Comments
1 - 15 of 15 Comments Last updated Dec 7, 2012

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Dec 7, 2012
DEAR ABBY: I never had a desire to have kids. I married a man, "Harry," who had four, and did my duty being with them on holidays, birthdays and vacations. I never enjoyed it, and I have always been honest regarding my feelings about baby-sitting.

Now that Harry's children are grown and have children of their own, they think my husband and I should give up our weekends and holidays to baby-sit their children. Harry and I have had several serious arguments about this.

I have told his kids I do not want to watch their children. Harry will tell me at the last minute that one of them is being dropped off because the father and his girlfriend are going out. When the grandchild arrives, Harry disappears because he doesn't want to be bothered.

I served my time when my stepchildren were small and have looked forward to the day I'd no longer have to share my down time with kids.

Three months ago I was "surprised" with the 7-year-old so her dad and his honey could go to Atlantic City for a great time. I told them I had a political function to attend at 1:30 the next day; they didn't return until 3:30 in the afternoon. My husband thought it was fine to go without me! I would never have done that.

I love Harry, but this is causing me major grief. Please tell me what you think about this. Oh -- and did I mention they think because I was an elementary school teacher I should want to sit and play with their kids? It's comparing apples to oranges.-- NEARING WITS' END IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR NEARING WITS' END: What I think is that you are being taken advantage of, and it will continue as long as you allow it, however unwillingly. The next time Harry informs you at the last minute that a grandchild is being dropped off, grab your coat and purse and tell him you are going shopping, visiting a friend, seeing a movie or anything else that will get you out of the house. If you do, perhaps the next time his kids need a baby sitter he will suggest that they hire one.

Oh, and did I mention that when you were a teacher, you were compensated for your labor? You are being used, and I hope you draw the line before you really arrive at wits' end.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 70-year-old man. Many people tell me I look much younger because I have my hair colored professionally.

I started dyeing my hair about 16 years ago because my children are much younger than those of most people my age. They wanted me to color my hair so that I didn't look like their friends' grandparents.

Now friends and new acquaintances make comments about me not having any gray hair at my age. So, what do I say? Should I tell them that I have my hair colored? Should I just laugh? Please advise.-- TO DYE OR NOT TO DYE

DEAR T.D.O.N.T.D.: Many men have their hair professionally colored these days and others do it themselves at home. It is nothing to be ashamed of. You neither have to laugh nor to divulge the secret of your eternal youth. However, since you are beginning to feel self-conscious because you feel the color of your hair isn't age-appropriate, discuss it with your colorist. It may be time to let a little bit of gray come through at the temples.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#3 Dec 7, 2012
L1: Rude on all fronts. Good advice, though. Every. Time. This. Happens. You need to plop those kids in your husband's lap and leave.

I know a few early childhood educators that don't have kids, in part because they spend so much time with them professionally.

L2: Um...what?

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#4 Dec 7, 2012
LW1: Harry is very inconsiderate. You need to learn to say no and let Harry do the baby sitting if he signed you all up for it. I still think it would be nice to occasionally help out, however. His kids are always going to be in his life and if you thought you could have a relationship with him and not be inconvenienced at times with his grandchildren, I think that was foolish.

I also wonder why Harry married you. If I were single I would not contemplate a relationship with a woman who was so against being around children.

LW2: Just laugh it off.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#5 Dec 7, 2012
Sublime1 wrote:
I also wonder why Harry married you. If I were single I would not contemplate a relationship with a woman who was so against being around children.
His kids sound pretty horrible, so I'd not want to be around them, either. Dropping kids off to head to atlantic city without actually talking to the person who'll be doing all the work?

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#6 Dec 7, 2012
Also: ITA, he never should have married her, given her general dislike of kids.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#7 Dec 7, 2012
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
<quoted text>
His kids sound pretty horrible, so I'd not want to be around them, either. Dropping kids off to head to atlantic city without actually talking to the person who'll be doing all the work?
Yeah, they are. Still my folks would just say no, if I pulled that crap.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#8 Dec 7, 2012
1- it's possible to not want children of your own but still be a great parent to your step kids. I know a woman like that. And my sister's a kindergarten teacher, which likely reaffirms her desire to not have kids of her own.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#9 Dec 7, 2012
edogxxx wrote:
1- it's possible to not want children of your own but still be a great parent to your step kids. I know a woman like that. And my sister's a kindergarten teacher, which likely reaffirms her desire to not have kids of her own.
Sure, but the LW didn't even want to be a parent to her step kids, much less a grandparent to her step grand kids. She probably shouldn't have dated dudes with kids.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#10 Dec 7, 2012
Sublime1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah, they are. Still my folks would just say no, if I pulled that crap.
Yeah, my parents made it known early on that they weren't defacto babysitters if we ever had kids. Maybe occasionally, if you ask nice and they don't have anything else going on, but don't rely on it.

I have a friend whose parents *are* like that--will watch the kids at the drop of a hat--and her husband's aren't and she can't grasp why they don't want to watch her three under-5s. Yeah, they raised their kids. They also have several of other grandkids and don't want to end up babysitting all of them, all the time.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#11 Dec 7, 2012
Matilda77 wrote:
<quoted text>
Sure, but the LW didn't even want to be a parent to her step kids, much less a grandparent to her step grand kids. She probably shouldn't have dated dudes with kids.
I agree that given her tone, it sounds like she doesn't like kids anyway, so would agree that she probably shouldn't have married the guy in the first place. But that's water under the bride, now her issue is being roped into babysitting without even being asked. I think most would have a problem with that.
Sam I Am

Cedar Grove, TN

#12 Dec 7, 2012
1. First, you married a guy with 4 kids. What did you think was going to happen? Second, you need to have a getaway bag in the car at all times, and when someone shows up with a kid in tow, you disappear first. That's probably the only way you are going to get the point through to Harry. Bottom line: this isn't going to end well.

2. Let it go gray, you wimp.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#13 Dec 7, 2012
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree that given her tone, it sounds like she doesn't like kids anyway, so would agree that she probably shouldn't have married the guy in the first place. But that's water under the bride, now her issue is being roped into babysitting without even being asked. I think most would have a problem with that.
Oh, for sure.
Kuuipo

Monterey, CA

#14 Dec 7, 2012
LW1: Wow. Harry commits to babysitting the grandkids at the last minute and then disappears. I agree w/Abby and Matilda. Get out of the house and let grandpa watch them. If that doesn't help him find his voice then you need to start making more weekend getaway plans.

LW2: Rude remarks and questions do not require a response. But my good friend's sister colors her hair a very beautiful and flattering auburn and when people ask her "is it natural?" she says with complete honesty, "no, it's straight out of a box" and she didn't care. I say laugh it off or just put it out there, your choice.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#15 Dec 7, 2012
Matilda77 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah, my parents made it known early on that they weren't defacto babysitters if we ever had kids. Maybe occasionally, if you ask nice and they don't have anything else going on, but don't rely on it.
That's how mine are, except for my brother's kids, who live with them. My MIL and FIL are the same way.
Matilda77 wrote:
<quoted text>I have a friend whose parents *are* like that--will watch the kids at the drop of a hat--and her husband's aren't and she can't grasp why they don't want to watch her three under-5s. Yeah, they raised their kids. They also have several of other grandkids and don't want to end up babysitting all of them, all the time.
That's completely understandable to me. Some kids never actually grow up and learn to manage their own responsibilities as adults.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#16 Dec 7, 2012
L1: Harry is probably one of those guys who thinks it's the "women's job". Just putting that out there. Whether or not he thinks that, it's more than rude to do what he's doing. You should never commit to someone else's time. She raised those kids, too. She needs to have a talk with them if Harry doesn't stop doing this.

L2: Given how the guy wrote about it, I have to go with Abby. Let the colorist have it go gray gradually. If I was him I'd ignore the comments, but it seems he can't/won't.

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