|Heart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.
Q: I am a middle-class housewife aged 35 with two children. By nature I am calm and do the housework slowly and as perfectly as I can. My husband is the elder of two sons and my widowed 70-year-old mother-in-law divides her time between our home and that of my brother-in-law. She is hyper-active and needs to be kept occupied all the time. If left to herself, she would happily take over all the work of the house but I like to do things my way. How can I tell her this? Shehla, Karachi
A: Most housewives would love a mother-in-law like yours! Why on earth don't you let her take over the work and then spend your time reading, pursuing hobbies, doing things for your children, etc? If she does things in a way you don't like, put up with it if it is a small matter and politely suggest that she does it in a different manner if it is important to you. If she does ignore you, redo the work after she has finished it. She would then perhaps take the hint.
Q: I am the 19-year-old only son of a school teacher in a village school. I am a good student and am very ambitious. I have got admission in an engineering college in Lahore, it is a good college and I have got a scholarship so that I do not have to pay any fees. But my hostel and other expenses will be quite high. I am thinking of taking up a part-time job or take a student loan to incur the remaining cost. I am happy, but my parents are against my studying further. They want me to start working right away so that I can contribute to the family income and towards the marriages of my three sisters. I feel that my parents are ruining my life. Should I stand up to them and insist on taking the loan and joining the engineering college? Arif, Kasur
A: You should certainly stand up to your parents, but do not do so by confronting them or being impertinent. Perhaps they don't really understand what is at stake and how you can pay back the loan after getting a job and then go on to have a good life. Work out the maths of it and explain it to them. Assure them that a few tough years will ensure you a good future and that you will be able to do a lot for the family then. Be polite but firm and they will certainly see things your way.
Q: I am a 20-year-old youth from a good and well-off family. I am one of three sons and I am a great disappointment to my family. This is because while I am not a fool, I am absolutely disinterested in studies. From my school days, I have just not been able to concentrate on my books and though I managed fairly good results in the 10th standard, I have gone downhill since then. I have already failed twice in my 12th standards exams (I am very bad in maths and science) and am sure that I'll fail this time as well. How can I convince my parents to let me give up my studies? Harris Ali, Karachi
A: Give up your studies and do what? Even if you are from a well-off family, you need to do something; you can't just sit and live off your father's money. If you do so, you will lose your self-confidence, have no interest in living, and people will not respect you. So think about how you would like to spend your days. Is your father a businessman and would you like to join his business in some capacity? Okay, you do not want to study, but is there any vocational course you would like to do? Are you good at art or any craft? Would you like a job in sales, advertising, event management, public relations or something similar? You will have to study for a career in these fields too, but you will not have to study maths and science since an ability to talk well and be creative is more important than academic qualifications here.