A couple has shared their fears they could become estranged from their family as they struggle to enjoy any alone time with their grandkids, away from the other grandparent. But is their plea fair, or cruel?
Bravely sharing their anguish in an open letter to the Washington Post‘s Ask Amy advice column, the grandparents revealed they live “out of town” from their son, daughter-in-law and three grandkids, but fly to see them monthly.
However, they’re forced to share that precious time with the other grandparent, who lives much closer and who has become a key part of the children’s lives at home. Now, they have pleaded for help to get the alone time they’re craving.
Admitting the other grandmother’s life is now “devoted” to the family, the couple wrote: “She has no boundaries and gives us no time alone with the kids when we visit. I once tried to talk with her about it, but she ignored my concerns. Our son and daughter-in-law won’t address this.”
After asking their family if they could spend more time alone with the kids, the couple claim they received an angry text message from their daughter-in-law, accusing them of trying to shut her own mother out. They added: “We fear risking an estrangement if we bring this up again.”
The letter divided readers, with some relating to the grandmother’s plea and others defending the daughter-in-law. The Ask Amy response looked at both sides of the argument and advised the couple to speak to the other grandmother directly, rather than risk upsetting their son and grandchildren.
“Because this grandmother is so intimately involved in this family’s life, a grandchildren extraction could be extremely difficult,” the advice columnist wrote.
It’s not the first time a grand-parenting dilemma has sparked a controversial response. Last year, a woman wrote into the same advice column asking for help after her mother invoiced her for expenses she incurred while babysitting her daughter.
The woman who identified herself only as “Burned by Grandma” explained in the letter to Ask Amy that she sent her daughter for a visit with her grandma, only to receive an itemised invoice for expenses on the visit!
The advice columnist sensibly advised that the grandma in the situation may have had legitimate reasons for demanding the cash, but that it also could be a passive-aggressive way of saying that she does not want to babysit.