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On this page you will find some articles that have been published in The Cheers, an online publication.

Whose Responsbility Is it Anyway?

Sharing responsibilities in a two-income family  (Send to friend)
Brenda Coxe

You’re both working but you wonder how to divide the household chores.  On the other hand, he feels there is no need because it isn’t “his responsibility” to take care of the house or the children.  What do you do?  How do you make him understand that not only is it his responsibility, it’s his obligation to you because you are also helping bring in a paycheck.  What do you do first, you ask, besides throwing a temper tantrum and locking him out of the bedroom?

First, don’t do anything drastic.  You have to know the type of person you are dealing with.  In my case, the only way to get anything done was to tell my husband exactly what he was going to do, literally.  Of course, this method grows old, and you will become tired of always having to hand him the vacuum cleaner, broom, mop, Johnny mop, or whatever else you have in mind. 


Is there an easier way?  Perhaps, for some men, it may be as simple as making him understand you really do need his help.  Those are the ones I am going to address because they are the ones we can reach.  The easiest way to deal with your boyfriend or husband is to sit him down and explain there are only so many hours in the day, and since you are both working at least eight of those hours each and sleeping another eight each, it only leaves another eight in which to clean the house and take care of the children.  Of course, don’t forget on top of that you must set aside some time for lovemaking so the two of you won’t get too grumpy!  How do you do all of that in just eight hours a day each?  Let’s think about it.


As women we are expected to be the cook, cleaning lady, laundress, lover, babysitter, seamstress, teacher, and many more titles as well.  The problem is we don’t have time for all of this work and have time for ourselves as well, something we need in order to be a fun person to live with.  Solving this problem with time requires the help of everyone in the house including children if they are old enough.  Aside from children, let us start with the husband or boyfriend.  In most cases a simple request will do the trick.  Maybe it isn’t quite that simple because you do need to point out how much is required.  Of course you are liable to get that “but I work harder than you do” scenario because maybe he has to do manual labor and you have an office job.  Don’t let it fly because we know it is just as tiring to challenge the brain as to do manual labor; the only difference is that being tired from manual labor requires a short rest in the easy chair and perhaps a nice back rub, but challenging your brain doesn’t have that advantage.  He needs to understand you are both tired in different ways after a long day of working.  Okay, cut him some slack if he works overtime, but he still needs to pull his weight.


The easiest way would be to give him his choice: would he like to make dinner or vacuum the living room?  Would you prefer to do the laundry or clean the bathroom?  If you give him a choice, he still feels he is in control of the situation and will more likely respond positively to your request.  Most men are macho when it comes to doing housework and like to think it’s someone else’s responsibility – we have to take the upper hand and undo that obsolete way of thinking.  At the same time we have to do it in a positive and loving way so he knows we are not just nagging, we really truly need the help.  Sometimes you may even throw in a little positive reinforcement:  “If you help me get this done, we can go to bed early and have some private time.”  That will usually work because he knows if he helps you do the chores, you won’t be too tired to spend some time with him.[302.2]


Yours isn’t that easy to convince, you say?  You’ve tried every trick in the book and it doesn’t work, now what?  First, I found out the hard way you don’t start out by letting them make you do it all because once you do that it will be next to impossible to change.  If you want to be sure you both share the chores, you have to get in the habit of asking for the help from the day he moves in, not two or three months or years later after you have gotten him used to having you wait on him hand and foot.  If you’ve done everything right, and you still have problems getting him to help, you may just have to hand him the broom, mop, dust cloth, or whatever it is and tell him point blank what to do.  It may not be the best way to handle things, but if it works, that’s all that matters.


What about the children?  He sees them as your responsibility totally as the mother, but did you conceive them alone?  No, of course not!  He is just as responsible for their well being as you are and should take an active role in their upbringing.  First, you should not have to take the children when you go shopping unless you are going for them.  Let him watch the children while you go to the store; you’ll finish quicker and spend much less money.  While you are cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, let him bathe the children or read them their bedtime story; they will get to bed much earlier giving both of you some quiet time before you go to bed.  I’m sure we’ve all heard the complaint that after children come, the sex deteriorates, but it doesn’t have be that way.  Help him understand that after working all day, cleaning house all night, and chasing after the children, you just don’t feel very romantic.  If that doesn’t give him the message you want him to hear, then nothing will.


In conclusion, what we need our men to understand is raising a family and running a house is not just the responsibility of the woman, it is the responsibility of every single person who lives in that house.  By working together in harmony there becomes more time for everyone to enjoy some leisure time.  It will give you and your partner more time to enjoy being together because you won’t so exhausted by the time you go to bed that all you will want to do is sleep.  Men, get the message and help around the house and you will find your mates will be much happier and more interested in romance at the end of the day.


By Brenda Coxe 2003

Thoughts on Friendship

Aristotle called friendship a single soul inhabiting two bodies  (Send to friend)
Brenda Coxe

Main Entry:  1friend Pronunciation: 'frend Function: noun
1 one attached to another by affection or esteem
2 a favored companion


Have you ever thought about that? We go through life- day after day, month after month, year after year- and probably never give it a thought. We just take it for granted. I used to do that, until I learned the hard way. Friends are not always all we imagine them to be.

It is the nemesis to a contented life, that we don’t always think about consequences. We just proceed ahead as if situations and circumstances don't change. It’s very difficult for us to see beyond the rose-colored glasses, so we miss important clues that show where things really stand.

As a child of seven, growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, I had two friends I’ll call Mary and Denise. I had gone to the park with Mary, and when Denise arrived, I left with her. Mary became upset with me. It wasn’t just because I left with Denise, but because I had another friend. Eventually, Mary did learn that I was going to be friends with both of them. She had to accept this, in order to maintain our friendship. By the time I moved from there several years later, the three of us had actually begun to spend time together. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen either one of them in many years.

It just goes to show that as children, we meet many different kinds of people who become our friends during the period we are developing our personalities. And so, those we meet in our very early life may not be the same ones with whom we will share our lifetime memories. In fact, they may not even be the same ones with whom we will share our high-school and college memories. They become our pals, our buddies, our confidantes in our growing years, but they do not necessarily become our lifetime friends.         

If you are anything like I am, when you graduated- settling into a career and family- you lost track of many of your old friends. Perhaps, at times you find yourself thinking of those days and trying to recall the wonderful memories, but it isn’t the same. You know you have changed, you are certain that everyone else has as well, so you find new people who share your interests and are willing to hear your stories of days gone past. It isn’t hard for them to listen now, because they have the same wonderful stories.

Is that all there is to a friend? Listening to your stories of all the pranks you pulled in high school, how many times you got drunk in college, or how many times you snuck home in the wee hours of the morning without being caught? Of course not!

As I have matured over the years, I have found that one of the most important qualities in a friend is this: a friend must let you be yourself. A true friend doesn’t expect you to change into their image of who you should be, nor should you be expected to like and dislike the same things they do. You should feel comfortable doing the things you were doing before they came into your life. At the same time, you should be able to share exciting new experiences and confidences together.

The hardest thing I have found in friendship is dearly caring about someone, while sitting back and watching that very friend cause hurt to another friend. What do you do? The problem is that many times you are expected to choose. That can be the hardest thing in the world to do.

I wish I could say I never had to make that decision, but I would be lying. It hurt deeply at first, but I learned to live with it through the knowledge that a true friend would not expect me to dislike another person simply because things had been done to hurt them. As much as you would like to prevent your friends from being hurt, it just isn’t realistic. And it’s unrealistic of someone else to expect you to take sides.

Six years ago, when I first started accessing the Internet, I came across a message forum dedicated to my favorite group from the British Invasion. One of the people who posted, whom I later found out ran a fan club (now defunct) for the group, emailed me immediately, and we became fast friends. We shared many of our secrets, hopes, and dreams over the next few years, including the encouragement he gave me to think about publishing things I had written.

Sadly, something happened a couple of years ago involving himself, his wife, and one of the band members. Our friendship ended because I would not go against the band member. I did not have the full facts, and my friend stated he couldn’t give all the facts for legal reasons.

Though we want to take the side of our friends, there are times we may not be able to do that. A true friend will understand why you cannot turn against someone else just because they think you should. After all, remember this: your friend wants you to side with him, so he is only going to tell you enough information so you will take his side. You have to know when to follow your own instincts and do what you feel is right.

The most important lesson is this: never lose touch with your friends, or you may live to regret it.

My middle daughter faced this a number of years back. She had a very good friend, named "Erica," in middle-school. In 1995, my daughter lost track of Erica's phone number. A year or so passed. One day she was talking to her friend, "Bob." She told him she was going to call him the next day to get Erica’s phone number.

Unable to reach Bob, another day passed, and we saw in the newspaper that there was an accident. Erica had been killed. She was only 16, so my daughter never expected that to happen. Today, she still misses Erica, but she is much more careful to stay in touch with her friends, knowing life could take them away without warning at any time.

In essence, what you want to remember is this: you are going to meet many different types of people in your life, and your friends are not always going to like each other. Those who are your true friends are those who accept you for what you are, and expect you to do the same for them. They will stand beside you no matter what happens, without expecting anything in return.

True friends are those who will be your shelter when you are cold, a nursemaid when you are sick, a helping hand when you need it, and a shoulder for you to cry on.

They will love you as only a friend can, and will give up a truly special evening if they are needed. Remember, though, that you must be that same kind of friend because to FIND a true friend, you must BE a true friend. There are times when that may be something as extraordinary as finding a friend you haven’t seen since high-school, like I did. Or it may be as ordinary as meeting someone with whom you immediately bond.

Whatever your special circumstances, remember what they teach in Girl Scouts. (I'd like to attribute it to the proper author, but I don’t know who it is!)

"Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold." --a brilliant person, and a true friend to many, no doubt.

A Short Essay by

Brenda Coxe


A Parent's Worst Nightmare

Loss of your teenager in a crash  (Send to friend)

Brenda Coxe


No parent should have to endure the pain described in this article, but it really happened.  It makes me teary-eyed just to know what these parents must be going through, losing their oldest child in a tragic accident due to a momentary act of foolishness.


It’s very difficult and scary for a parent to think of the day their teenager turns 16 and ventures into the world behind of the power of that killing monster, the automobile.  It’s even scarier to think of everything that could go wrong behind that huge hunk of metal, and your loved one may not even be the one driving.  The most important thing we can do as parents is stress the importance of seat belts and how they can save a life.  Think it isn’t true?  Read the facts here as I relate to you the story of 16-year-old Mindy (not her real name) and what her negligence in buckling up has done to her family and others who loved her.


It was the day before Memorial Day, and Mindy went out with some friends, two males and an eighteen-year old female friend.  The driver of the SUV in which they were riding decided to make a stop and left the keys in the truck so Mindy and her friend could listen to the radio.  At some point during the evening the girls decided to jump in the front seat with Mindy at the wheel.  What happened after that became the worst nightmare a parent could ever want to hear.  Unlicensed and inexperienced, Mindy hit a curb causing the SUV to overturn.  Mindy was thrown from the vehicle, and rumor originally was that she had been tossed onto the roof of the house she hit, but later reports state she was thrown from the vehicle against the corner of a brick garage wall sustaining massive head injuries.


I work two days a week at a pharmacy where Mindy’s mother is one of the supervisors.  It was when I reported to work Wednesday evening after Memorial Day that I was informed of the accident.  The initial reports were that she had suffered massive head injuries and was in a medically induced coma in order to keep the pressure off her brain.  She was being monitored constantly and was hooked up to an EEG to monitor brain activity.  Though I am not a medical person and don’t understand the reality of it, severity of the injury is based on some number formula, and if that number exceeds 30, the patient doesn’t stand a chance of survival.  These numbers apparently determine the extent of damage that has been done and show doctors if the patient has any chance of survival.  For several days Mindy went as high as 27 and as low as 2, but by the end of the week surgery was performed to remove a portion of her brain that the surgeon told her parents she would probably never use.  Surgery was successful, they were told, and the prognosis was good though it would be several days before they would know if she would ever recover and be a productive member of society again.


By Monday of the following week she had developed pneumonia, and shortly thereafter the family was told to get everyone to the hospital, she had had hours to live!  Thus ended the life of Mindy with her anguished parents, grandparents, and brothers at her side as everyone else was asking “why Mindy?”


 One of the first questions all of us who knew and worked with her mother have asked is why the eighteen-year old friend – who, by the way, had her license – was not the one driving.  Let us assume that Mindy just wanted to be a big shot – why didn’t the friend, who had her seat belt on and was treated and released at the hospital, encourage Mindy to wear her seat belt?  Then again, we may be looking at a sixteen year old who thought she was invincible and believed nothing bad would happen to her.  This is a tragedy that should never have taken place, or at least should have had a much happier ending.  As you think of that, let me give you some insight into how this tragedy could have been different.


o       The male friends could have taken the keys with them when they got out of the car and removed all temptation for the female passengers to take the truck for a joyride.

o       The friend with the driver’s license could have insisted on being the one to drive.

o       The friend could have encouraged Mindy to use her seat belt, or even have reached over and forcibly buckled her up.


In spite of the outcome of this tragedy, and the thought process of an unlicensed sixteen year old, the outcome of this tragedy could have been less in severity if the use of seat belts had been implemented.  “Why is that?” some of you might ask.  “She had massive head injuries”, but that is the point here.  Had she been buckled up, she would NOT have been ejected from the vehicle to be slammed against the brick garage.  Certainly she would have suffered some injuries from the vehicle overturning, but remember, I told you the friend who was buckled up was treated and released at the hospital the same day. 


Parents, talk to your children and set an example.  Do not put that car or truck into park unless you and everyone with you are buckled up.  Don’t be a statistic, and don’t leave your loved ones to mourn your death as Mindy’s family and friends are doing.  In addition, Mindy’s father may have to quit his job to take care of her younger brothers as her mother makes more money.  Donations have been made and a memorial fund set up to help this family though some of the financial burden, but no amount of money is going to bring their daughter back to them.  Only time is going to heal this family, and my heart goes out to them in this sad time in their lives.  I beseech every single one of you reading these words to think of Mindy the next time you drive away without your seat belt on, or the next time you allow someone to ride in your car without being buckled up.  Remember, over 50% of accidents happen less than a mile from your home so don’t use the excuse that you’re only going to the corner store. 


DISCLAIMER:  The events in this article are real, only the names have been changed to protect their privacy.  This accident actually happened, and it happened just the way I have written it.  Please take heed and BUCKLE UP!