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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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I am the mother of a son who is almost 2 years old. My neighbor

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I am the mother of a son who is almost 2 years old. My neighbor has 7 grandchildren and a mentally disabled 43 year old daughter. My neighbor told me that he wants to take me and my son on trips with his 7 grandchildren and daughter because he feels overwhelmed when they have to go out. He said that they go out quite frequently and he wants me to help him look after his grandchildren and his family. I work full time and I am so tired on the weekends that all I want to do is spend time with my son.

He hinted a few years ago that he was overwhelmed and wanted me to help out--but I was so consumed with working. At that time I did not have a son. I really have compassion for him because it sounds like he is truly in over his head, but I don't want his problem to become my problem. I can see myself being consumed by taking care of his family because I have always had a problem of being assertive and saying no. I don't want to be selfish either. What in the world should I do?

jenhelant : Hi, I understand what you mean and how difficult this must be for you. It seems you have enough to deal with work and it is understandable why you would want to spend time with your son when you are free. There is nothing wrong with that and it is concerning since just like you said his problem could become your problem. One outing may lead to something that can turn uncontrollable. I think the best way to go is one of two ways. You can tell him you are sorry, but you work a lot and are very tired on the weekends and prefer not to take trips and would rather be alone with your son. There is nothing wrong with that at all and you would be very respectful and understanding at the same time while going by your wishes. This is not being selfish. On the other hand if you feel you would have a good time by going one time and another, but want to avoid the having any obligation then I would explain the same as I said above, but also let him know that you would like to go once in a while, but can not go all the time. You may enjoy yourself since you will be doing a good deed as well as doing something different with your son. He may have a good time as well, but that option is only if you would be willing once in a while or even just once. I would think about what you really want and take one of these routes. Either way you would be doing what is right by you while still being respectful.

That sounds great. I think that these routes are the way to go. I was thinking that this would be a good opportunity for my son anyway--at least some of the time. What I will probably do is go once, just to see how it goes. If I notice that it becomes a situation where I find myself overwelmed, then I will have to say no to future outings. I appreciate the feedback and this was extremely helpful to me!

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