I’m a single woman in her forties and godmother to some great children – but for one of those children, this is a real struggle as their parents seem to think my (and others) needs are about the lowest thing on their list.
I have been friends with this family for many years and I have always been there for them through some really difficult times. However, the difficult times never let up: they have not found adequate childcare despite being financially secure, as a couple my friends are not tackling their relationship issues or work-life balance, and when I step in to help I feel that am being used without any appreciation. I remember all their birthdays and Christmases, I babysit, I listen to their woes, I always travel to them and fit around their schedule – but can’t remember the last time anything like this was done in return. I recently split from my partner, and it’s barely been discussed.
Every time I, or someone else, try to organise a social event we are expected to fit everything around this family and their son. If plans don’t exactly fit with this family – the father accuses us of not understanding their needs and not supporting them enough.
I’ve tried discussing this, but am accused of not appreciating the pressures they are all under. I’ve tried arranging time with my godson alone, but they heavily dictate what I’m allowed to do with him. I’m beginning to question the balance between my duty to my godson, which I take very seriously, and the fact that this friendship has shifted to a footing where I feel used and with no end in sight.
How can I both help them through these tough times, and shift the balance to feel that I am not being used for my childcare support alone?
For all the childless, single women everywhere being expected to sleep on floors and crappy camp beds when visiting friends, fit around others and generally put themselves last… while struggling financially and keeping it together emotionally.
Got a question for Viv? Email her at DearViv@thepoolltd.com. The Dear Viv podcast airs weekly on The Pool at 5pm on Tuesdays. All letters will be edited for length. Unfortunately Viv cannot reply to your emails personally.