Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: A few years ago, my daughter was newly married and pregnant. Neither she nor her husband had a job, so both sets of parents took them in at various times and helped when the baby was born.
My son-in-law went back to school and got a job, and they finally moved into a small house of their own. When my daughter decided to go to nursing school, we were delighted. Again, both sets of parents pitched in and took care of the baby. I also fed her family every day so they wouldn’t have to spend money they didn’t have. When she became pregnant again, we stepped back up to the plate and took care of their little newborn girl.
My daughter now is an RN and makes great money. Her husband does decently, and they have a lot to be thankful for. When my daughter asked me to continue babysitting, I agreed, but only if I was paid.
This really upset her, and she now won’t let me see the kids. Her sister-in-law looks after them for free, but only for a few hours a day. My daughter works nights and doesn’t get enough sleep in the daytime because she must attend to her children.
Am I being selfish for wanting to be paid $400 a month for child care along with breakfast, lunch and dinner? — Sad Grandma in Missouri
Dear Grandma: This isn’t about fairness, because you are certainly entitled to be paid for your services. But you have changed the dynamic between you and your daughter. You’ve turned babysitting the grandchildren into a business transaction. Not only was your daughter caught off-guard, but she obviously resents it. If you need the money, talk to your daughter about what she thinks would be appropriate, and see if you can work this out. If you don’t need the money, we suggest you babysit when you are willing, without charge.
Dear Annie: What can you do when your husband’s driving is driving you nuts? Most of the time, he is OK, but the tailgating, speeding and unsafe lane changes make me nauseated, and the kids have thrown up more times than I can count. — Not a NASCAR Fan
Dear Not a Fan: We assume you have told your husband how frightened you are by his driving. Many men equate reckless driving with manliness, as if they have to prove something. Tell him it’s fine when he is in the car alone, but you would appreciate it if he would drive more conservatively when you and the children are with him. If he refuses, we recommend you drive yourself, get a ride from someone else, or take a bus, train or cab to your destination. He is placing his family at risk, and you do not need to indulge him.
Dear Annie: “Wish There Was a Time Machine” said she missed her college days. Parents and students should not think of college as a four-year vacation from reality. The choice of school and major far outweigh the social advantages offered by college campuses. A college education is an investment in the student’s future that, like any investment, could result in a financial and career disaster if not evaluated objectively. If there is any doubt about the student’s readiness, it would be wise to enroll in a local junior college or regional state college campus.
I suggest “Wish” re-enroll in a credible night school program and select a marketable major based on her likes, employability and chances of career success. The next time she starts feeling depressed and sorry for herself, she should go visit the children’s ICU ward at her local hospital. Volunteering there would give her a dramatic shift in attitude with a complete loss of depression. — Crown Point, Ind.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 11.17.11