DEAR ABBY: I am a grandmother of five. I love my children and their children. However, when they visit, the parents of my grandchildren rarely supervise them. My house and yard are somewhat "childproof," but the kids still get into a lot of things they shouldn't. As I am the only one who seems to witness this, I feel like I am forced to be the baby sitter rather than being able to enjoy the family.
We have a large family, and while I don't mind doing most of the work, I am starting to resent the fact that my husband and I end up doing the lion's share. When I ask one of my grown children to help, the reply I get is, "We are socializing and relaxing," and they don't really respond to my requests. They also leave without picking up their children's toys. When I mention that I need help, the usual reply I get is that I am being "uptight" or unpleasant.
This is causing a lot of arguments between my husband (their stepfather) and me. I don't want family times to be stressful, but the last few visits have been exhausting because I am taking care of everyone. I never had grandparents, so I'm confused about the proper approach. -- CONFUSED IN SANTA BARBARA
DEAR CONFUSED: Well, I had grandparents, so permit me to enlighten you. If my parents or I had ever spoken as disrespectfully to them as your children have to you, there would have been holy heck to pay. It is not being "uptight" or "unpleasant" for a host to ask a guest for help if there is more going on than he or she can handle -- and certainly not if the guests are family members. In fact, they should be asking YOU if you need a hand.
However, there is blame here to go around. Who raised these self-centered ingrates? If the answer is you, then you must ask yourself why you tolerated this when they were young. It's still not too late to put your foot down -- and I hope you'll do so the next time you ask someone to assist you and the person shines you on.