Ask Amy: Hospitable grandma resents family demands

FresnoSeptember 3, 2013 

Dear Amy: I'm a grandmother who likes to have the family over for a Sunday meal. My husband and I like to cook. We have a large garden and like to eat a healthy variety of foods.

My daughter, who's the mother of two of my young grandchildren, has food issues. Her requirements vary. She will say she is on a juice cleanse, or that she is no longer consuming gluten or nightshade vegetables; today she is not eating pasta, bread or potatoes.

I received a text message very late last night with this new "no carbs" list. I had already made dough for make-it-yourself pizzas. I thought this would give everyone a chance to participate. (On Sundays my daughter is often hung over from Saturday-night reveling. I figured that, if she was napping, this could be a project the kids would enjoy.)

But she forces her children to follow her restrictive diets and lectures them about it. I try not to react to my daughter's rude outbursts to her kids and to us.

Her two siblings have a strained relationship with her. Her brother prefers to just skip dinners when she is present. He says she has made his life miserable enough.

How should we handle this?

— Burdened mom

Dear Burdened: Let's go back to your comment about your daughter's hangovers. Has it occurred to you that her drinking might be behind some of her behavior?

Food obsessions are often about control. She is likely trying to control you (and her children), and she is succeeding. Because her food requirements change so frequently, you should realize that she is really saying that she wants to be in charge of her own eating.

From now on, ask her to bring and prepare her own food for herself and the children. If she is too hung over to interact with you and her children respectfully, she has an additional problem, which I believe should be acknowledged and addressed.

Dear Amy: With all due respect, the issue with "Of Sound Mind" and "Happily Childless" is not the gender of the physician refusing to sterilize because the patient "will change her mind," but the condescension and abuse of authority by any doctor or "expert" who crosses way over the line of appropriately "counseling" the patient.

I think you missed the point, Amy.

— Tish


Dear Tish: I have heard from many women who say their female doctors also refused to sterilize them. Thank you for raising this point.

Send questions to or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.


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