My sister is an accomplished lawyer. She and her husband have been married for nearly 10 years. They’ve hit a rough patch in their relationship and she’s dealing with it by smoking pot at the end of her long work day.
She has a big job and is very respected in her niche legal field. But at night, when she’s stoned, she eats everything in sight. She’s gaining weight and is unable to fit into most of her corporate outfits. She’s started wearing much more casual, unflattering clothing to the office.
I went to meet her last week and was shocked at her office outfit. It must have shown in my face because her colleague pulled me into her office to talk to me and ask if my sister was OK.
How can I help my sister get back to her best self? I would hate for this to have a negative effect on her work persona after all the hard work she’s put in.
I’m sure you have a full life of your own, so this is simply a suggestion. Assuming you’re in this hemisphere, now that the weather is getting nicer, meet your sister after work, in the evenings, a few times a week and go for a walk (or run, tennis game or swim, etc.).
Spend that time helping her by doing these three things: listening to her talk about her problems with her husband; getting her fresh air and exercise; and keeping her away from the candy cupboard.
No false pretences here – you’re her sister. Tell her your concerns and that you want to help. She’ll appreciate you and the effort. It sounds as though she’ll need to talk to someone else as well, but this is a healthy start.
My daughter’s friend comes from a very wealthy family. Her parents have been embroiled in a bitter divorce for years now. Every school holiday one of them takes her on a “trip of a lifetime.” She returns from these trips with lots of great stories and new things.
My nine-year-old daughter doesn’t understand that what is going on is not the norm for most people their age. She wonders why we can’t go on all of these various trips.
How do I explain that going on an African safari, a ski trip to the Alps, a shopping spree in Paris, a Disney World vacation and a Broadway extended weekend is a lot of travel and expense in one year? That these are vacations many people save up for years to afford?
It’s so over the top, I don’t think the couple themselves can even sustain the expense. It’s all about the child, custody and the divorce, but it’s ugly.
This is so sad for the child. It sounds like she’s being used as a pawn and “bought” with all that her parents are giving her. I would bet the airfare that all she wants is some “normal” kid time with her parents and some love.
As for your daughter, continue to teach her the values that are important to you. Also, if you think she’s ready, there are lots of age-appropriate books on teaching children about money. You can also take her with you to the grocery store, toy store, book store, and show her how different items have different cost and different value.
Lastly, it sounds like you’d be doing everyone a favour if you invited your daughter’s friend over to do homework and play after school; for dinner with your family; or for a home movie night with popcorn and a sleepover.
FEEDBACK Regarding the person in line with loud business talkers (March 3):
Reader #1 – “Why not suggest to the loudmouth that you’ll hold his place in line while he steps away to deal with the issue so as not to disturb others in proximity? Putting up and shutting up to let a boor continue unfettered with their bad behaviour does not make the world a nicer place.”
Lisi – I like your approach. It’s a bit passive-aggressive, but I think it would work.
Reader #2 – “I have little patience for people who subject me to their unwanted business conversations. I start to offer commentary on them. This annoys them and often makes them take it elsewhere.”
Lisi – This response made me laugh out loud. It takes some chutzpah to do that, but if you’ve got it, go for it. Just be careful – you never know how people will react.