Question: My wife insists on working in a meaningless, non-rewarding job for peanuts (in my opinion). She absolutely refuses to entertain discussions of quitting in order to raise our two daughters, ages 20 months and 6 months. We have been together for three years, and she is the residential manager of our apartment community. She took the job purely as a means to have something "outside" of our home to distract her . . . yeah, I said distract. I make $77,500 per year, and we certainly would not even begin to miss her $17,000.

Because she is the community manager, her time belongs to the company, so she spends, maybe, three total hours per day with her family. I am seriously considering ending our relationship and filing for custody of our children and moving my mother in with us. I simply don't want my children to go from baby sitter to schoolteacher without the benefit of mom - even if I have to substitute mom with grandma.- Denver, Colo.

Dr. Laura: Not every woman who can give birth is willing or able to be a real mother. It is frightening to me how many human females don't have 10 percent of the maternal instinct of a penguin. I suggest you immediately stay home with them and give them the consistent bonding, loving and nurturing that they need at this extremely important time.

If that means you both have to move in with your mother, so be it; but if you're going to even consider custody, you're going to have to put your time where your heart is. You might have to get a nighttime job to make ends meet. Whatever it takes to give your babies what they need is what you must do.

Question: We received the attached "Christmas Newsletter" (sorry I'm sending it to you in April - it took me time to decide what to do) from my husband's long-time friend who remarried two years ago. Evidently, his new wife enclosed it with their Christmas card. We think it's pretty sick and truly violates the children's privacy as she discusses who "believes" in church and who doesn't, who is in an alternative high school, who whines, who was caught smoking and drinking, who was arrested this last year and who hates her (the new wife).

While we don't care what these parents wrote about themselves, we are close to the husband's children and feel we need to make a stand on how wrong we felt this letter was. Should we call the husband, or write a letter or do nothing at all?

- Biloxi, Miss.

Dr. Laura: The attached letter is exactly as you described: bitter, ugly and humiliating for those mentioned. Since your husband and his friend have been close for a long time, perhaps it would be better if your husband contacted him and suggested how uncomfortable it was for you to receive a photocopied letter condemning and embarrassing the children. Add that although you consider yourself friends and would be there at a moment's notice to help with any of those problems, you don't wish to be involved in such an impersonal and inappropriate manner.

It is terribly sad when people, especially family members (even if by marriage), air problems which should be handled as a family, with compassion and dignity.

Question: Is it morally justified to date and have sex while a person is separated but still legally marred? Some friends of ours are separated and in the process of getting divorced. The husband had an affair. The affair is over, he has admitted that it was horribly wrong, takes responsibility for his action and wants to put his family back together (they have a 3-year-old girl).

The wife kicked him out of the house, then three weeks later started dating and slept with another man. The husband is willing to do whatever it takes to repair the damage. She says it is too late.

They both recently met with the pastor of their church, and he advised the wife not to reconcile. He went so far as to say that even though she slept with another man while they were separated, it was not morally wrong because they were not married anymore in her eyes and in the eyes of the church. He says what she had was premarital, not extramarital, sex and therefore she is the one who is right in divorcing him. He said she shouldn't take a man who had an affair back into their marriage. Is the pastor right to counsel her this way?

- Ottawa, Ontario

Dr. Laura: I don't believe for a moment that the story about the pastor is true - unless he's the guy she had the affair with. True religious clergy are motivated toward repentance and reconciliation. If this husband is truly remorseful and repentant (especially with children involved) a responsible clergyman would try to work with them and tell them at least to take some time before dismantling their family. She and he took vows in front of each other, the clergy, their families, community and God. One doesn't decide out of anger or hurt that the vows are dissolved; and according to the Bible, when a married woman has sex with other than her husband she is an adulteress.