DEAR ABBY: I need your help with something. My 16- year-old grandson seems to think that all his mother does is stay at home. He conveniently “forgets” that she is a housekeeper, gardener, cook, teacher, nurse, driver and mediator. Could you please print a breakdown of what a stay-at-home wife should be paid? I would love to have a list so I can pass the “bill” on to him. – VIVIAN IN COLONIAL BEACH, VA.

DEAR VIVIAN: According to the Census Bureau figures for 2004 – which are the most recent – there are 36.7 million mothers of minor children in the United States. About one-third of them, 10.8 million, are stay-at-home moms.

According to an article penned by Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, in its May 11, 2006, edition, “ compensation experts estimate that stay-at-home moms work an average of 91.6 hours a week.” That’s more than double the number of hours the average office worker puts in. He went on to say, “That should be worth $134,121 annually.”

He quoted the compensation analysts as figuring the lowest-paying parts of a mother’s job are “housekeeper, laundry machine operator and janitor. Higher-paying categories include computer operator, facilities manager, psychologist and CEO.” With a 91.6-hour work week, 52 weeks a year, it works out to be $28.16 an hour.

It should go without saying that a mother’s love is priceless, so tell that grandson of yours that $28.16 an hour is a real bargain.

DEAR ABBY: I am going through a divorce. It’s not that I did not love my almost-ex, but that he was never someone I could depend on emotionally or financially. I’m writing to you because I have become very interested in someone who is dependable and caring, and over the past year I have found we have a lot in common. He is my kids’ doctor.

I haven’t dated anyone except my husband since I was 18, let alone talked to a guy. So I sent him a letter at his office, and am now having regrets that I did because of the fear of rejection. I must face him again in three weeks. The letter was written with only my e-mail address. I just don’t know what to do! I really like this man, and I’m scared to death he’ll be upset that I sent the letter. Please help. – MOMMY IN INDIANA

DEAR MOMMY: The doctor won’t be “upset.” He will probably be complimented. He may, however, already be married, involved with someone, or gay – so if your ardor isn’t reciprocated, please do not feel personally rejected.

DEAR ABBY: Yesterday, a friend stayed over at my house. When it was time for her to leave, I went to put something in her bag and found a ton of MY stuff in there!

She made up a lame excuse that “someone else” must have put it in her bag. I knew she was lying, and I told her whoever put it there had better speak up and I wouldn’t be mad if they confessed – but she still denied it.

How do I confront her and still keep our friendship? – CONFUSED IN GREAT FALLS, MONT.

DEAR CONFUSED: You have already “confronted” her, and it only led to more lies. Now it’s time to recognize that the girl you thought was your friend is a person who may have some severe emotional problems. Under the circumstances, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship, because I’m not sure you should consider her a friend any longer.

P.S. And always keep a watchful eye on your “stuff” when she’s in the vicinity!

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.

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