DEAR ABBY: I'm a 60-year-old grandmother of eight wonderful grandchildren, ranging in age from 2 to 24. My question is about baby-sitting.
I believe my children think we owe them baby-sitting duties. I don't mind baby-sitting once in a while, when I feel like it. But I don't feel like it when the parents want to go out and party, or they tell me at the last minute, "little Susie needs some Grandma time," or they want to go to the gym because they don't want to give up the freedom they had before their children came along.
What are your thoughts on boundaries for this generation of parents-who-want-it-all at the expense of my generation who, back in the day, if a neighbor kid couldn't baby-sit, we just stayed home? I know I should have set some rules at the beginning, but I'm starting to feel resentful of their expectations. -- WANTS SOME FREEDOM, TOO, IN MINNESOTA
DEAR WANTS SOME FREEDOM, TOO: There is truth to the saying that "good fences make good neighbors," and the philosophy applies to many circumstances. Setting clear boundaries makes for healthier relationships. Keep in mind that many grandparents would love to have your "problem." But as you stated, your problem was in not setting ground rules from the beginning.
Because you feel resentful, it's time to have a frank talk with your children and say that as much as the grandkids may "need" Grandma time, Grandma also needs Grandma time. And when you do, be firm -- because unless you stand your ground, nothing will change.