Dear Annie: My 5-year-old granddaughter was here for a few days and needed her evening bath. The last time she stayed overnight with me, her mother sent bath products that got in her eyes and burned. So this time, I used my own baby shampoo and some moisturizing body wash. Everything went well, but when my daughter saw that I had used those products, she went ballistic.
Later that evening, she sent me a text message saying I had disrespected her authority as a parent. Annie, the baby shampoo didn't hurt my granddaughter one iota and neither did the body wash. From my daughter's reaction, you would have thought I threw acid on the child. We had a huge disagreement via text, and my blood pressure spiked so high I thought I was having a stroke. We haven't corresponded since.
My daughter is 45 and one of those Helicopter Momzillas. She watches her daughter like a hawk, never missing a chance to correct someone who says anything objectionable to her daughter or when another child doesn't play with her the way she thinks is right. She believes she is the only one who knows how to raise a child. I guess my 50 years of child rearing experience mean nothing. She acts this way even toward her husband, as if he is a total idiot, and he won't stand up for himself. When I have my granddaughter at my house, I don't want my daughter around because she can be so unpleasant, snapping and biting at the least little thing.
My husband and I have helped my daughter's family from the day the child was born. I have never been disrespectful toward her. This is the first time we haven't been on speaking terms. Will she ever change? -- Momzilla's Mother
Dear Mother: Probably not until her daughter is older and rejects Mom's overprotectiveness. Until then, however, please stop creating a tug-of-war over who is the more sensible parent. She is the child's mother and has her best interests at heart, even though she is overbearing. When she says to respect her, she means that you don't get to undermine her decisions unless you feel they are a danger to the child, which they are not. Yes, the baby shampoo was fine, but Mom specifically asked you to use something else and you should have done so.
You owe her an apology. Really. Her nitpicking attitude is exhausting, we know, and it isn't particularly helpful to her daughter, either. But you absolutely must bite your tongue and allow her to make these decisions. You raised your kid, Mom. Now it's her turn. Let her be.
Dear Annie: This is for "Suffocating in Saskatchewan," whose co-worker has a terrible body odor. My son used to have body odor, but I noticed it only after he showered. It turned out to be his aftershave. When I got up the courage to speak to him about it, the problem was solved and he thanked me for letting him know.
It could be that the co-worker's soap, aftershave, cologne or other product doesn't mix well with his body chemistry. That might be an approach to use when speaking to him about it. -- Been There
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