Dear Emuna,

Thank God, I have an amazing marriage. My husband is devoted, caring and thoughtful. He will do anything to make me happy. He is truly amazing. But there is one little thing that bothers me. He struggles with waking up on time for work. I sometimes find myself getting frustrated, especially after trying to wake him up for a while. I feel like I shouldn't be complaining because he's so good to me but it really does bother me. And it bothers him too. I have tried so many things and none have worked. I am at my wit's end. Please share some advice with me. Thanks.


Dear Frustrated,

Let me begin my saying that it is such a pleasure to receive a letter that is so positive and upbeat and filled with praise for your husband. Those letters are few and far between – and those marriages aren't so common either! So when you say you "I shouldn't really be complaining" – I have to agree. It sounds like you have it pretty good – with one small pesky fly in the ointment.

I would like to say that you just need to put it in perspective and move past it but since it bothers your husband as well, I suspect that's not possible.

You mention that you "have tried so many things and none have worked". Unfortunately you don't share what those strategies were but the adage that "you catch more flies with honey" applies at any age and in almost any situation. Your husband desperately desires your respect and admiration (all husbands want this) so on those mornings when he gets up on time, shower him with praise. Conversely, try to avoid criticizing and attacking him on those all-too-frequent mornings when he doesn't. Make getting up seem the more appealing alternative by perhaps waking ahead of him and putting on the coffee, being available to sit with him before your busy day begins and/or even filling the home with enticing aromas of home baking.

If the positive approach doesn't work, then I suspect it doesn't bother him as much as he claims. And you may have to return to option 1: Just thanking the Almighty for the gift of such an "amazing" husband and recognizing that difficulty waking for work is a small price to pay.

Unfulfilled Mother

Dear Emuna,

I am a grateful mother of two with a wonderful husband. That said, many times I find myself unhappy or unfulfilled. I find myself so bogged down and bound by my many responsibilities that I feel as if I am going crazy. I find it hard to recognize and feel satisfied by what I do accomplish because of what I didn't do correctly or how much there is left to do. Perhaps I never learned healthy ways to cope with stress? Perhaps all young mothers go through this? Please help.

Anxiously feeling lack of self-worth and spiritual motivation

Dear Anxious,

Let's take a step back and not put everything in such dire terms. And let me say, welcome to motherhood! (And like I said to my previous writer, you have a lot to be grateful for as you acknowledge yourself; let's not lose sight of that!) Although you didn't mention it, my guess is that you are a stay-at-home mom. And your feelings have nothing to do with how wonderful your husband is and how appreciative you are of your two children – just make sure that he, and they, know that.

Not only can being a stay-at-home mother be lonely but it can definitely feel unfulfilling. Because parenting is a long-term project. You don't see the results immediately. It may take many years, if at all!

There is no fixed end to this endeavor. Whatever age, whatever phase, our children constantly need us. The nature of their needs may vary; their existence does not.

Part of the key to enjoying parenting is this recognition – and then giving yourself over to the process. If you can focus on the journey, not some particular end goal, it will allow you to feel more fulfilled in the moment.

It is not the same sense of accomplishment as a job finished at work but the ultimate rewards are so much greater.

It is true also that our work is never done but it is helpful to prioritize. What are important tasks to take care of and which ones are trivial? If you don't get your garage cleaned or your pictures organized, it will be okay. The to-do lists can become tyrants that we create and then give power to.

Our children's young years go by quickly – even though it sure doesn't seem like it at the time. Try not to waste them in anxiety and the search for that elusive "fulfillment", and focus instead on the gifts of the moment – your husband, your children – and the opportunity to participate in their growth and development and to build a loving family. You have truly nothing to be anxious about and everything to enjoy. Ask the Almighty to help you refocus.