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My Money, My Kids

Frequent Contributor

My Money, My Kids

My husband and I have nine children total. I have three from a previous marriage, he has four from a previous marriage, and we have two together. My oldest three are grown and on their own. I have one daughter going through a divorce that gets no support for her and her two children. She has her own business that is not doing well and has recently been relying on me and her ex father-in-law for financial help. Of course I'll do anything to help her and the grandbabies, but...


My son and his girlfriend live together and both work full-time, but earn lousy wages. They are very financially responsible and always pay all their bills on time, but that leaves very little money leftover for food and incidentals. They live a few minutes from me and I see them several times a week, usually getting hit up for food or cash. I would never let them go hungry, but...

My other daughter lives almost an hour away and I don't get to see her or my two grandsons nearly as often as I'd like. She is a SAHM, so she never has any of her "own" money unless she asks me to transfer her some cash - which happens regularly enough. I admire a woman that stays home to take care of her family and wish I could do the same with my toddler and baby, but...

I have to work full time, plus overtime, plus a side hustle to keep up with my bills and the $20 I get asked for multiple times a week from all of them. They know how hard I've worked to clean up my credit and aquire the scores and cards I have. They have all been so supportive and encouraging. I'm just afraid that with my newfound credit will come newfound debt as they ask for more.

I literally get sick to my stomach when payday rolls around, I start paying bills, and see what's left in my account. I'm working 60 hours a week and I'm barely getting anywhere. Keeping up with a baby and a toddler in my 40's while trying to get a mortgage and help keep my adult kids above water is exhausting. I'm just tired y'all and needed to get that out. 
Thanks for listening.



Message 1 of 9
8 REPLIES
Regular Contributor

Re: My Money, My Kids

Whew, that's a lot! No wonder you're exhausted. I have a few thoughts...

 

SAHM daughter can get internet gigs for spending money. No, it won't be easy to do that on top of raising kids, but working extra in order to give her spending money isn't easy either, is it? Why does she feel more comofrtable asking you for spending money instead of asking her husband? If they are that low on finances, has she considered going to the food bank so that they have money left over for household essentials and the like?

 

FInancially responsible son and daughter seem more willing to ask you for food than they are to take advantage of food programs already available to them, i.e. food bank. It's super humbling to go to the food bank. It's not fun, and you get food that isn't what you would have chosen and is past the pull date and in some cases gross. Way easier to ask mom for some cash for food, right? Then you can buy the stuff you actually want. Assistance with heating/cooling costs are also available to low income families. Have they looked into that? Or have you made it way easier for them to just ask you for it?

 

Daughter going through divorce--first of all, child support is necessary, she needs to be filling out that paperwork for it and going after that. It is crucial not just for her, but for your grandchildren, and for you. This is too much of a burden, and that's why child support is a legal thing.

 

Are her kids under 5? Is she in the WIC program? That provides food and a few other things.

 

If her business is not doing well, has she looked into free resources available for small businesses? I'm starting my own business and found out that I have access to free business coaching and a variety of educational materials on creating business plans and other foundational aspects that I previously had no clue about. She is not helpless to her business's failure. If her business isn't suceeding, there's a reason for it. Is it easier for her to figure out why her business isn't suceeding and fix it so that she and her kids can survive financially, or is it easier for her to just ask you for money?

 

I'm not saying any of your kids have it easy. I feel for them. I lived on teh streets for years in a car because I couldn't afford Seattle's astronimical rent prices. And I lived off of food banks. It's not comfortable, to be sure. But, your kids have options to survive that is not you. And they're instead asking you because that's what's easier, more comfortable, more convenient.

 

Except it isn't working for you.

 

I'd gently suggest it's time to start drawing some boundaries on how much per week you are willing to give. If it were me, I'd budget out, with each paycheck, the total amoutn I can afford to give. And when that's gone, say sorry, if I give any more I might not be able to afford my own bills.

 

Watch their eyes get wide. It probalby has not occurred to them that you are in a similar boat.

 

If $20 is all you can afford to give that paycheck, inform the first adult child who asks for it that you can give them $20, but that means you can't help out either of the other two that week. How badly do they need it?

 

Show them your money isn't infinite.

Message 2 of 9
Established Contributor

Re: My Money, My Kids

but...

 

Your older children are grown, but they are not really "on there own." Your two youngest children need a mom that can be there for them, enjoy them... now. What about your husband? Is he ok with this, does he know?  

 

You sound like a wonderful mother, willing to give till it hurts, mentally and physically. Don't let this take a bigger toll on you than it has already. Your young kids, and your hubby & family need you, happier, with less stress.

 

Each of your older kids has something you are giving away in your life. Money. Time with your family, hours spent at work. It's not fair to any of you. Not even your older kids. Them taking, you giving. At some point it will take a toll on your relationships.

 

Saying no is hard. If you can't take $ away all at once... tell them "you need $20, I'm sorry, I can't do that. This time I can give you $15,  I need $5 for me." Use it on you, something just for YOU. Whether it's 20 minutes alone at Starbucks, a movie, a cookie while you take a peaceful walk. Something/ anything for you to recharge, relax & smile.

 

It may be the toughest thing you have ever done, but you must tell them no. Maybe not every time, but...

 

~~~~~~~sending waves of strength~~~~~~~

 



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Message 3 of 9
Senior Contributor

Re: My Money, My Kids

No offence, but why do you have to work harder so they don't have to? Now, I don't know the details in your, or your children's lives, but right now I just don't see any excuse for them to not carry their own weight.

 

Child 1: this one is sort of understandable, if it's just temporary. As a former business owner, there are times when you can't pay yourself in an effort to keep it going. But, there comes a time where you have to decide whether or not It's worth the effort. And that time is when it affects your family's well being.

 

Child 2: working full time jobs, they sound able-bodied enough. Why do you have to work overtime while they don't? I've worked 2 jobs while going to school, my wife has worked 3. In the world of UBER, lyft, doordash, and grub hub, there is plenty of side work. Enough money can be earned to pay for a car just for those jobs in addition to what you take home.

 

Child 3: can start her own home business or do side work. Growing up, my dad didn't want my mom to work. She picked up side work that she could do at home. She also started babysitting since she was going to be home anyways. Where there's a will, there's a way. I mean, seriously, what's her excuse? You have 2 kids also, yet you work a full-time job, plus overtime, plus a side hustle.

 

There is going to come a point where you won't be able to take it anymore and it could be devastating for relationships. It needs to be nipped in the bud. Stop enabling them. I'm not saying don't help them, but you need to set boundaries and make them explicitly clear.






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Message 4 of 9
Member

Re: My Money, My Kids

I hope I dont give all of you the wrong impression about the story I am going  to tell about my own family and our current situation.  First off, my wife and I have 4 children, 2 of which llive on their own, the other two live with us.  I am over 65 and am retired/disabled.  I have a fair income even so.  My wife is in her 50's and does work and makes a fair income.  She works about 38 hours a week.   I do some work via my computer selling and swapping and trading items to bring in extra income.  We have 2 of our sons living with us.   By our invitation.  Several years ago my health deterorated pretty badly and I had to have open heart surgery.  3 times.  For a year and more I was in pretty bad shape.  My wife needed to work to help pay bills.  Our youngest son came home to help us out by being here to take care of me.  We didnt ask him to work though after a few months he did get a part time job while continuing to care for me when my wife was at work and even when my wife was home.  If you cant tell, we are a pretty close family...mostly.  About a year later my older son moved here with us.  At the time we were all lliving in RVs as we had lost our home a few years earlier in the big bust.   So we had our two youngest sons here with us.  No problems, they didnt ask for money 99 percent of the time. They both worked and paid their own bills though we did cover lot rent and utilities.

3 years ago we got tired of living in campers and decided to buy a home.  I should say that at that time our credit wasnt that great.  Around 550 I would guess. I dont remember for sure. 

 

We did find a home, and had to raise a large down payment.  12,000 to be exact.  Our sons helped with it and actually came up with almost half of it between them and we managed the rest and paid the other fees.  We sold the campers and moved to our home after closing.  The boys moved in with us as we had expected and did support.  Rent and living expenses are high in this area as it is a resort town.  Housing is high.   The boys, and my wife finally found jobs, although one of the boys took almost a year. He was riding it for sure.   But he did help take care of the house but things got a little tense for a while.  When he did find a job, we were all relieved of course and the tension level dropped considerably.  Our older son is signed on the mortgage along with my wife and I.  Though he isnt signed on the mortgage our younger son is considered by us to be part owner due to his helping raise the downpayment.    Regardless of the job situation initially. 

 

So its been three years now.  We didnt really get any new credit.  We got a couple of beat up cars from one of those used car dealers that finance their own.  Paid too much of course but it kept the inquire's off our reports.   Finally a few weeks ago we decided to get a new car.  We checked our score and it was 729 exact for both of us.  exactly the same.  Yes we had been trying to manage our scores and though we didnt know exactly what all we did that was a pretty good score.  We got our new care and we likely spent more than we should have but we had been driving clunkers for too many years.  We got the new one with no money down and a low 3.2 interest rate.  We have warrantys on it that cover it bumper to bumper including tires.  All maintenance work, everything.  A week or so later we co-signed on a car for our youngest son as he had been using another old clunker.  So now two new cars in the family.  In 6 months or so we anticipate co-signing a car for our older son so he can have good transportation. 

 

Now I know our situation is likely not unique but maybe a bit unusual.  We are a close knit family and have been.  At least mostly.  One child is not in good straigts with us due to their own, well, actions.  But the rest is well.  Our two boys here work and help support the home and do most of the work on it.  They pay their own expenses and assist with groceries so there are no problems in that respect.  There have been several times we had to borrow a bit of money from one our sons and no problems.  I doubt the older son will be moving anytime soon to his own place though our youngest will likely be moving sometime in the near future.  He is currently in a managment program so that will necessitate a move before long. Our older is going into an internship fairly soon.  That we can help them as we have pleases us.  We dont feel used because we enjoy having them here with us even though they are adults.  They are here and able to assist me when needed.  They take turns taking me to doctors.  My health is better than it used to be but still requires alot of doctor care. 

 

I know that some folks hate having their kids at home and there are adult children that will take advantage of that.  Our credit score is still around 700 even with getting the new cars.  I am happy that we have managed to get our score up there.  We lived many years not being able to finance a can of beans, especially after we went through a bankruptcy about 15 years ago. I hope the lady that has the problem with her children can work things out.  We are lucky I guess.  She has our prayers.   I dont know if posting this here is appropriate or not.  I am brand new to this and this forum.  If need be I guess the folks in charge here can move this post somewhere else or get rid of it. I just wanted to let the lady know that there is hope.

Message 5 of 9
New Contributor

Re: My Money, My Kids

Typo, your story is beautiful. You pulled together as a family and helped each other at a difficult time. Each does what they are able to keep the family unit thriving. I wish you good health and your entire family many, many more years of family happiness and joy.

Message 6 of 9
Member

Re: My Money, My Kids

thanks for the reply.  Our family cares about each other a great deal.  We will go all out to take care of each other and I hope it continues over the years.  We have been lucky that way I guess.  As far as I am concerned I will continue trying to keep us together through as many years as I can. 

 

 

Message 7 of 9
Member

Re: My Money, My Kids


@missliz

My son and his girlfriend live together and both work full-time, but earn lousy wages. They are very financially responsible and always pay all their bills on time, but that leaves very little money leftover for food and incidentals. They live a few minutes from me and I see them several times a week, usually getting hit up for food or cash. I would never let them go hungry, but...

My other daughter lives almost an hour away and I don't get to see her or my two grandsons nearly as often as I'd like. She is a SAHM, so she never has any of her "own" money unless she asks me to transfer her some cash - which happens regularly enough. I admire a woman that stays home to take care of her family and wish I could do the same with my toddler and baby, but...
I have to work full time, plus overtime, plus a side hustle to keep up with my bills and the $20 I get asked for multiple times a week from all of them. They know how hard I've worked to clean up my credit and aquire the scores and cards I have. They have all been so supportive and encouraging. I'm just afraid that with my newfound credit will come newfound debt as they ask for more.
I literally get sick to my stomach when payday rolls around, I start paying bills, and see what's left in my account. I'm working 60 hours a week


 

I feel for you a great deal.  But your kids need to buckle up and help YOU.  The two that live just minutes away and  working could help right now by taking care of your house. And doing things there for you. A little bit of assistance goes a long way.  The SAHM could work online as well. Earning money the way I do selling things online via Ebay and Amazon.  Buying and selling does work and a person can make a fair amount of money. All she needs to do to find things to sell is go around the garage and yard sales in your area. Looking to see what is selling well on Ebay and Amazon and then finding those items in your area.  Dont take long.  Done it for years.  you have my families prayers and wishes going your way.  Your kids love you, its apparent, they just need some guidance from you.  You arent going to hurt them by making suggestions what they can do to help.  And believe me.  Once they know what needs to be done, they will buckle down put themselves doing what they can.  THEY WILL!!!!.   Good luck to you all and our prayers and best wishes.   Take care

Typo

Message 8 of 9
Member

Re: My Money, My Kids

I'm a Mom and could practically feel your pain as I was reading your post. I know what it is to not be able to give our children everything they need/want.

I divorced my husband when my son was 6. First 2 years were brutal. Barely making rent. Most often I could only afford to feed my son. I hated being hungry. My son heard "no" a lot. Even when things turned around and I started making real good money my son heard "no" a lot. Saying no may hurt us Moms in the short term but it makes our children very strong long term.

Being open with our children about why we have to say no is a great help too. It's hard to admit to our children that we aren't super heroes. That we are exhausted, broke and worried. Let your kids know. When my son was young I tried to shield him. As he became a teen I didn't hide any longer. I believe it helped him to be stronger.

Saying no and being honest worked for us. My son, without me asking, took on 2 jobs to pay for his books and fund his student spending account. (He goes to a pricey private college with no FA and no loans. He knows the sacrifice that took.)

It's very hard for young people today, however, they are young and have more time and energy than yourself. Learn to say no with love, honesty and compassion. With a mother as caring as you seem your children will understand. And, please, don't beat yourself up. You are perfect just as you, right now, reading this. Don't forget it.

Message 9 of 9