Ask Amy: Mom Would Love a Cup of Appreciation
Dear Amy: I’m a married mother of three young adults, and grandmother to three young children.
All of my life I have taken care of people. I raised my children for 10 years alone, while continuing to work full time.
I have a very loving, supportive husband.
We have a home, a cottage, and an investment property, which my husband and I (physically and financially) take care of by ourselves.
Our adult daughter and son-in-law don’t take any interest in helping us, even though they live in the investment property, at a very reduced rent, so that they could save money for their own home.
Three years later, they have saved nothing, and don’t work regularly.
They buy whatever they want, but can’t support themselves.
We continue to help with babysitting, and by helping to ease their financial burden.
Last night, while visiting my grandchildren, I brought along some essential items for the household and treats for the kids.
The kids always express gratitude. Their parents never do.
While I was there, my son-in-law went out for coffee, bringing it back for my daughter and himself! I couldn’t believe it.
No one even offered me so much as a glass of water!
I left the visit feeling so used, unappreciated, overwhelmed, and heartbroken.
I don’t know what to make of this rudeness. I cry by myself in frustration.
This has been going on for years, now, but I did not raise my children to be so rude and unappreciative!
Dear Steamed!: I beg to differ. You are obviously a generous and giving person, but you did raise your children to be rude and unappreciative.
Not only do you not react or respond when these adults are rude to you, but you actually enable and subsidize them.
When you don’t express your feelings directly to the people inspiring them, you are being dishonest. And so, rather than merely assert your own human right to have feelings and express them, you are crying into your pillow and then blaming these adults for not being able to read you.
By subsidizing their rent, you have created a false economy. They don’t put their earnings toward housing costs, because you’re doing it. They go out for coffee instead of brewing it at home, and don’t offer it to you because – why not? They can “afford” it, and you are invisible.
You need to understand who would benefit the most right now from your generosity – and that is you.
Stop impeding their progress by providing so much for them.
Start valuing yourself enough not to be a doormat.
The pandemic has forced many families to pull together, live together, and help one another out, but your situation was not brought about by the necessity of a worldwide emergency.
When you change, they will change. Why? Because they will have to.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2021 by Amy Dickinson