to stay with us in our hotel room. I offered to get two rooms, but he feels I am being unreasonable. I feel that three adults and three children is a lot to pack into a small hotel room. This should be a fun and happy time for my family, but I am frustrated and angry over this situation. Am I being unreasonable? Or should I just accept it and deal with being miserable? -- Unhappy Wife, Memphis, Tenn.

DEAR UNHAPPY WIFE: You should not go into your vacation with the mindset that it will be a miserable trip for you. Why? Because you will be guaranteeing that you will be looking through a miserable lens the entire time.

Instead, do some research. Find out if the hotel has adjoining rooms. Many hotels offer this option for larger parties. In this way, you can present the option of the space and privacy that two rooms can offer with the proximity that an open door between the rooms provides at the same time. If they have this available and it fits within your budget, present it to your husband.

Be clear with him that your concerns are real about the additional room. Push for this compromise. You need to be a united front before you head west.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just sort of made up with a friend who had been on the outs with me for two years. We recently hung out and had a really good time. We had a misunderstanding a while back, and I thought that we were cool. She brought up how I had hurt her feelings back then, and I sincerely apologized. But then she kept her distance. Anyway, we spent some time together the other day, and it felt like everything was OK. Should I ask her if she is still mad at me or just go with the flow? -- Re-Friended, Detroit

DEAR RE-FRIENDED: A piece of wisdom I can offer is for you to live in the moment. You say that the two of you have made up or at least you are reconnected now after some time. Rather than dredging up the past, be fully present as you engage your friend.  

You can follow up with a call, text or email to say how much fun you had and invite her to do something else with you in the near future. It could be that you don't ever need to rehash the past. Trust that your relationship now is healthy and build on that.  

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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