Q. Shouldn’t a grandmother who is babysitting her daughter’s two small children five days a week get paid something? My brother and his wife have our Mom doing this now for quite some time and they don’t pay her anything. She’s about worn to a frazzle. I talked to my brother about paying her and he said she didn’t want anything. It’s just not right and I know she could use the money. Any suggestions?
A. Things to consider before doing anything more:
▪ Whether it is right or not, there comes a time when you have to ask yourself this: “How important is this? Is it worth starting a possible family feud or causing hurt and upset feelings?”
▪ Remind yourself that your mother is an adult and unless her voice box has been removed, she can and apparently has made a decision not to accept payment for babysitting your brother’s children. What the reason is for not accepting payment, we do not know. There could be many. Is it a good idea to ask her, I think NOT.
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After evaluating your potential responses and feelings to the considerations I have identified, if you still feel it is your responsibility to “make things right,” I recommend you proceed very cautiously.
Perhaps an idea to mention to your brother is this: “John, I know Mom said she didn’t want you to pay her for babysitting, but maybe if you left a short note for her once in awhile, telling her how much you appreciate what she does for you and include a gift card to the grocery store she goes to or her pharmacy, she might accept it.” “...or maybe a small bouquet of flowers, with a little thank you card, and a gift card in the same little envelope.”
Q. Bought a gift for our granddaughter right before Christmas. It was a sale item but I didn’t realize it. Therefore, it had only a very limited number of days to return. Her Mom tells me she really doesn’t like the color (I thought pink was her latest favorite color; guess it is now black) and would I exchange it for a different color. I found out I couldn’t return it, and there wasn’t another one even like it in any color. I told her Mom my granddaughter would just have to “love it,” and that didn’t go over very well. So what do I do?
A. What’s that saying Heidi Klum says on Project Runway: “One day you’re in and the next day you are out.” Apparently that same statement can apply to teenager color and clothes preferences.
Here is what I suggest:
▪ Donate the item to one of your favorite clothing charities.
▪ If you are able and willing, offer to take your granddaughter shopping to pick out another gift, using the original amount you were willing to spend rather than the sale price.
▪ Offer giving her cash (also in the amount you were originally willing to spend) so she can go shopping herself and purchase something she would like.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Dianne Isbell at Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.