Friday, August 17, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Grandma's help could make family closer

Q: I am retired and live alone. Although my daughter lives nearby, I rarely see or hear from her. If I text her a question, she will usually answer in as few words as possible. A phone call is very rare.

She works full time and is very busy with a husband and four kids. I realize she has a lot on her plate and is probably doing the best she can. Should I just give up on ever having a closer relationship with my only daughter?

Close but Far Away!

A: Disclaimer first. This answer isn't for purists or believers in the doctrine of "should": A daughter should make time for Mom. Loved ones shouldn't have to be useful to be included. Etc.

Why? Because if my two choices are to be included or to be right, I'll take included, thanks.

So in your place, whether my daughter was too busy for me or too fed up with me for past mistakes, I'd offer myself up as a way to make her life easier. Who can I pick up from day care or soccer?

Or, date night — I'll come baby-sit every Friday. If you think I lack the patience or mobility to wrangle all four (it's okay to say that to my face!), then I'll recruit a fellow-grandma friend and we'll team-baby-sit our grandkids on alternate weeks.

Is there something useful, my beloved busy daughter, that I overlooked? Suggest away.

And while in your home, I will not give you unsolicited advice. I will not look at you funny when you do things differently from the way I used to.

I will not ask you so many questions on what to do next that I just become one more thing for you to manage. I'll either be helpful by your standards or get out of the way.

I will not complain once, not even in pointed-sigh form, that you don't call enough.

If it's too late and I've squandered your trust: I'll admit my errors — citing specifics; then back off to prove I'm sincere.

Good luck, and good Grandma.


Tell Me About It: Boyfriend dropped the ball on their party

Q: My boyfriend and I hosted a party, our first joint hosting stint since moving in together a few months ago. The party was his idea, and most of our guests were his close friends.Yet he did almost nothing to help me get ready for the party. We spli...
Published: 08/17/18

Tell Me About It: Mom waffles on adding to the family

Q: My husband and I have a 5-year-old girl, and are not planning more children ó primarily because we are easily stressed, donít do well when sleep-deprived, and arenít really baby/toddler people. Our daughter was not an easy baby.Yet, I always feel ...
Published: 08/15/18

Tell Me About It: Compromise and submission: a fine line

Q: As a woman (of any age) in this postmodern, "woke" era: How does one distinguish the fine line between "compromising with" versus "submitting to" a man within a relationship?M.A: Compromise is when both people give a little to their mutual benefit...
Published: 08/14/18

Tell Me About It: Instead of monster or martyr, try ĎMomí

Q: My sister-in-law, "Mary," has always been a mess. She has two kids with two different men who never see them, donít pay child support, and she doesnít work. Mary and her children lived with my mother-in-law, "Kate," until Kate moved into a 55-plus...
Published: 08/12/18

Tell Me About It: Introverted fiancee feels trapped by family

Q: My son and his fiancee bought a condo close to us, which then flooded. They moved in with us and repairs have taken longer than anticipated.His fiancee, "Laura," is an intense introvert. For that reason, I gave up my exercise, TV and craft room fo...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: Check in constantly with depressed friend

Q: I have this friend who lives close but I havenít seen in months. No one in our group of friends has seen her recently. Every time we make plans, she cancels, saying she is too sad or has been crying all day.Iím really worried. She moved here more ...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: An occasional push helps to stay on track

Q: What responsibility does a wife have to push her husband to be a decent friend? For years, my husband was close with a few guys from grad school. As they got married and started families, the frequency of their get-togethers died down and the frie...
Published: 08/07/18

Tell Me About It: Grandma finds no one wants her heirlooms

Q: My mother-in-law has spent much of her life accumulating collectibles, heirlooms and furniture with the rationale that she will give them to her children and grandchildren someday. Her four grandchildren are still in high school. Sheís decided tha...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: Couple ponders rolling the dice on a baby

Q: I mostly want to have a baby; my fiance mostly does not. Iím in my late 30s and have school-age kids; he doesnít have and never planned to have kids. Deciding to have or not to have a baby seems like too enormous a decision for mere mortals. Itís ...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: Boyfriend takes affection to the next level

Q: My boyfriend is responsible, thoughtful, and very very affectionate ó which is great for the first four hours of hand-holding, but which makes me want to shove him away and shout, "Just leave me alone!" by hour six. Before this, I thought I was a ...
Updated one month ago