You recently printed a letter from parents whom you termed "enablers" because their young adult children still expect money from them. Ann, my husband's situation is exactly the same with his daughter. (She is his only child. I have no children.)
"Linda" quit high school in her senior year, and has moved from one mediocre salesclerk job to another. Her father stopped paying child support a year ago, but he still gives her money to live on. She calls him regularly every month crying about one financial emergency or another. My husband sends her $200 or $300 after every tearful call, and swears each time that it is the last check he will mail.
My husband saw the column where you said, "Tell such children the bank is closed." He vowed that his "bank" was going to close. I was thrilled. Then, two days ago, we received another well-rehearsed call from Linda, with the same old song and dance. Again, he sent a check.
Ann, how can I convince my husband that he isn't helping Linda by caving in every month when her bills are due? He won't listen to me. He tells me I know nothing about children since I don't have any. We've been together for 12 years. We get along beautifully. I love him, and want to stay with him forever. This is the only major conflict we have, but I am a nervous wreck every time the phone rings. Do you have any advice for me?
Rebecca in Mississippi
Yes, I do. Lay off. You have spoken your piece, and it has not made a particle of difference. The problem isn't financial, it's emotional. And it isn't your problem, it's his. So, swallow it, dear, and don't let this issue ruin your relationship. That grabby daughter would then have her daddy all to herself, and wouldn't that be nice?
I have just read your column advising exhausted mothers to quit working outside the home so they can spend more time with their families. I agree with that, but many mothers work so their children can get an education.
My husband and I have two children in college because I work. I am not talking about Ivy League schools. I am speaking of state-supported universities. We have suffered through company layoffs and shutdowns. Unfortunately, in today's world, it takes two incomes to make ends meet.
Please don't make us working mothers feel guilty, Ann. We have it rough enough. My first choice would have been to stay at home, but I didn't have that luxury. When a second income means education for your children, not vacation homes and fancy cars, the situation takes on a totally different meaning. What mother would not love to spend time with her little ones instead of fighting office politics?
We are each faced with different situations, and must make the best of what we have. Just because a mother works does not mean that she isn't loving and caring.
TNP in Greensboro, N.C.
You have written a letter for which every working mother will bless you. Not all mothers are alike, however. Some would rather dig ditches than stay home and take care of their children. Hard to believe? Trust me, it's true. Those mothers are better off working, and so are their children.
P.S.: All universities offer some form of financial aid for students who cannot afford tuition. At state-supported schools, it should pay a good portion of the cost. Investigate! You will be pleasantly surprised.
To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
(C) 1999, Creators Syndicate Inc.