Ask Amelia: Do Blondes Really Have More Fun?

We just moved and had a kid. Our apartment is understandably a mess (not dirty, but disorderly). Whenever my mother-in-law comes over, she looks around in disgust and makes comments about it (telling my husband to vacuum certain spots, telling us she'll pay for a cleaning lady). How do I nicely tell her to shove it? If she continues being this way, I don't want her coming over, which means she sees the baby a lot less.

 —Frustrated Mama

Dear Frustrated,

It is completely understandable that your house would be messy after either a move OR a new baby. Combine the two? Sheesh. Is she trying to do something nice by having your husband help with vacuuming or offering a cleaning lady, or is she being judgy towards you?

I assume you've tried "well, things are a little crazy around here with the move and the baby!" and she's just not taking a hint, right? I wouldn't say no to a free cleaning lady (saves YOU the trouble!) -- but, if it would come with strings attached, never mind.

Does your husband know it bothers you? I assume he does, so he might need to stand up for his woman and gently suggest to his mom that she cut you a break. I know that that's a lot easier said than done!

That last resort is that you shove stuff in the bedroom or in bins or something so it's more hidden when she comes over. You shouldn't have to do that, but it might be worth it to keep the peace a little and make sure baby and grandma don’t miss time with each other.

I want a new look for 2014.  Do blondes really have more fun? Or do brunettes? Or is 2014 the year of the redhead? Please help.

—Ready for Change

Dear Ready,

It sounds like you are ready to take 2014 and run with it! First, I think you need to decide what 2014 is going to mean for your life. Stick close to your natural color if you’re feeling like going back to your roots (no pun intended), but kick it up a notch. Your colorist can help you find just the right shade. Feeling spicy? Go red. A little mysterious? Go dark (but not black unless you’re feeling goth and have an incredible colorist who can keep it shiny). Feeling playful and flirty? Blonde! The world is your oyster -- and you can always change colors when you change your mind. Have fun!

My roommate is a slob.  She leaves dirty dishes (with food still on them!) out until the maid comes -- which is only once every two weeks.  Any advice for what to do in the meantime?

—At Wit’s End

Dear Wits,

Ah, roommate travails. These are always tricky. Do you ever get frustrated and do the dishes for her? I’d stop doing that. I assume you share the same dishes? If not, she will quickly run out of the dishes which are designated as “hers” and be forced to wash them.

Honesty is probably the only way forward here. She might not know that you’re seething underneath and this can be fixed by a quick conversation. Don’t be accusatory, just let her know that it makes the house look messy and drives you a little crazy (maybe even make a joke about what a neat-freak you are so it seems like you’re taking some of the responsibility). However, you also need to be prepared for the fact that she might not care. There’s a good chance that she’ll keep doing it, or mend her ways for a few weeks and fall back into the same old habits. At that point, you have to decide just how much it bothers you -- enough to find a new roommate?

If you have questions for Amelia, you can tweet using #AskAmHam or e-mail [email protected]