Dear Mr. Unsavory,
I am wondering about your opinion on thank you notes pertaining to grandparents. Unfortunately my mother thinks she deserves a thank you for everything (including just spending time with my kids). And if I don't send it in her timely manner (3 days) then I get an email from her about how disrespectful I am that I didn't acknowledge her. Anybody who knows me well will tell you that I am good with thank yous (I usually write them within a couple of days, 2 weeks max), but to get angry emails when it's not done within her timeframe is beyond my comprehension. How should I handle this?
Are you seriously telling us that grandparents need "thank you's" just for spending time with their grandchildren? Grandparents are supposed to love that shit. I mean, isn't that what they do when they get older - hang out with their kids and grand-kids until the point of frustration and then go home? The answer is yes and if you haven't already told your moms that she's cray, well then, you're in the running for daughter of the year. Life with little kids is insane in the membrane. Unsavory KNOWS this! Between work, diapers, the husband, cookin' and cleanin'...she should be sending YOU thank you notes for even taking the time to send her thank you notes, even if they are a few days late. In fact, go ahead and send her this link so she can properly respond to your thoughtful thank yous.
Dear Mr. Unsavory,
My wife and I are considering moving closer to both our families. We both grew up in a small town in PA, but moved to Easton when I got a job at Easton Memorial. Now that we have a family of our own, we are feeling the need to be closer to grandparents who can help out with occasional childcare and support. I don't feel as comfortable with babysitters and would prefer that if we leave our small children (both under 4), they are with family that we trust. We are also always driving the 3.5 hours up to PA on holidays and for family gatherings -- it feels like we are in the car every other weekend. Pittsburgh would be the closest city and we could probably find jobs pretty easily (we are both in the medical field). My wife worries, though, about being too close to family. She wants to still have distance and our own lives and doesn't want either of our families to become our only social outlet. What are your thoughts on living in the same town and the pros and cons to moving to be closer to family?
Dear Movin' On Up,
Unsavory feels you. I totally get the desire to be closer to family, especially with little ones. While it is possible to find a local sitter/nanny that your family could come to love and completely trust, there's nothing quite like having your folks or in-laws hang with the kids. Some things to consider though before packing up for the 'burgh. You don't mention anything about your thoughts on Easton in all of this, and that concerns me. Do you genuinely like living here, or are you both homesick for PA? Easton is pretty spectacular in terms of a safe, smaller town great for raising a family. If you haven't gotten involved with all the area has to offer, your decision to move away may be hasty. Also, is there any chance of the grandparents coming to visit you guys more often? Sounds like a one-way visitation schedule with you guys doing all the driving. I would venture to say that your folks would most likely love it here (assuming you have a guest room for them). One other thing to consider are the kids' ages. They're not going to be under 4 forever, and once they're both in school all day the need for family assistance will decrease. I'd hate to see you all move back to the dark gray cloud that is western PA only to regret the move a few years later. Final answer: Make some more friends and get active with family-friendly events, the outdoors, and everything else this area has to offer before making a decision based solely on child-rearing.
Want to read Ms. Savvy's take on these same questions? For advice from the therapist's chair visit Ask Ms. Savvy.
Unsavory has absolutely no training or experience in offering guidance to people, but that doesn't stop him from tackling even the stickiest of situations. Beating around the bush is not his style, so hit him with your best shot. And don't complain when the truth hits you upside the head. **Disclaimer: If it isn't already blindingly obvious, this column is purely for entertainment purposes.**