Fix your orbit

Joey Garcia

My 35-year-old son’s girlfriend hates me. I’ve done everything I can do to get along with her because he loves her so much. I was a single mom, and he is all I have. But she is distant and difficult. Now she’s pregnant. I’m thrilled and only want to be a supportive, loving grandmother. But she doesn’t want me to visit, and tries to restrict my son from visiting with me. It’s a difficult situation because I don’t want to upset her and chance losing time with my future grandchild. Advice?

Love is complicated, isn’t it? You yearn to be included, but experience your son’s partner as intentionally excluding you from the family. If your son isn’t intervening on your behalf, the problem might not be his partner, despite how cold and difficult you say she is. Speaking of her vibe, maybe the cold front is self-protection. You think you’re being friendly, but she experiences you as over-involved in her relationship. Are you ignoring her boundaries?

Remap your orbit. As a single parent, your son was once the center of your life. But he’s an adult now, and your focus on him is misplaced. Reorder your priorities. Begin by surrendering your single mother identity. Discover who you are as a woman. Learn to live as a single adult. Pour energy into creating a foundation to build the dreams delayed while raising a child. Don’t assume that your son’s partner is keeping anyone from you. Find ways to give yourself what you desire without disrupting her life. Like this: Always wanted a grandchild? Expand your concept of family. Volunteer for a program that serves infants or children. Above all, stop complaining about your son’s partner, or he might feel forced to choose her or you.

I’m divorced and have four daughters who range in age from 22 to 31 years old. My two youngest daughters spend a lot on clothes and eating. I bail them out but keep it secret from my ex. I have been seeing a woman who says that I’m teaching my daughters to be irresponsible. I think I’m helping them out, can afford to do it, and enjoy it. Who’s right?

The real question is: Why is paying off your daughters’ debt a secret from your ex-wife? If you’re giving your daughters a clean financial slate because you feel guilty about divorcing their mother, or are engaged in a favorite parent competition with your ex, then stop. If you want your daughters to grow into women who understand how to manage their money, then stop. If you like the way your daughters behave toward you when you pay their bills and don’t get that same emotional hit from them at other times, then stop. Direct your daughters to, where they can learn budgeting and saving skills. Or buy them a copy of the classic, Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money, by Barbara Stanny. Then, find a nonprofit that needs your extra cash far more than your daughters do, and donate those dollars.

Meditation of the week
“I found God in myself, and I loved her, I loved her fiercely,” wrote Ntozake Shange, poet and playwright. How do you celebrate your uniqueness?

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