Bianca Knows Best 

Dear Bianca,

I am an only child, and my parents have always doted on me -- too much. I feel smothered. I am almost 28, and my mother still calls me all the time to say that she misses me. I feel like this is unhealthy for both of us, but I also feel like she needs me as a friend.

With my encouragement, she has become increasingly active with church activities. But I still occupy the majority of her psychological space.

It's been quite a while since I moved out, so it makes me feel really uncomfortable sometimes to hear how much she misses me, even now. I want to help her to let go of me psychologically, because I feel like it will help us to develop a healthier friendship. How do I start?

-- More Than My Mother's Daughter

Dear Mama's Girl,

I'm an only child too, so I can relate. Sort of. My parents only live an hour away, but I’m assuming yours live far away. Otherwise, I doubt your mother would miss you all that much.

I've found that my relationship with my mom has grown stronger since moving away. Since we don't see each other everyday, we value our time together more.

If your mom doesn't have a chance to visit you very often, of course she's going to miss you! You may be almost 28, but you’re still her baby. I'd say suck it up and let her dote on you, otherwise you'll end up hurting her feelings. And though you may be uncomfortable now, you'd feel even worse if you knew you'd broken your mom's heart.

It sounds like she may have a case of empty-nest syndrome, so maybe she just needs someone to care for. Since you're nearly 30, I'm sure she's not going to be having any more babies. But perhaps that someone doesn't have to be human.

You should consult with her before bringing a new puppy into her life, but the next time you're visiting your parents, head to the local animal shelter in your hometown and ask about adopting a puppy. If Mom has any room in her heart for cute, fuzzy critters, this could work like a charm. Puppies require lots of love, time, and energy, so Fido may be enough to keep her mind off of you.

She'll still miss you, but having a new four-legged baby in the house will make her feel like a new mom and it will provide a shelter doggie a much-needed home. In the end, you may even find yourself becoming a little jealous of the pooch.

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