Dear Abby: Moving back home comes with questions of privacy

Published 11:00 am Friday, April 2, 2021

DEAR ABBY: At the age of 30, I recently had to move back with my parents. I am not the tidiest person in the world, but I thrive on the saying, “Dust, not dirt.”

I recently went on vacation. I knew my room was a little messier than I’d like, but I also knew I’d return from vacation ready to tackle the pile of laundry and sweep and mop the floor. Lo and behold, when I walked into my room, it was clean and organized! Abby, I felt my privacy had been invaded.

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I was embarrassed and ashamed, but also hurt because my parents had trespassed beyond my closed door. I feel betrayed and like my personal privacy was undermined. What should I do? — INVADED SPACE

DEAR INVADED: I’m glad you asked. I think you should get over it, and fast. I assume you are staying rent-free in your parents’ home.

You are no longer a teenager, and nobody trespassed. While you are under their roof, make an extra effort to keep the room you occupy free from dust and a pile of dirty laundry. If you act like a gracious guest instead of a spoiled child, there will be no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed.

DEAR ABBY: I’m married and the mother of two kids, ages 5 and 7. My husband is a very involved father and partner in our marriage. My complaint is that he’s too trusting of other people and doesn’t keep an eye on the kids in public places.

An example: He’ll take them to the grocery store and let them hang out in the toy department while he’s getting groceries. They will be 100 yards away from each other. I have told him several times that I’m not comfortable with this, yet he continues to do it. I’m not sure what to do about it anymore. Have you any suggestions? — NERVOUS IN NEBRASKA

DEAR NERVOUS: Yes. Because your husband can’t be trusted to watch the children when they accompany him shopping, talk to the kids and impress upon them the importance of staying close to their father. However, if this doesn’t work, then YOU will have to take over the errands until the children are older.

DEAR ABBY: I’m 60 and was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years. I have an associate degree in the field that I just got a job in. My problem is, at this age, I’m a little slower at learning new things. My supervisor was willing to help me for the first week, but now she seems to have lost patience with me.

I have been here barely two weeks, and she made a comment that made me feel terrible. She was trying to teach me a filing system, and I was having a hard time understanding it. She said in front of the entire office that “around here we have to use our brains.” Should I talk to her or just push through? — A LITTLE SLOWER

DEAR SLOWER: Let it slide this time. However, if her lack of tact continues, talk to her about how her comment made you feel. And in the meantime, learn that filing system.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.