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Why Won't My Mom Get a Job?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

Please tell me why my 44-year-old mother won't work? My mother has never worked a good day in her life. My grandfather was a great provider who retired from the railroad (Amtrak). My grandmother was treated like a queen.

Only now, my mother wants to be treated like a queen on my dime!

I was helping my mother when I first joined the Navy five years ago. When I worked as a waiter when I was 15 years old, I gave her my tips and my checks. When I worked with summer youth programs, my mother would spend my money as she pleased.

Now I've been giving her a monthly allotment of $550 to help her and my younger brothers. What does she do with the money? She gets her hair, nails and feet done, and she loves to drink Riesling! I end up giving her more money because my brothers still need clothes, food and things for school.

When I ask her about her alimony and child support, she gets mad, hangs up the phone and refuses to speak to me. And guess what, Ms. Vicki?  My mother is on my cell phone plan so I'm paying the phone bill!

I could be going overseas in November, and I'm trying to have a good relationship with my mother. I'm really not that close to my Dad. My girlfriend is getting mad at me for sending this money to my mother, especially since she has a boyfriend who could help her.

I don't think it's right for me to have to support my mother, but I don't know how to stop. Ms. Vicki, please tell me what to do, quick!

Sincerely,
#Broke-In-Norfolk

Dear Broke,

Your letter makes my inappropriate boundaries emerge. What I want to do is ask for your mother's cell phone number so I can call and speak to her personally. I want to tell her that she's wrong like a woman wearing two left shoes.

Listen, if your mother were ill, I would applaud you for helping her and your siblings. It would be honorable for you to help. However, your mother is an unemployed Diva!

You are right. She wants to look good on your dime. Your mother is not sick. She can get a job! She won't, because she has never worked and it's ingrained in her character that someone should support her -- her father, her husband and now you.

Here's the deal: I'm a momma's girl. I would do anything for my mother. For most of my teenage years and adult life, my mother was not in good health. In your case, your mother is taking clear advantage of you!

You are well within your right to stop the allotment ASAP. Go to your "admin" section or whoever handles your finance and stop the allotment. If your mother doesn't want to work and support herself and your brothers, she will have to live off her alimony and child support. But she won't be able to use your money for her play money.

I think it will be difficult for you to handle your mother's attitude and behavior after she discovers that you stopped her allotment. For this reason, I think it will be important for you to try and form stronger relationships with other family members (e.g., your father, grandparents, etc.) and friends.

Hopefully, they will give your mother some insight and let her know that she is definitely being unfair to her son. I'm on your side about this issue. I've received other letters from people in your situation. Let me know if I can help you further.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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