My husband gets so mad when I answer my son’s phone calls! How can I not answer? He needs me!

Dear Katie,
My husband and I were out to dinner last week, one of the rare nights that we have been able to do this over the past several months. We had just ordered our food, when I heard my cell phone ring. I looked down and saw it was my son. Immediately, my heart started to race, as it usually does, when I see his name come up, in fear that something is wrong. Without a second thought, I answered it on the first ring. As I was talking, I looked up and saw my husband rising from the table, rolling his eyes, and he proceeded to walk right out of the restaurant! When I hung up with my son, I went outside and saw him sitting in the car, furious, and he mouthed, “Lets go home.” I’m so angry, I feel like he ruined our nice night out and just doesn’t care. —Susan

Dear Susan,
It’s only natural that fear can take over when you hear your cell ring. It’s our instinct, especially for us moms, to answer when your child calls. Our greatest fear is that if we DON’T answer, something bad is going to happen. Based on your husband’s reaction, it sounds like your cell may be ringing or receiving texts multiple times a day and night from your son.

Lets try a shift in our thoughts. Your husband also wanted to spend a nice night out with you—time with JUST you, uninterrupted. A time where you can sit, eat, maybe listen to some live music. A time where you can talk everything else BUT addiction, as the topic may seem to surround your lives. You both need and deserve this special time. Treat it as a sacred and a healthy way to reconnect. A time when you can laugh and unite.

Next time, leave the phone in the car. If you feel you need to, tell your son that you’re going out to dinner and will not be available. It may feel awkward and uneasy for a bit, but KEEP DOING IT. In time, your uneasiness will subside, your relationship with your husband will strengthen, and your son will understand that this is an important and healthy boundary for you.

Warm wishes,

Disclaimer: The above advice is not meant to be construed as medical or legal advice. If you need professional medical, psychological, or legal advice, please contact a doctor, lawyer, or medical center.

Katie Donovan is a family, life, and relationship coach; keynote speaker; and writer with a passion for empowering women. She has been interviewed on ABC, NBC, and Fox Sports and featured in cover stories in Time and Money magazines. Katie’s award-winning blog,, reached over a million views and was seen in 146 countries within thirty days of its inception and has been syndicated in over thirty publications, including USA Today and Disney’s blog Babble.

Are you struggling to get your inner sparkle back? Have the relationships with your partner, family, or friends been affected? Ask me anything! You can send a confidential email to with Shift Happens in the subject line.

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