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Annie's mailbox: Lazy husband won't take responsibility for family

Dear Annie: I recently married my boyfriend, "Joey." We have a 5-month-old baby. Joey still goes out drinking with his friends, and I don't know if he's cheating on me. I've asked him many times to come home and take responsibility for his family because he doesn't spend a lot of time with us. He always promises he will, but nothing changes.

Joey is also lazy. He sleeps until noon and won't help with the housekeeping or cooking. We argue almost every day, and I'm tired of it. For our baby's sake, I'm trying to keep things together, but all the fighting and tension can't be good for our child.

Would it be better for the baby if I leave? We can't afford counseling, and I can't hold on much longer.

— Need Advice in Palau

Dear Palau: Does Joey have a job? Is he helping to support his family? The two of you need to decide what will provide the healthiest environment for your baby. Your clergyperson should be able to direct you to low-cost counseling services, and you also may be able to find affordable counseling through Palau Community College. Please look into it.

Dear Annie: My grandmother has emphysema and refuses to get help. Worse, she still smokes. She's started losing her memory and has become increasingly irrational and combative. She also has severe migraines and has lost nearly 50 pounds.

Today, I sat her down and told her everyone in the family is worried about her. I said we all love her and are trying to help. She accused me of being disrespectful and said I made her feel stupid and useless. My mom has given up on her, but I haven't. What can I do?

— Feeling Old

Dear Feeling: Ask your mother to speak to Grandma's doctor about her migraines and the irrational, combative behavior. There may be more going on than aging. We know you care deeply for your grandmother, but you must understand that she is ultimately responsible for her own health and you cannot force her to stop smoking. Under those circumstances, the most loving thing you can do is not to judge or argue with her about her choices, but to accept her as she is.

Dear Annie: I have something to say to "Baby Mama," who is 19 and wants to have a baby.

When I was 19, I became pregnant. My boyfriend and I had not planned this. Because of my pregnancy, I lost my job and was unable to go to college. Due to complications, I needed a C-section, and it will now be difficult to have any more kids should I choose to do so. My boyfriend, who I thought would be with me through thick and thin, left us when our baby was 8 months old, and it's been a constant struggle to get him to pay child support. I was desperate for love and support, so I moved in with a guy who turned out to be an alcoholic and a druggie and very abusive.

I am glad to say I am on the right track now. I love my son dearly, but this is not the life I wanted. I live with my parents, sharing a small bedroom with my now 3-year-old son. I work two jobs and am looking for a third. If it weren't for my parents, we would surely be on the street. It takes a lot to raise a child, including love, time and money. Wait until you are married and have a stable home so you can give your baby everything he needs.

— Single Mom

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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