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Grandma raising young girls grows tired of mom's antics

Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I am raising my two granddaughters and trying to allow their mother, my daughter, to visit with them. My problem is, the entire time she is with us, she stays on her phone or Snapchat. Last weekend, I drove to the place where she resides, and the whole time we were there she ignored the girls. I have a ton of family and friends who say I'm wrong for allowing her to even see the girls, period. I don't want to be the bad guy when they grow up. Help, Abby. -- FOR THEIR GOOD IN OHIO

DEAR FOR THEIR GOOD: Either your daughter doesn't know how to relate to her children, which is why she stays on her cellphone when you bring them to her, or she's not interested in creating a bond since she has offloaded them to you. Talk with your daughter. Tell her that if she isn't prepared to actually spend time with her children, you will stop bringing them, and then follow through. Children aren't stupid. They know when someone is interested in them and when they are being ignored. In the end, you won't be the "bad guy" in their eyes.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing because I'm sure other grandparents have faced the same issue as I have. I enjoy sending my grandchildren cards with a small check for special occasions or as a reward for doing well in school, etc. My son and daughter-in-law have a reward system set up with my grandson where he receives an allowance for doing his chores, but has money deducted if he doesn't.

I sent my grandson a small check with his birthday card, but my son informed me that he will be able to keep only $2 of it, because he's in the hole for not doing his chores. I feel the check was a gift and should have been kept separate from the rewards program. Who is right -- my son or me? -- GENEROUS GRAN IN WASHINGTON

DEAR GRAN: I think you are. But since your son and daughter-in-law dictate what goes on under their roof, it doesn't matter what you and I think. The rules are the rules, and your grandson needs to get off his behind and catch up on those chores!

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are snowbirds and head south for a few sunny months every winter. We rent in an active adults community and enjoy all the clubs and sports. Our problem is the number of relatives and friends who invite themselves down for a free vacation.

Unless I specifically call and invite you, I am not interested in spending my vacation -- which is costing me a pretty penny -- making beds, washing towels, cooking much more elaborate meals than my husband and I usually eat and ferrying you around to see the sights. Feel free to rent your own place or stay in a hotel wherever you wish, but please do not include us in your plans. Thank you, Abby, for letting me get that off my chest! -- ANSWER IS NO

DEAR ANSWER: You are welcome. That's what I am here for. But you are venting to the wrong person. This is something you should express to each of the friends and relatives who think they can continue to impose upon you. Who can blame them? They thought your silence was consent.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have experienced a serious disconnect since the COVID-19 outbreak. I have very little interest in him and zero desire when it comes to sex. We have two small children at home, so Mommy/Daddy time is now nonexistent.

We haven't left our home in five months and I'm beyond frustrated. I know he wants to keep us safe, but when I see pictures online and hear about my friends and family still going out -- living their lives -- it makes me depressed, anxious and to be honest, grumpy! He says he loves me, but he has started to resemble a Neanderthal. He doesn't shower regularly and doesn't shave for weeks on end.

I can't remember the last time I put on makeup, jewelry, perfume or even a cute outfit. Frumpy isn't a word I would use to describe myself, but it's how I feel and how I'm looking these days. He says my lack of desire is confusing, so now I feel attacked and inadequate and like I'm letting him down.

I love him, I do! But, right now I'm just not feeling it. I miss the days when I felt special, loved, admired and appreciated. Now it's nothing more than laundry, cleaning, picking up messes, home-schooling and asking what they want to eat next. Did I mention dishes? It's time, Abby. I need to get my groove back! Any suggestions? -- MARRIED TO A NEANDERTHAL

DEAR MARRIED: It's time to clear the air. Tell your husband what you have told me -- starting with the fact that you feel depressed, anxious, trapped, out of sorts and he now resembles a Neanderthal. (It may make him feel less "confused.") If you have been doing all the chores alone, it is important that he pitch in.

You both may need to get out of your cage once in a while. Dress up and go for an outdoor meal (lunch?) with a friend. Take your kids to the park. Your husband should do the same. However, if he can't bring himself to do that, he needs to understand that depression and isolation may be a threat to your marriage.

DEAR ABBY: I've known my friend "Bob" for many years. We both love cars and have attended car shows together. A few months ago we made tentative plans to attend an upcoming car event together. I texted him as the date neared, but he responded that he might be out of town. When I didn't hear from him again, I assumed he couldn't go.

During a group conversation at a social gathering a few weeks later, I heard Bob say he had attended the event with another friend. I'm certain he didn't forget about our prior conversation. I don't know why he shut me out, but I feel he was dishonest. I have been avoiding him ever since.

Part of me wants Bob to know that I'm aware of what he did. Another part thinks it would be best to leave the subject alone. Either way, I'm inclined to discontinue our friendship. Am I overreacting? -- JADED IN THE WEST

DEAR JADED: Bob may have wanted a change of pace and didn't know how to say it. I can see why you felt hurt. Because you are inclined to end your long friendship with him over this, ask Bob why he handled the situation the way he did. If you do, it may save your relationship.

DEAR ABBY: My mother died two years ago. Both of my parents traveled extensively before their declining health prevented it. They purchased a prepaid cremation package that included shipping the cremains back to their home.

My mother was cremated, but we had to wait more than six weeks for her cremains so we could have a funeral. Waiting for the funeral devastated my dad.

While he was able to communicate and make decisions, he stated that he did not want to be cremated. So I took Dad to a funeral home and selected a funeral package that included a traditional burial, and called to cancel the cremation package. My sibling, who is the power of attorney, talked him out of it and reactivated the package!

Now my father has been diagnosed with severe dementia and cancer. We don't know how long he has, but I'm concerned that his final wishes won't be followed. If he is cremated, I am considering skipping his funeral. How can I get through to my sibling that this was wrong, and I won't be a part of not following his wishes? -- NOT WHAT HE WANTED

DEAR NOT: Your father appointed your sibling to be his power of attorney for a reason. I will assume that your father was in his right mind when he decided that he wanted to be cremated after all. I think it would be in your interest to calmly discuss this with your sibling and find out why your father changed his mind after telling you he preferred to be buried. Could the reason have been financial, that burials are expensive and he wanted to leave more to his children? You won't know until you ask.

If you do not attend your father's funeral service, I am concerned that it will cause a permanent rift in the family and be something you may regret for the rest of your life.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I took in our almost 20-year-old step-grandson, "Philip." He has been with us almost a year. He was really appreciative when he moved in and when my husband helped him get a car.

Philip has said in the past that my husband's political views scare him, and I can understand that. Today when my husband and I were at lunch, he mentioned that when Philip came in this morning, he ignored him. My husband asked me if he had done something wrong, so I explained the political thing.

I can understand the difference in political views. What I can't understand and don't know how to handle is the sudden show of disrespect. This isn't the first time my husband has mentioned this to me, and it's not the first time I have brought it to Philip's attention. -- KEEPING THE PEACE IN ARIZONA

DEAR KEEPING: Allowing yourself to be the go-between apparently hasn't worked, so step out of the middle. Tell your husband the next time your step-grandson is rude that HE should take it up with the young man.

Philip has enjoyed your hospitality for nearly a year, and what he's doing is not only rude but also ungrateful. Because the reason for his behavior is your husband's political beliefs, he needs to realize that your husband's views are as valid as his are. Philip should either find a better way to deal with it or move.