Manners Matter: Comparisons

Dear Mary Pat,

My children are going to be with my ex-wife and her husband over spring break and I’m having a hard time with it. They are going to an expensive resort and the girls are going to be living like little princesses for eight days. When I have the girls, our vacations consist of going to a state park to camp for two nights or renting an inexpensive hotel with a pool for a night or two. I don’t have the same budget as my ex-wife and I feel like no matter what I do, it can never compare. My girls have to notice the big difference in our lifestyles as far as spending, clothes, etc. I don’t want to feel resentful or jealous, but sometimes I admit that I do.


Daddy Nobucks

Algoma, Wis.


Dear Daddy Nobucks,

You’ve heard the old adage that if you compare yourself to someone else, you’ll always come up short? When you spend time with your daughters, focus on them and not what your ex-wife is doing. The most important things you can give your girls is unconditional love, your time and your attention. There is absolutely no value in material things.

I know this will be much easier said than done, but try to simply be happy for your girls. Happy that they get to have a fun spring break and happy that they get to experience a really nice resort. Vacations are vacations for a reason – they are a break from our everyday lives of school, work, chores, etc.

If you look back to your own parents (whether they stayed married or were apart) I would guess that most of what they gave you didn’t come with a price tag. It will be the same for you and your girls. They won’t remember how much a resort cost, how much a dinner cost, or how much a plane ticket cost. They will remember that they got to spend time with their dad.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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