DEAR ABBY: I am a 26-year-old wife and mother of a 16- month-old son. For the most part, I feel blessed. However, there are times when I feel overwhelmed working and being a wife and mom. I never seem to get a break.

We live with my husband’s dad because we had some credit problems and are trying to get back on our feet. My father-in-law thinks I should do most of the household chores and that I should still be able to find enough time for myself – but it hasn’t worked out that way.

If I want to spend a few hours with my friends, my husband and his dad think it’s an imposition when I ask them to baby-sit. On the other hand, my husband takes off and hangs out with his friends any time he feels like it.

Am I wrong to feel there’s a double standard here? Don’t get me wrong – my husband and son and I do spend some time together, and we’re active in our church. But I can’t help feeling I need more time for myself. Please help. – OVERLOADED IN THE NORTHWEST

Before any more tensions and resentments build, it’s time to draw the line and speak up. As it stands, your father-in-law has a built-in maid and your husband has reverted to adolescence. Whether you get church-based or secular marriage counseling, get it NOW before you cave in under the stress of your current situation. You and your husband need to get back on your feet and find a place to call your own.

DEAR ABBY: I am 15 and have never had a boyfriend. All my friends have boyfriends, and I’m the only girl without a guy. This whole year I’ve had my eye on a senior at my school. I try my best to get his attention, but he doesn’t seem to take the hints. We say “hi” to each other in the halls, but that’s about it.

How can I get him to notice me, Abby? I mean, I’m really in love with him and want him to know how I feel. There’s only one problem – I’m kind of scared to approach him. Graduation is almost here and soon he’ll be leaving. What should I do? – SCARED TO MAKE THE FIRST MOVE IN FLORIDA

Give or send him a graduation card with a sincere note wishing him luck and letting him know you’ll miss seeing him on campus. It will give him an opening and show him that you like him.

If he doesn’t respond after that, set your sights on a cute junior – someone who’ll be around for another year.

DEAR ABBY: Graduation time is here. My senior is blissfully happy to be graduating from high school. She addressed her own announcements and sent them to family and friends of her choosing.

I would like to send a message to the recipients of the millions of announcements that will arrive during these next few weeks: Please take these announcements for what they are – they are NOT a request for gifts.

My daughter is thrilled to be going through this rite of passage. I remember how I felt a few years ago when I began receiving announcements from the children of friends, wondering if a present or monetary gift was expected. Well, THIS senior’s parent wants to say: Please just be happy for the graduating student. Thanks, Abby. – PROUD OF MY GRAD IN VIRGINIA

When someone receives a graduation announcement, one should do more than “be happy.” Good manners dictate that the announcement should not be ignored. At the least, a card or letter of congratulations is in order. (Gifts are optional.)

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

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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