To all the parents out there . . . PLEASE take care of yourself first!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
To all the parents out there . . . PLEASE take care of yourself first!!!
Thu, 07-07-2011 - 12:27pm

Hi team,

Warning, this is LONG

Sorry I've been MIA for so long, but I'm dealing with some stuff here and its been mentally and emotionally draining. My life is going to change significantly for a few months but I'm *hoping* it will be worth it.

As some of you know, my mother was a financial mess growing up. She was severly (Debilitating) depressed and it impacting our lives significantly. She didn't work for several years and when she did made horrible financial choices. She would buy take out every night,

Bex -


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2009

Bex, how frustrating! It does sound like a step in the right direction though, putting money towards an asset (property) and saving for retirement. She is so late to do both of these, but it can be done and good for her for looking into it and taking steps forward. She's lucky to have you to live with so she can save up the downpayment, and you can even help her (subtly, of course :smileywink:) by explaining how you budget things as a homeowner.

I agree that the best thing a parent can do for their child is be financially responsible (and teach the child to be as well). Not being a burden to your child as you age is an incredible gift. I am very, VERY thankful that my parents are financially secure.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2007

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2008

I admire you greatly for the deed that you are doing for your mother.


"Patience is the best remedy for every trouble"- Plautus

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008

That is wonderful you are helping your mom. Maybe you can find a tradition of cooking breaskfast together on the weekend to sort of reconnect.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

You sound like a wonderful daughter, Bex.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Mary Ann I'm so sorry you are going through this right now. I agree with you 110%!

For years I was angry at my mother because she couldn't "get it together". My sister and I had a rough childhood. After my dad moved out we moved around a lot and as I mentioned, mother was incapable of handling a lot of things. I was buying groceries out of my babysitting money because there was no food.

As an adult I now realize that she COULDN'T get it together, even if she wanted to. Mental illness is an illness, and I wouldn't begrudge her if it was cancer that was causing the problem.

When I think of Christmas, I think of all the tradtions we have and that is what I remember. I appreciate the times I was sick and she would drop everything to make me chicken soup, run a bath and while I was in it change the sheets on my bed and get me fresh pajamas.

All that to say I will always take care of my mother if she needs me, but it would be so nice if I didn't have to worry about her!

Bex -

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thanks for posting. I totally agree.

If parents can do both - save for retirement and help their kids with college or a down payment, then wonderful. But if not, I agree retirement needs to come first.

I wish I could get my SO to see that!!
No debt is a wonderful thing, and holding on to a certain amount of cash is all good, but I am afraid he is going to be in tight spot in his later years. I can't even talk him into sticking $10 a month away into something. But...we have been doing that short term to pay for a weekend get away. I mentioned the oney the other day and he said "Oh...I totally I forgot about that money." and I said "That is the idea!"

Anyways, thanks for sharing.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-06-2003

Bex, that is a kind gesture that you are doing by helping your mother solidify her future.


"It is said that life has its peaks and valleys.  The challenge is to accept them equally and experience them

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2011

Bex, believe me that I understand what you were/are feeling. My mother was bi-polar and she has struggled with that all her life. As the older of 4 siblings, I witnessed many things. I know what it is growing up with a mother that never has money, and when she does, goes and spends in little things that nobody needs. At 14 I started to feel embarrassment and pity at the same time. I started to work around that age because there was never enough money to feed the five of us, so I basically supported the whole family (at least the food part). My mother always rented. When she finally could afford to buy a land and started building a small house with her second husband, our country suffered a coup d'etat and she lost everything. We had to flee the country.

In the new country that took us, she divorced her second husband when I was 13. So there was no other option but work. My siblings were too small. And her bi-polarism went nuts. She never, ever had money...

I think that was part of my "financial education". Now she's 67 and has nothing. No car, no house, nothing. She can put all her belonging in a suitcase. Which is very bohemian, but not save for her. All my siblings and I support her. I live in yet another country now (Canada), probably because I wanted to be as far as possible from a past that hurts. But I'm very close to them. I completely understand her and how she was probably suffering in all those years. So I don't judge. As you say, mental illness is an illness...and if you mix that to being a refugee and a single mother of four...I would also go crazy!

But you are right. Now I'm trying to save for my children education, but that is in another level. The first one is to pay off my debt and build a cushion. Why? Because I don't do anything having $20,000 for my children's education if I owe $90,000!

I made the math, and by the time my oldest son needs to go to college, we will still be in debt (two years from now). I will have about $4500 to $6000 saved for him...not much, I know...but he may be able to get a student loan or even work a bit and save to start his education later on.

I had nothing from my parents: I never expected it, and at 17 I became completely independent of them. I worked hard and could study when I was in my 30's. However, when I came to Canada, my studies were considered less than a bachelor...I went to school again (working during the day, with two children to raise and going to school at night and some weekends) and after two years, I earned a diploma that allowed me to work in a better place. I still need to complete a bachelor if I want to keep this level, as my profession has started to be regulated and requires a it never ends!

But life is like that: so we take care of each other when we understand how hard life can be for our loved ones

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003

Thank you all for the support. I should qualify that I would never abandon my mother. I know I will take care of her. I guess part of me (selfishly) feels that I've been doing it since I was 13 (which to some degree I have) and I wish I didn't have too worry about her finances IN ADDITION to her health (which is a whole other can of worms).

I dont' have kids so I don't know what its like to want to give them everything, but as a kid, having a happy parent who isn't stressed is woth the world!

This also made me realize this board is full of a lot of fantastic parents (and some pretty dang good kids :) )

Happy weekend everyone!

Bex -