Dear Abby: Wife can’t muster sympathy when husband gets a cold

Dear Abby: I feel like a terrible wife when my husband gets sick – not majorly sick, but with a run-of-the-mill cold. Men can be terrible babies when they are sick. It is a COLD! He’s not dying. I happen to have a cold right now, and I am functioning just fine and not moaning and groaning about it.

Also, I am not his mother! When he whines, I shut down or become touchy and crabby. If he doesn’t whine, I’m happy to take care of him, but I can’t take the time during the day to lie in bed with him (I work from home, so I am accessible to him) to keep him warm. I can’t stay up until midnight rubbing his back, and I cannot tolerate the sappy whining.

I made him aware of my disdain for the way sick men behave a number of years ago, but he still acts like the world is ending when he has a cold. How do I tend to him without feeling resentful? – Not His Mother

Dear Not His Mother: Cold season is in full swing now. Your husband didn’t catch one on purpose. When people feel fragile they need TLC, and he is no exception.

Here’s how to “tend” to him: Keep a supply of chicken soup on hand, and insist he keep drinking it to stay hydrated. (Chicken soup has magical curative powers.) If he has a headache, there are over-the-counter meds he can take, so suggest it when he complains. While you’re at the pharmacy, buy a heating pad and an extension cord for him so you can keep working if he has the chills. (You probably caught his cold while you were cuddling.) Sanitize any surface he may have touched.

Even if you aren’t feeling sympathetic, try to appear as if you are – and keep your sense of humor. A final suggestion: Sleep apart until he’s no longer contagious, which may give him an incentive to recover faster.

Dear Abby: My mother was a stickler when it came to table manners. She had a little 1-inch-long ceramic pink pig that she placed in front of me every time I did something Emily Post would frown on. I HATED that little pig. – Ralph in Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Dear Ralph: Now, now. You should have been grateful to that little pig, because it kept you from becoming a BIG one.