Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill
Dear Maura: How do I tell my daughter that I’m getting too old to mind her two children? They’re four and six. They’re great but I’m feeling more and more tired at the end of the day after minding them. They’re in school but I have them until 7pm. I give them dinner and sometimes do a wash or two. It’s so difficult to say anything to my daughter because I know she depends on me. But honestly, I’m getting past this lark now at 65. I would be happy to help if the other granny chipped in. Every week is more and more of a challenge. If I say something to her like I’m feeling tired or not up to minding my grandkids, she’ll start worrying about me. I’d love if her mother-in-law got involved. I could cope with say two or three days. But they don’t really get on and she’d have to ask her. I’m not sure how my daughter would feel about that. The other thing is I don’t want to fuss. I’ve always just got on with things except these days I don’t feel I have the energy like I used to. Answer: The most revealing sentence in your letter is that you ‘always just got on with things’ and that’s not working for you anymore. Now you need to put yourself first and it’s about time you did. I’m not suggesting anything drastic; however, a new arrangement needs to be put in place for your grandchildren. You will have to get the other granny on board. But, of course, before anything happens you need to talk with your daughter. Start off with the fact that at your age you don’t have the same energy as before. You need help with the children and maybe cut your week down two days. Let her take control and organise a better arrangement so everyone is happy.
My best pal says I’m not supportive
Dear Maura: My best friend of 10 years has told me I’m not there for her. In her opinion I always go to her with problems but when she comes to me for help I’m not supportive.
That is such a load of nonsense. I’ve always made time for her. When she broke up with her boyfriend two months back, I was with her practically every evening and weekend. She’s forgotten that.
I started my dream job a while ago and I’m in a lovely relationship. It’s not serious but I’m enjoying myself. For the first time in a long time things are going right. And now this. I don’t know what’s going on.
Why can’t she be happy for me instead of picking rows for no reason?
Answer: Have you considered that she could be jealous? You’re enjoying your life right now and it is as if she’s trying to interfere with that. She’s trying to make you feel guilty. Do you think she’s moved on from the break-up?
Has she been out with friends and getting her life back on track? Ultimately, she needs to focus on herself and moving forward on all levels. Pointing the finger of blame at you is giving her an excuse not to take responsibility for her own life.
Email your problems to
Dr Angela Brokmann firstname.lastname@example.org
Maura O’Neill email@example.com
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