DEAR STEEL ADVICE: For my daughter's wedding can I wear a dressy outfit I already own? Do I have to buy something new to wear for her wedding?
-- CAUGHT IN WEDDING MAZE
DEAR CAUGHT: Steer clear of the wedding whirl wheel. Mothers of a bride or groom can be totally overwhelmed when they select their wedding outfits and end up well over budget. They mistakenly believe that everything down to their undergarments has to be new. It does not. Accessorize your outfit so your look is stylish and current. At the wedding and reception flash a beautiful smile when you receive compliments. No need to elaborate or go into details about shopping in your closet.
DEAR STEEL ADVICE: If I could turn the clock back three years I would do it in a heartbeat. Three years ago I was divorced and raising my two kids. I decided to marry a man who had custody of his two kids. My kids are well mannered and pitch in with chores around the house. I raised them that way. His kids are lazy and disrespectful. The younger one gets in trouble all the time and has been caught smoking in her room. My husband always sides with his kids. When he punishes them they are grounded, but they still have iPhone and iPad and so no big deal. Why do my kids have to follow the rules and his don't? I have tried talking and yelling, and I am making myself sick. I don't want to spend the rest of my life living like this. It is not fair to me or my kids.
-- MESSY BLEND
DEAR FRUSTRATED MOM: You and your husband should develop a set of house rules. A large white board in the kitchen with the chores and responsibilities allocated is visible evidence of your game plan. Follow through with a weekly family round table to stay on track. It sounds like you and your husband came to the marriage with different parenting styles. You probably need to ease up a bit, and he needs to give you more support. Bringing two families together is extraordinarily difficult and becomes more confusing when the parents do not support each other. If your situation continues to perpetuate chaos and constant strife, you may want to consider turning back that clock and moving forward in another direction with your two children.
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