1. Shelli

    My daughter in laws mother is hospitalized and serious. This is tramatic for their family. Friends of the family are having a benefit to help with expsenses. The family was not consulted. My question is… Is the family expected to be there for the benefit?

    • Country Girl

      Expected? No, I wouldn’t think so. I assume the friends who are holding this benefit understand that the majority of family is likely engaged in being there for mother. It would however be really nice if one or two family members could attend to extend the family’s thanks to those who are donating time and resources.

  2. janice

    A woman in our office has a daughter in college and our co-worker recently told us that her daughter is going to have a baby. There is no father involved or plans to marry that we have been told. Now one of our bosses (who we all report to) has decided to purchase a stroller for our employee (for her daughter) and has asked us to donate if we wish (pressure is implied). We have other women in our office who have recently purchased their own homes and had other life events and we have not done anything for them. I believe “rewarding” someone’s daughter, (who I have never met) for this kind of thing sends the wrong message, supports unwed parenthood and I don’t want to contribute. Besides, I have had a major illness and have thousands of dollars of medical expenses I am dealing with. How can I handle this?

    • Elizabeth

      Janice, depending on how you were asked, you could either do/say nothing (ignore the request) or if an answer seems ‘required’ from you, I would leave out the unevenness support in the office and your feelings about single parenthood, and writing a short note to your boss. Assuming she knows about your illness, you could simply say, “Dear Boss, As you know my family has been struggling with my illness during the last months, and unfortunately we do not have much in the way of disposable income at the moment. As happy as I am for Coworker’s daughter and the joy of a new life, I regretfully cannot contribute at this time.”

      If she doesn’t know about your illness, you can say something more vague: “Dear Boss, As happy as I am for Coworker’s daughter and the joy of a new life, I cannot contribute at this time due to some family issues that I have endeavored to keep separate from the office and my work life. I think your generosity in organizing this gift is admirable, and I respect and commend you for it. Best, Janice”

      You may not totally 100% mean all of this, but your good wishes (however faux or ambivalent) will go a long way to smoothing over your non-participation (which, since their is pressure, could invite retaliation if your boss is a real nutjob). But keep your negative opinions to yourself- both to your boss and other coworkers – nothing good can come of voicing those feelings.

      • Clara

        Janice, this baby will need a stroller and other things regardless of whether its parents are married or not. So, echoing Elizabeth’s suggestion, just decline gracefully and keep your judgment to yourself. The gesture seems more toward doing something nice for a co worker who is about to become a grandparent in possibly a difficult situation than rewarding the daughter’s decision to have a baby. You don’t know the daughter, but you do know the co worker. It seems that in workplaces there are often inconsistence regarding which workers get gifts for life events and which do not. This is not always fair, but it seems to happen in may workplaces. Some places have a “club” that try to collect on particular occasions and make sure that no one is left out.

    • Chocobo

      Irrelevant pieces of information: that you have an illness, that the daughter is in college, that she is unwed, that you feel this is wrong, that other women have homes and nothing was purchased for them, that you have never met the daughter. What we are left with is the relevant piece of information: Do you want to donate? If the answer is no, politely decline. I would advise without explanation.

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