Ask Grandma Anything: Pesky Neighbor Policy?

Hi, Cutie!

I just moved and my new neighbor seems to “pop out” every time I’m in my backyard in the garden. She’s nice, but now I’m hesitant to go into the garden as she startles me (she all of a sudden will pop up over the fence) and starts talking and talking and asks so many questions.

I understand she’s curious as we are new in the neighborhood. I’d like to spend time, even if for only a few minutes just to enjoy the garden, sun, etc., without interruption. Also, I cannot just physically stand still for more than a few minutes without the need to sit down or kneel down (which I’ve mentioned to her), but she seems to want all my attention, and seems she has no regard for my time or comfort.

I feel like I’m being selfish or rude if I don’t give her all my time. She must be waiting right by her back door, because the second I step outside, BAM
there she is!

I’d appreciate any advice. Thanks so much for sharing your time, wisdom and valuable experience in life!

Talked Out

Dear Talked Out,

You have to set boundaries with your neighbor, otherwise she’ll walk all over you. This is an important time to show her where you stand.

Be polite, but assertive. Tell her that you would love to catch up, but that you only have a few minutes to get to your gardening. Wish her a good day and tell her you will see her again. Eventually, if you keep doing this, she will get the picture–and if she does not, that is not something you should feel badly about.

Perhaps it will help to bring your music out in the garden with you. She is unlikely to keep talking if you are wearing headphones and not responding (and if you’d rather listen to the birds singing, she doesn’t have to know your music is not playing).

Remember that this is your time. She does not have a right to take it from you, and you are correct to treat it as the precious commodity that it is.

Good luck to you.

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Ask Grandma Anything: Scheduling For Children

Hello, Cutie!

My husband and I have been married for two years and have been together almost ten years. I’m currently in graduate school and have another four years to finish.

However, by the time I finish I’ll be 30. If we wait to have kids until then, that only gives us five years to have all of our children (since a woman’s risk of passing along genetic abnormalities increases significantly after that point).

Currently, we feel that timeline is too pressured and we’d rather space our children out. What do you think, Cutie? Should we think about having children sooner (before I finish my doctorate) or wait and have all of our children spaced very close together?

Mama To Be

Dear Mama,

Children are a sacrifice of your time. If it were me, and I were your age, I would have the children before getting my degree. However, I understand that it is very difficult to complete that type of program.

It might help to consider the support you have in your life. This is a conversation with your husband. If you choose to have children before you finish your program, is he ready to step up and assume the extra responsibility? Communication and understanding are necessary if this is going to work. 

Also, anything can happen. It may take a little longer to complete your program. You might change your mind and decide to do something else. But it does not sound like you will change your mind about children. Start off by having one and the rest of your life will fall into place. 

You will love being a mother! I just know it!

Good luck to you. 

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