A reader has been in touch with a dilemma that many in the 'Sandwich Generation' know only too well - whether it is right to snatch some 'me' time as opposed to giving 'them' time.
Our reader, aged 62, told how she was going to spend last weekend entirely alone in her house for the first time in...ages. Husband was away, children at university and 89-year old mother did not know she was alone. Was she going to run amok? No, she was going to have a bath, maybe more than one bath, she was going to read and she was going to do some light tidying up. So why did she feel so guilty?
The answer, of course, was her mother. She would be spending the weekend alone - as usual - and would like nothing more than to spend it with her only daughter. The reader felt it was like leaving a tiny, injured kitten on their own in a dark alley. But she was determined not to give way and call her mother, even though it would make her so happy.
It was a miserable situation and one with which I am very familiar, having had a mother for whom emotional blackmail was a way of life. Our reader did indeed spend a secret weekend, lying low and pretending she was busy. She admits, however, she didn't really enjoy it. The guilt was too much.
It is impossible not to sympathise - with both women.