Adapted from online discussions.

Hi, Carolyn: I have a hobby I'm passionate about, and that with a LOT of luck and hard work could someday become a career, or a side career. I also have a full-time job, a side gig, a husband and a baby, so I'm not exactly swimming in extra time or energy or money to dedicate to this hobby.

That said, I just got the news that I've been accepted to a short-term program that MIGHT help things along with this hobby-passion.

If I didn't have the jobs and the husband and the baby, it would be a no-brainer; I'd spend the money and attend the program. But I am having a hard time feeling okay about doing that under my actual circumstances.

I'm the main breadwinner. Taking unpaid time off from work and spending money to travel and attend the program is an extravagance. I don't want to be away from the baby for that long. And it feels rather self-indulgent to put that kind of effort toward something that in the long run might never go anywhere.

I owe the program a decision within a couple of days, and right now I'm feeling scattered and stressed and frankly sort of sad about it — wishing I hadn't been accepted at all, that sort of thing. Do you have any thoughts that might help me get my mind moving in a productive direction?


(Nick Galifianakis/The Washington Post)

— Scattered and Stressed

Scattered and Stressed: Okay, you’ve given all the reasons not to go. Now say to yourself, “Dammit, I am going,” and figure it out. Like, this afternoon, on a yellow lined scribble pad, in to-do list form.

You owe yourself that.

You owe your family that, because feeling as if you can’t grab your big moment even just once is a soul-killer.

And you owe Life that, because it doesn’t throw us these opportunities every day, and it pouts when its efforts are ignored because we don’t want to pay the two dollars.

If you can’t, then you can’t. Oh, well. Sometimes the yellow scribble pad gives us bad news. And/or sometimes it shows us that we didn’t want to go as badly as we thought. But if all it will mean is for you and your husband to put up with some temporary discomforts, then, aren’t you going to regret not trying to make it work?

Hi, Carolyn: Any recommendation on how to approach Mommy going on a one-nighter with her best friends to Palm Springs? My son is 8 and he loves weekend family time and I don't want to hurt his feelings.

Mommy: OMG. You say, “I’m going on an overnight with my best friends, and I can’t wait!”

That’s it. You do not have to explain that you are human and have friends. You certainly don’t have to — and shouldn’t, please! — encourage the idea that your spending time with friends involves taking something away from him emotionally.

You will take a lot of the edge off without saying anything if you make it normal that you spend solo time with your friends occasionally, just as he does with his (presumably you don’t hop on the PS4 with him and his pals?).

And if he does say something? “I’ll miss you! [hug] And I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Write to Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at wapo.st/haxpost.

Carolyn Hax