Dear Amy:

I'd like to remind people of something I consider to be very rude.

My mother has a day-care business in her home, and this requires parents to pick up and drop off their kids throughout the day.

What bothers me the most about the pickup/drop-off thing is that the parents always park their cars in our driveway.

My family's cars are still in the driveway, so essentially we cannot go anywhere during this time because we are blocked in.

I could understand if they wanted to park there because of street traffic, but my street is on a cul-de-sac with hardly any traffic that could endanger the children.

It seems whenever I need to go somewhere I have to wait until they leave. Often they will stay and talk to my mom and get their children ready to go for 15 minutes or so. Please tell readers to park on the street when going to visit someone, especially when other cars are in the driveway that may need to get out. It is a huge inconvenience for my family. Thank you.

Can't Get Out

I wonder if your mother knows that you are so cantankerous over a matter that is closely linked to the smooth running of her home-based business. If she's not aware of how you feel, then you should tell her.

Dropping off a baby or young child for day care is no picnic. Parents have to carry diaper bags, backpacks and baby carriers, not to mention the children themselves. At the end of the day, parents often confer with their day-care provider to see how the day went and if there are any matters that they need to attend to. This handoff period is very important and shouldn't be rushed.

It is not rude to park in your driveway to conduct business with your mother. If your driveway is the closest place for her clients to pull in, that is the place they will use, unless your mother asks them specifically not to -- which might not be good for business.

Perhaps you should park on the street during those days that your mother has clients coming and going. That would solve everyone's problems.

Dear Amy:

Over the past five years, I have enjoyed a nice friendship with another stay-at-home mom. Our children have played together, we do the occasional girls night out, and we share personal aspects of our lives. Over the past 18 months, my busy schedule and disillusionment with this friend have meant that we spend a lot less time together.

My quandary is that my friend wishes to continue our relationship, while I have pretty much checked out of. My main reason for moving on has been the almost complete lack of appreciation for things that I have done in the interest of our friendship. There has been very little reciprocation. This imbalance has left me smarting and feeling unappreciated. My family has a history of being extraordinarily kind and compassionate, so I realize that being raised this way has affected my actions as an adult.

In a perfect world, this friendship would slowly ebb. I am, however, expecting some type of gentle confrontation with her over my increasing distance from her. I think she would want to know why I went from being like a sister to her to someone who wants to dodge her calls. I certainly don't want to hurt her feelings, and because we live in the same town, I want any interactions to be stress-free.

Is it ever a good idea to diplomatically spill the beans?


I vote for backing away slowly. If your friend forces "some kind of gentle confrontation," and asks you what is wrong, you can say that besides being very busy, etc., you feel that your friendship hasn't really grown along with your children but that you will always value the time you've spent together.

I'd leave out the part about your family history of being extraordinarily kind and compassionate, the lack of reciprocation, etc. You need to preserve a feeling of neighborliness, if only because you are likely to run into each other over the years. Sometimes it's okay to behave like a character in a John Cheever story. We don't always have to say every single thing that we're thinking.

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