Young dad wants more at­ten­tion from his mom

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON Email: [email protected]­ Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: My sis­ter and I both have young chil­dren (I have three kids, age 7 and younger, she has two un­der age four).

My sis­ter re­lies heav­ily on my Mom for child care through­out var­i­ous times of the year. As such, my par­ents spend 90 per­cent more time with her kids than with ours.

My wife and I would like our kids to get more qual­ity time with their grand­par­ents (and we could also use the ex­tra sup­port).

How do we find more bal­ance, while re­spect­ing the needs of my sis­ter, and with­out burn­ing out my par­ents? Thank you for your in­sights. — BROTHER/DAD

Dear Brother/Dad: It sounds as if you are less in­ter­ested in bal­ance, and more in­ter­ested in how to get your mother to do more for you, specif­i­cally.

Your mother al­ready pro­vides child care for two very young chil­dren. You would like to add on some child care for your three very young chil­dren. That’s a lot of child care for a lot of chil­dren. Hasn’t your mother al­ready raised chil­dren? Does she want to do this?

You don’t note the cir­cum­stances be­hind these needs. Is your sis­ter a sin­gle mom?

Is your mother pro­vid­ing full-time care, or is she step­ping in on Satur­days? And what are your true needs (ver­sus those fu­eled by your sib­ling ri­valry)?

If you want your folks to spend more qual­ity time with your kids, then in­vite them to spend time with your fam­ily — not only to babysit for the chil­dren, but to do things with all of you. “Qual­ity time” is fam­ily time — play­ing games to­gether, go­ing to pup­pet shows, plays, movies and con­certs, and oc­ca­sion­ally sit­ing on the couch with a cock­tail or a cup of cof­fee, en­joy­ing the chil­dren while some­one else takes pri­mary care of them.

Dear Amy: Our fa­ther died last year. The youngest of four sib­lings be­came the es­tate’s ex­ecu­tor. On the day of the in­ter­ment, “Bart,” our older brother, asked how soon he would re­ceive his share of the es­tate.

I was shocked. I ex­plained the process, which takes time.

Bart made the same in­quiry over the course of sev­eral months. We sug­gested he hire a lawyer to ex­plain the process if he did not be­lieve what we were do­ing/say­ing, which un­for­tu­nately de­layed things fur­ther.

Al­though we all re­ceived a par­tial dis­tri­bu­tion, Bart told our younger sib­ling that we would no longer have ac­cess to our teenage niece and nephew un­til Bart had re­ceived all of his money.

We are al­most at the end of the process. Un­for­tu­nately, dur­ing that time, Bart be­came ter­mi­nally ill. Given the tim­ing, his spouse may be the per­son re­ceiv­ing his in­her­i­tance.

The ex­ecu­tor and es­tate lawyer have done ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to ac­com­mo­date his ex­pec­ta­tions. Mean­while we have had no con­tact with our niece or nephew. We have sent cards and gifts, and heard noth­ing back.

Our hope is that some­day, maybe even at “Bart’s” fu­neral, we will re­unite with our niece and nephew. If this hap­pens, how should we re­spond if they ask why we’ve been dis­tant? — PER­PLEXED SIB­LINGS

Dear Per­plexed: I’m go­ing to of­fer you some hon­est feed­back about the sit­u­a­tion you de­scribe.

Your brother is ter­mi­nally ill. Al­though he dis­closed this more re­cently, it’s pos­si­ble that he ei­ther sus­pected or knew about his ill­ness when your fa­ther died. This would nat­u­rally have cre­ated some very com­pli­cated emo­tions, con­fu­sion and per­haps time pres­sure on his part.

It is also pos­si­ble that his ill­ness has dis­rupted, dis­torted or am­pli­fied his emo­tions and re­ac­tions. It would be gen­er­ous of you and your other sib­lings to of­fer your brother ev­ery pos­si­ble ben­e­fit of the doubt. I think you would all feel bet­ter if you did.

Yes, keep in touch with his chil­dren. Af­ter your brother’s death, let them know that, “For a bunch of com­pli­cated rea­sons, your dad didn’t want us to see you, and we have missed you very much.”

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