Polly Peepers – Hoping For The Best

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Polly Peepers / guest columnist

Family Advice


Hoping For The Best


Dear Polly,

I love your column and share it monthly with my girlfriends. We love that you’re not afraid to speak your mind, and that your advice is always so sensible, even if sometimes it’s outside the box. Well, Polly, I am beginning to feel boxed … and it’s something I can’t share with the girls.

Oftentimes, the girls and I talk about what is a successful relationship? Each of us understands that we have it better than most, yet there is, I must admit, somewhat of an undercurrent of competition as to which marriage is successful and which marriage is not. My minister tells me this is normal, and not to pay attention.

Here’s my problem – I guess I just feel like a liar.

My husband and I argue way more than I let on. And every time the girls talk about successful relationships, I find myself not willing to share what really goes on between the two of us. He’s a good man, he treats me well, but we’re really so different, in the Mars and Venus kind of way. My minister tells me, “… at least he lets you argue with him.” I don’t know, is that really a privilege? I’m beginning to think my minister is a chauvinist, which is why I’m coming to you.

What is the secret? How do my husband and I deal with all of the arguments? How can I contribute to making this a successful relationship? It’s really important to me.  What is the secret? How do my husband and I deal with all of the arguments? How can I contribute to making this a successful relationship? It’s really important.

    – Hoping for the Best, Peachwood, Kansas

Dear Hoping for the Best,                          The best way I can answer your question is to send along a rarely seen video from friends of mine. He is a Greek Orthodox priest, and she forgives him. Polly

Family Advice Video >> go to Videos / Miscellaneous

Dear Polly,

Look, I’m a guy, and I don’t normally do this kind of thing, like write and ask for advice. I admit it’s easier than doing it in person, but still, I’m just not that way. Unfortunately, as it turns out, I’m desperate, and the cashier at the University who really understands me has suggested I write to you.

I am divorced and a co-parent of two girls with my first wife. I married again and my second wife who also had a child from a previous marriage, wanted a thousand more children, and unfortunately, I didn’t ask her about that particular subject before we got married. We parted ways when she decided she didn’t appreciate my full-body condom, and she went off and signed up at a sperm bank to have someone else’s kid. I took that as a sign that this relationship wasn’t as long term as I’d hoped.

Anyway, I’ve got these two girls from my first marriage, and their mother has decided to leave town. Not really move out of the county, mind you, but sort of far enough away not to be involved. Her lawyer claims she did her part, giving birth, and that she has HypoDistancia, a disease that apparently allows you to let everyone else take care of your bills. 

Polly – I hate writing this stuff about myself. But tell me, I have these girls who need a functional mother. I mean pretty soon they’re going to have you know, that time of the month. And I don’t have siblings to fill in, or the money to hire a Mrs. Doubtfire. I just want to be a good dad. We only have one bathroom.

                                                                            In Deep Sh*t, Anacortes, Washington

Dear In Deep Sh*t,

There is no existential shovel large enough to make this easy. Let’s begin with what not to do. I wouldn’t advise the desperate path of beating the bushes for a new relationship just to have a role model for your girls. It’s a temptation, I know, but don’t panic. First lick your wounds from your most recent marriage, and then figure out what you’ve learned from the experience. Like proposing to someone you think you know, but not really. I think there’s room for growth there.

You underestimate yourself. Most men do when it comes to nurturing. In fact, I would venture to say you have far more going for you than you might imagine. Young girls want to please the opposite sex considerably more than they want to please the same sex. They are not in competition with you as much as they might be with a mother-figure. In fact, I would suggest to keep your ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ single father card in your back pocket. It’s your ace.

Ask your girls to help you raise them. Ask for their advice. Be honest with them as to your fears and vulnerability. It works well in dating, and equally well in parenting. And rather than seeking out advice from female friends as to what to do, seek out advice from single fathers, share their successes and their mistakes. I guarantee you this – by being honest with yourself and with your girls, they will grow up to love you for the effort you’ve put in, and if necessary, forgive you for the mistakes you have made.

Believing in yourself as a parent is believing in them as your children, and no parent can do more


Polly Peepers – Is It Fair?

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Polly Peepers / guest columnist

Family Advice

Younger than the wisdom her columns suggest, Polly Peepers has been a columnist since the age of ten when she organized her grade school’s first newspaper to protest the nutritional value of school lunch food. Since then, Polly has written for newspapers all over the world and has attracted a large following of mostly faithful readers seeking to navigate a WTF world.


Is it Fair?


Dear Polly – I will turn fifty-seven in October, and Polly, even though I feel terrible saying this, in some ways I’m done being a parent. And the pandemic has nothing to do with it … well, maybe. My second husband, Otto, who is related to neither of my children said to me recently, “When are you going to kick these bozo children of yours out of the house?”

That’s right, Polly, both of my sons are in their late thirties and they haven’t left home yet. I guess Otto is right – if I expect more, I’ll get more. They have newspaper routes, but that doesn’t seem to pay their bills. They always give us pictures of themselves from photo booths for Christmas. That seems sweet to me. Polly, please help me. Is it too much to ask to have the house to ourselves? I’ve already accepted waking up to Otto every morning – isn’t that enough?

– Is it fair, Massachusetts

Dear Is It Fair

There is nothing I can tell you that will solve your problem. A sense of humor perhaps, that’s always a dependable refuge. Here are some of my favorite quotes from past readers about parenting their children –

(1) Where was the F.D.A.? Kids should come w/label warnings that parenting can be hazardous to your health …  Mark S, Van Nuys

(2) Children are gone today, here tomorrow – gone today when they’re asked to do chores, here tomorrow when they need a loan … Christine A, Coos Bay

(3) My forty-year-old totally capable adult child has lived at home since he was thirty – I’m so tired of him standing in front of the refrigerator scratching himself. It’s like losing at Old Maid … Lois K. Silver Springs

(4) No child asked to be born … Geraldo R, Gainesville

Is It Fair, the only real comment I can personally share with you is that you can’t eliminate the worry card in your parenting, but you can put limits on your giving … you still have to help clean up on Aisle Six, but you’re no longer the manager of the store.



Dear Polly,

Can you answer this question? How can we keep our family from arguing at the dinner table, especially on holidays? I just can’t stand it anymore. My Uncle Don and my Grandpa argue about the same old things and by the time we get to dessert everyone wants to hide in the car.

Grandpa, the engineer, always begins with “What is Art anyway?” Everyone then usually rolls their eyes and realizes we’re all stuck again.  I don’t know Polly, am I supposed to know what Art is? Do you know what Art is? Grandpa thinks it’s all crap and Uncle Don thinks Grandpa is all crap.

This discussion then leads to arguing about what matters in life. Uncle Don is a sixty-year-old bachelor and feels like Grandpa is always implying that anybody who doesn’t have children is worthless. Uncle Don is gay, but he hasn’t told us yet.                                                          

I’ve decided to become a vegetarian (except for pizzas with pepperoni). Then maybe next holiday, they’ll put me at the vegetarian table with Aunt Lucy and Uncle Burt. With everything going on at the red meat table, what’s a thirteen-year-old girl to do?  

– Tired of The Arguing / Malverne, NY

Dear Tired of the Arguing,

First of all, keep Grandpa away from the booze and start feeding him as soon as he steps in the door. Put on music from his generation. Try the Beatles. Do your best to either to fill him with food or to confuse him by asking how much money you owe him.  

If all of that doesn’t work and he begins to really get out of line, interrupt and make a toast to him – make it a very long toast. He’ll soon forget about needing to embarrass Uncle Don.



Polly Peepers – Stuck Without Tires

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Polly Peepers / guest columnist

Family Advice

Stuck Without Tires


Dear Polly,

I’m no different than anyone else, Polly – this really sucks. And I’m not sure I can handle it any more … I mean my boyfriend and I are cool. At least, so far we are. We’ve only been living together since New Year’s Eve – I guess I agreed to a lot of things that night.

So what do I do? How do I keep from going crazy, you know, what if all of this stay-in-place stuff goes on until the end of the month or something? What’s your advice?                                    

Stuck Without Tires, Chevy Chase, Maryland

Dear Stuck Without Tires,

The first thing I can suggest to you is be prepared to put on your big-girl pants because this virus is not going away anytime soon. Life has changed for years. That’s what I would term the bigger picture.

Regarding the intermediate picture, living with your boyfriend is a very big step. If you haven’t dialed this in by now, all live-in relationships require a bevy of learn-on-the-job skills with no tried-and-true formula for success … you adapt as you go. This is even more important in a pandemic quarantine where the challenges of personal chemistry and intimacy are heightened.

Any successful relationship basically involves the exact same dance – doing your best to listen, developing the skill to be patient, not trying to change anyone, and remembering to have fun.

As for the shorter term, I think the most important thing to understand in these difficult times is the importance of organization and perspective. I’d like you to consider some basic guidelines that may be of help in place:

1. laziness – laziness can be a sign of depression – be on the lookout for not taking your clothes off for bed at night, showering in the morning with your clothes on, or eating out of cans. These are probably red flags. So is bringing the garbage container inside the house to eliminate making trips going outside.

2. indulgence – it’s so easy to lose our way or focus while we’re in-place. We are a culture that worships rewards, and when we find ourselves quarantined, it’s hard not to fall into a system where we reward ourselves for completing minimal acts, like showering … one note of concern – if you’re binge-watching the wall, pull back on the pot.

3. the scale – relocating your bathroom scale far under your bed is probably not a good idea. Remember, Hershey bars are not a source of protein and for best results, weigh yourself in the morning and not at night. 

4. naps – limit naps to no more than one per hour.     If you’re sleeping more in the day than you are at night, you might consider thirty-six hours straight of binge-watching Game of Thrones before trying to sleep through the night again.

5. dating – if you’re in place with a partner, try a special ‘date night’ – dress up, put on make-up, and meet in the back yard. Of course, meeting in the backyard can offer a number of role-playing opportunities … like pretending you’re meeting for the first time.

6. chores – an interesting thing about doing chores in captivity is it’s no longer the wild, wild west of freedom and endless options. What will you do with your allotted space? Will you conquer it, or will it conquer you?

(Completing chores is a definite component of good mental health. For depressed patients, clinicians commonly suggest making a list every morning and checking it off every night. Slam dunks like getting out of bed are allowed on the list. The prize is the sense of accomplishment.)

7. news – this is a tough one … do you really want to know everything? Though this may give you a sense of security and help you pass the time in place, the more likely outcome is that you become saturated, bloated, and burdened by it all. Live your own life, not the media’s.


… so, Stuck Without Tires, my advice remains simple –

first of all, in any relationship, in place or not, never go down the dead end of trying to change someone if there’s conflict. That’s a priori.

When you’re done with accepting this required premise, proceed with developing the skills of survival – once again, being patient, learning to listen, and remembering to have fun. Hopefully, your boyfriend wants to achieve these goals as well. Accept that any meaningful relationship in any circumstance is a challenge to keep open and fresh.

And while you’re at it, turn off your addiction to CNN and Me-Tube … it may be time for a cosmic timeout to reassess things on a number of levels.