DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: While I don’t do it just to be fawned over and thanked, I do think it would be the right thing to do for my son and daughter-in-law to at least say, “Thank you,” after I’ve babysit their triplets. I realize how much work it is for them to have three toddlers running around, and I am glad I am able to help, and even more, to keep up with them when they are at my house or when I take them to the neighborhood playground.
I love the kids and love having them around, but never once have their parents said or done anything to let me know they appreciate having a break. They seem to see it as they are doing me a favor, giving me time with my grandchildren and giving me something to do.
Actually, I have plenty to do, and although they may not believe it, I do not choose to identify myself as simply a grandmother, who exists solely for their convenience.
I realize I sound like a self-centered griper, but I had hoped I raised my own son to be a grateful person. Am I wrong in wanting some acknowledgment for helping out? --- JUST WANT A THANK YOU SOMETIMES
DEAR JUST WANT A THANK YOU SOMETIMES: It may be your son and daughter-in-law truly believe they’re doing you the favor, and so see no reason to express their appreciation. However, I agree with you that being thanked once in a while would not be in the least out of place. The trouble is, I’m not sure how you’d go about directly letting them know you’re feeling unappreciated without coming off as being a bit whiny; and refusing to take the kids might make you seem petulant.
Perhaps an alternative is to be slower to agree to their requests for babysitting. If you need to “check your calendar” before saying yes, they might get the idea you’re not sitting home waiting to be called upon for grandma duty.
Hopefully, displays of gratitude for your help will come. In the meantime it may be better to focus on the good you’re doing for your grandchildren and the satisfaction you get from being an active part of their lives.