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DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have been married for 19 years. He has two daughters from a previous marriage. They have actively hated me since the very beginning.

They are now grown women, 41 and 37 years old. After our last visit, I have decided to quietly bow out — it is long past time, and my husband agrees.

I will still make sure birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions are observed by their father. He can visit them and they can visit him as they all wish.

I obviously won’t be there the next time they’re all together. What should my husband say? Neither of us is looking for a huge blowup among them.

GENTLE READER: “She couldn’t make it this time” — repeated each time as if it were the first.

Miss Manners offers this as the surest path to the quiet you understandably desire. She does not pretend that it will reform bad behavior, mend relationships, or satisfy those who feel that brutal honesty is better for family health than avoiding angry blowups.

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: How in the world did the current conversational “filler word” become “perfect!”? And how do we discourage this annoying “grading” of everything?

Nowadays, it seems, one cannot have any conversation regarding a transaction without one’s response being graded as “perfect!” by the questioner. It often even becomes catlike with a “purrrfect” judgment of me or my response to their question.

GENTLE READER: The wording of conventional responses seldom bears up under close scrutiny, as Miss Manners would have told a hypothetical gentleman of a past generation who objected that the clerk was wrong to call his purchase “very good, sir.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My physician is also a family friend of over 40 years. He is now in his eighth decade, and has been quite remarkable in his health and abilities. But after these many years of excellent care, I have noticed in the past year that his skills and mental acuity are failing.

He insists that he will not retire until next year. However, I am concerned that he will make a mistake — if not with my care, then with another patient’s. I should like to switch to another physician.

This is a delicate matter because of the long friendship with both our families. Would you be able to guide me in a conversation that will end the professional care, but not damage the friendship?

GENTLE READER: This is not an easy conversation to have with a very dear friend.

The solution is to seek out an intermediary with whom you are close and who is closer to your physician friend than you. This may be a spouse, another patient who might evaluate your observation, or another member of the practice group who is qualified to judge.

Expressing your concern to that person will be easier for you to do, although Miss Manners recognizes the problem she is thereby creating for the family member or colleague.

And she reminds you that speaking to one of the doctor’s colleagues, who can do a professional evaluation, may result in his being retired against his will — an action that may or may not be necessary, depending on his level of professional deterioration.

Meanwhile, you can say that you want to begin transitioning to another doctor in anticipation of his retirement next year.

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Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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Mum claims she effectively willed herself to have a ‘100 percent pain free birth’ – and other women strongly disagree

A MUM has claimed that her labour was ‘100 per cent pain-free’ and hit back at mums who said it is excruciating.

TikTok user Meg, who posts under @flourishingmother, uploaded a video providing reasons why it doesn’t have to hurt.

4TikTok user Meg claims you can have a pain-free labourCredit: TIKTOK 4TikTok user Meg, who posts under @flourishingmother, uploaded a video providing reasons why it doesn’t have to hurtCredit: TIKTOK

She wrote: “‘There’s no such thing as a painless childbirth.’ Yes there is.

“Modern medicine/Hollywood has made ppl believe birth is scary.

“Millions of women have had pain free childbirths.

“In how to avoid pain, you need to release fear.”

Meg recommended doing “daily affirmations to break fear of contractions.”

She also advised that you practise “visualisation” explaining you should “visualise the baby dropping into your birth canal”.

Meg also said you should visualise your body “opening up slowly, like a blooming flower.”

She said: “Keep your jaw muscles loose by breathing deep and exhaling through ‘horse lips’.

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“Fully relax into each contraction.

“Hire a good doula who can support you through your pain free childhood plan.”

She added that her last birth was “almost 100 per cent pain free.”

Many disagreed with her approach, with one saying: “It’s not painless even with epidural.”

Another said: “Telling people essentially they are birthing wrong if it’s painful is beyond ridiculous.”

However, some agreed with her: “My grandma always said it is a mindset thing.”

4Meg also said you should visualise your body 'opening up slowly, like a blooming flower'Credit: TIKTOK 4She said a good doula can help with the painCredit: TIKTOK

Previously, a teen mum got pregnant on the pill with a lad from a night out.

And a fertility doctor shared their top tips for helping you conceive.

I livestreamed my wait for labour to start after sixth miscarriage so I wasn't alone - but it's absolutely breaking me

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