Dear Annie: I am sick and tired of my mother expecting me to fix everything. When my siblings get in financial trouble, she expects me to bail them out because I have a better job thanks to my college degree - a degree I paid for with student loans and grants. My family didn't help one bit. My wife and I struggled to pay off the loans while my siblings were getting into debt. My mother also expects me to spend all my vacations and weekends doing maintenance and remodeling on her home, even though I live out of town. She thinks I should fork over the dough whenever her "needs" cost more than she can afford, which is most of the time.
This is putting a strain on my marriage. My wife resents saving money for our own home only to have me give it to my siblings or mother. She also doesn't like that I am so tired from doing things for Mom that I don't have time for our own children. Would it be wrong to tell my siblings "no" when they ask for money? Would it be wrong to tell my mother to hire someone to do the work on the house or that she and her roommate should pay for the projects themselves?
- Tired of Being Mr. Fixit
Dear Tired: Is it wrong? No. It's long overdue. Adult siblings are responsible for their own finances. Unless something catastrophic happens, you should let them fend for themselves. As for Mom, it's nice to help her out with home maintenance when you can, but you don't have to do it every time, and it should not be at the expense of your family. It's perfectly OK to say, "Sorry, not this time." Mom will be stunned, but she'll get used to it eventually.