Family matters


I’m looking for a way to make visiting with family either at my small home or a flight away in theirs easier. One of the things I think about is that my job as a senior is to understand and ease the way for others. I think I do this pretty well except when I am in close proximity to my ADHD granddaughter and her mother. The mother was a single child, Ivy educated and excellent in her medical field. She does not set boundaries with her daughter. Nor did she with her son but he is manageable as a teen. The 10 year old granddaughter enjoys being the center of attention. She commands it and her mother tells everyone to be quiet and to focus on her. The mother doesn’t mind that she does cartwheels in my living room. My son rolls his eyes – he gives up on the mother’s (his wife) lack of boundaries. He knows mine.

I am finding that each time I am around the mother and granddaughter together, I get sick now. At 75, this behavior is getting old. I set boundaries but they are rarely observed. When my son visits without his wife things go much better. His wife is totally self-absorbed. She does occasional nice things for me. If I was sick she would be here in a minute and find the best specialists in the country for me.

My granddaughter and I do well together when the mother is NOT around. In the 15 years since they married, she has never once taken an interest in me. She likes to tell me about her life from time to time. I work hard to take people where they are.

This visit, I couldn’t wait until they left. They extended their visit by staying one week this time, it is usually four days. I mentioned to the mother who is a physician that I wasn’t feeling well. That I had been on bed rest before they came. She made me a lovely item and I just sent her a photograph to show her that I made it into a pillow. She was shocked I was on bed rest. She is rarely focused on anything I say.

My son and daughter do not stay with me which I orchestrated years ago. I usually have one or two of the grands here which is no problem. It is a huge problem when the mother is here with them which she is most of the day. I feel like I stand guard over my home the minute they enter.

One example of these issues is food. My home is small and open. My granddaughter carries food throughout the house. I mention to her in front of her mother that she must eat it in the kitchen. The mother says, ‘no, she is fine.’ I override the mother most of the time. If I go to sleep early, I will find leftover food in the bedroom from my granddaughter after her mother has left. I rarely have my granddaughter sleep over anymore because of this.

Any ideas? Most of my friends say they are dealing with similar issues.

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3 Responses to Family matters

  1. Janel says:

    Em, wow, someone actually responded after nearly a month posting this. So thank you for this. Maybe people are getting off their technology? I know I am.

    Yes, it is challenging for both of us. It is sad when anyone is afraid to speak up. Doesn’t say much for their relationship. I think the younger generations are more cavalier about material possessions these days. It’s such a disposable society. I have to laugh when I hear people say how much they like community when in fact, they add nothing to it. Then disregard how someone else lives.

    I live near a wooded area. People love to walk their dogs on my street. And, they toilet them on my lawn. They clean up what they can but it isn’t too pleasant when my grandchildren play in that spot. It’s all about consideration.

    Hoping you, too, continue to stand guard. Whadda world.

  2. Em says:

    I feel your pain.
    I have the same problem with DIL and grandchild.
    They both want to eat and drink all over the house.
    I’m finding it hard to keep a big house clean, let alone food crumbs and spills in other areas than the kitchen and dining area.
    And it doesn’t matter how often I express my expectation.
    Yes I also feel I am “guarding my house”.
    I feel so bad inside when I see them disrespecting me, and I speak up. Too forcefully and then there are hurt feelings all round.
    My son just wants me to cave and let them do what they want, for the sake of peace. (But he won’t be doing any cleaning.)
    Good luck Janel. Wishing it for both of us.

    • Janel says:

      Thanks, Em.

      So glad you responded.
      I make a point to tell my family how much I appreciate them and focus on the positives. I suppose most generations feel a sense of entitlement and aren’t concerned with others. I see this in my new neighborhood where a general lack of consideration about parking is ever present. When you confront people kindly, you get a long text message explaining their rationale. Personally, I don’t care why they need to park their car in front of my house – just don’t do. Put them in your driveway or garage. Sheesh.

      I liked living in the woods so much better. No human irritants! And nature all around. Wow.

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