Dear Abby: I’m a 60-year-old grandmother of eight wonderful grandchildren, ranging in age from 2 to 24.
I believe my children think we OWE them baby-sitting duties. I don’t mind baby-sitting once in a while, when I feel like it. But I don’t feel like it when the parents want to go out and party, or they tell me at the last minute, “little Susie needs some Grandma time,” or they want to go to the gym because they don’t want to give up the freedom they had before their children came along.
What are your thoughts on boundaries for this generation of parents-who-want-it-all at the expense of my generation who, back in the day, if a neighbor kid couldn’t baby-sit, we just stayed home? I know I should have set some rules at the beginning, but I’m starting to feel resentful of their expectations.
– Wants Some Freedom, Too, in Minnesota
Dear Wants Some Freedom, Too: Setting clear boundaries makes for healthier relationships. Keep in mind that many grandparents would love to have your “problem.” But as you stated, your problem was in not setting ground rules from the beginning. Because you feel resentful, it’s time to have a frank talk with your children and say that as much as the grandkids may “need” Grandma time, Grandma also needs Grandma time. And when you do, be firm – because unless you stand your ground, nothing will change.
Seek help for depressions
Dear Abby: I am not happy. No matter what I do, I am filled with emptiness and loneliness every minute of every single day. Being near friends and family lifts my spirits, but only for a little while. I feel like I am being consumed by misery. Please tell me what to do.
– Searching For Happiness
Dear Searching For Happiness: The feelings you describe can be symptoms of chronic depression, which is a treatable illness. That’s why I’m urging you to discuss them with a physician. A combination of medication and talk therapy can help you feel better again.