No reason for grandma to apologize for ‘me time’
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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I feel like I’m not living my best life. Everyone needs something from me — my time, my money, my food, my babysitting, my free counselling and advice. I can’t recall the last time I did something for myself, or when someone did something nice for me.
How do I start getting control of my life back before it’s too late?
— Mother of Six, Grandmother of Many, St. Norbert
Dear Mom/Grandma: Your loving “caretaker” personality means you’ve never lacked for family company, but grandmothers often lose their own set of adult friends and social life. Families grow to expect you saying: “OK, I’ll cook, or babysit, or cancel my activity tonight to help you.”
Are you ready to shift this situation? To get active, have some fun and make new friends in a hurry, see what the Manitoba Association of Seniors Centres (manitobaseniorcentres.com or 204-792-5838) has to offer and find the centre nearest to you. There are about 30 in Winnipeg, so there’s surely one nearby offering lots of activities.
You might also want to join a choir or a walking or gardening group in your neighbourhood. There’s a whole world beyond one’s family. Be warned: Some in your family won’t like your independence and busier life — it may cut into your babysitting time for them.
Be firm, but good-humoured about it. Smile and say: “Grandma has her own life now and she’s having fun again!”
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My boyfriend and I used to always go out on Saturday nights, but now he plays sports with his buddies that evening and they go to the bar after. By the time he gets home, he’s tired from the physical activity and beer-drinking. All he wants to do is watch a movie and fall asleep.
I’m 18 and too young to be treated like some old wife. Should I dump him?
— Bored Stiff, Elmwood
Dear Stiff: He’s having fun with his buddies, and not being good to you. And you’re not enjoying his rude and careless attitude this summer. So, talk about it frankly with him, and get his reaction. He may not be aware you’re getting restless and ready to move on, and will throw himself back into gear to keep you. Or, he may know very well he’s no longer being a great boyfriend, but thinks you’re too crazy about him to actually break up.
At 18, you should be ready to change directions, and move on. There are a lot of single people your age to choose from, if a certain guy is not behaving like “the one.”
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m so sad and disappointed about this loser summer! My husband and I can’t afford to take the kids on our annual one-week holiday at the beach. Our boys are young — in early grades — and just love summers in the sand and water. This year, gas and food prices are so high we only have a few hundred dollars in our holiday account. Please help us! What can we do to save the summer for the kids, and for us?
— Trapped in the City, St. Vital
Dear Trapped: First, don’t lament this situation in front of the kids. Let them get excited about fun new activities in and around the city, with some day-hops to a nearby beach. Build a happier mood at home by transforming your back yard into a summer playground with a small kiddie pool, music, and light strings in the trees. A hill of sand with sandbox toys can be a blast.
Here are some activity excursions the whole family will love.
Tinkertown offers kid-sized “carnival” rides and nearby is Grand Prix Amusements with go-karting and bumper boats big enough for a parent and a little one together.
City kids can really get a kick out of “meeting” all kinds of farm animals. The 10 Acre Woods rescue farm/sanctuary near Anola has everything, including birds, goats, bunnies, ponies and alpacas, plus a funny turkey called Fernando, who interacts with guests.
A few miles west of St. Norbert, Aurora Farm offers tours and classes. The kids can see frisky goats and amusing alpacas, plus chickens, cats and kittens, horses and more.
There are dozens more local children’s activities you can research online. Also, be sure to look up the many water and splash parks in the city to chill out on hot days.
There are also beautiful beaches an hour to 90 minutes away from the city for a few very special day-hops. You can still have a wonderful summer, even on a budget!
Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
Maureen Scurfield writes the Miss Lonelyhearts advice column.