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Weekly Reader 4.11.11

Get out the tissues!

This week’s New York Times’ “Modern Love” essay is guaranteed to trigger tears.  “Sharing the Shame After My Arrest” digresses from the usual romantic-themed essay with a 28-year-old’s love letter to her mother.

The young woman was mistakenly arrested  along with her husband after he  embezzled thousands of dollars from his employer by using his wife’s name.  While waiting for the charges against her to be dropped (and for her husband to plead guilty), Brooke Rinehart moved back home but could not bring herself to sleep in her teenage bedroom.  So she slept on the old living room couch, and she was not alone:

I slept on that couch for 90 nights, the full period I faced federal charges. And for those 90 nights, my mother slept on the love seat, her limbs hanging off at odd angles. I didn’t ask her to sleep there. She just did.

A touching tale about a parent’s love.

How Much is Too Much?

Parents can be guilty-as-charged with all types of “enabling.”  One of the latest types, spawned by the recession,  is “financial enabling” and the experts at creditcards.com give some warning signs on when parents may have “crossed the line from generosity to enabling”

  • You have given so much and so often that your loved one is no longer trying to make it on her own.
  • You give money to others even though you can’t afford it, or even though it harms your own financial stability. For example, you stopped contributing to your retirement fund or took out a home equity loan.
  • You’re buying your clothes at Walmart, but your grown child is buying $100 designer jeans with your money.
  • You feel a sense of resentment or anger about giving the money, but don’t know how to say “no.”

Tips for Travel with the “Kids”

Family trips  are considerably easier when the “kids” are adults not toddlers (a change of scenery, not a vacation)  or even teens (another museum!!!).  Still pre-planning is required if you want the trip with adult children to go smoothly.  Some suggestions from travel pro Janet Varn:

  • Have a crystal-clear plan: Be sure that everything is clear upfront to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
  • Give everyone plenty of advance notice: Plan at least a year ahead to give everyone time to schedule and budget for the trip.
  • Location, location, location:  Either choose a destination or present two or three ideas for a family vote.
  • Set a no-surprises budget: Set the amounts and then be completely clear about who pays for what.
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