Agony Aunt Annie offers advice to a reader who is being taken for granted by her husband and three sons.

Dear Annie

I have the same battle that I’m so tired of. It is a problem that seems to get worse with time and to be honest, I’m ready to throw in the towel.

I’ve been married for 22 years. We have three boys. The oldest two are twins, aged 17. The younger one is 15 years old.

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My husband and I are constantly arguing about some or other issue about the boys

He is so impatient with them, and he seems to begrudge them everything that they get. I don’t understand how a man can be like that with his own kids.

As they grow up it has got worse. When they were younger it was easier for him to control them and dictate to them. The twins are big, tall boys and don’t back down anymore for their father. On a few occasions, things have come to blows and they have physically fought.

When I try to intervene my husband says that I’m not supporting him and the boys get angry with me for not standing up for them. I’m really caught in the middle and I’m so tired of the shouting and macho testosterone tantrums.

The boys don’t do anything around the house that I ask, so I have given up even asking them. I’d rather do it myself then have the arguing that will happen.

I don’t want to be around my husband, or with the disrespectful angry boys

I’m invisible to all of them. I feel like the only time anyone listens is when I call them to supper or ask for their laundry. I am nothing more than a glorified slave

When is it going to be my turn to have a life of my own or is it all about pouring myself out for these boys? I hate this life and I feel guilty about that because I know I should be grateful to have children and provision.

How do I change this mess?

Dear Amalinda

Thank you for your letter. I am wondering if you wrote it between folding laundry and doing the dishes?

It seems that it is wonderful to be living in your house… if you’re male

Meals get made, washing gets done, everything is taken care of. Seems you drew the shortest straw though. Sucks to be you! Why don’t you swap and rather be one of them?

‘Who will do all the work?’ you ask. Well, that’s a good question. If you don’t do laundry, they can: a) Google how to use the washing machine, b) Wear dirty clothes. It seems there are alternatives available to them.

Your boys are going to grow up and move out

Okay, they have it pretty good at home – I am not sure that they will ever move out, but if they do, they may eventually marry, (though definitely not one of my daughters). You are raising more slave masters! You need to put your foot down… hard, and hopefully connecting with one of their lazy butts!

The situation is going to continue exactly as it is, as long as it continues to work for them

It is going to be your turn to have a life as soon as you encourage them to take responsibility for themselves. Gentle nudges, like hunger pangs, are a good start.

Perhaps it is time that you went on holiday by yourself. Demand your three weeks annual leave and if they don’t like it, they can fire you

Create the opportunity for them to appreciate all that you do for them by giving them some perspective of what life is like when mamma-slave has left the building.

You are beautiful
Love and blessings

PS. Please send me a postcard from the spa