Shayne on You: Stop trying to run mom's life

Dear Maggie,

My mother is getting older, and while she’s still in fairly good health, I know it’s only a matter of time. She’s recently widowed, but refuses to sell her house and move into an apartment, where life would be easier for her. I worry that she’ll fall or get hurt and no one will even know. Her house is paid for, and worth a lot. Selling it would bring her enough money to get a beautiful place in a retirement community?some of them are like resorts. I just don’t know why anyone would be so stubborn. Keeping the house means she has to worry about property taxes every year, and keeping the lawn mowed, the driveway plowed, and the whole place clean and maintained. It’s too much for her and she’s wasting a lot of money paying others to do it. She’s getting by all right on her own retirement funds and the money my father left her. But that money could be going for other things for her?she could travel, visit friends, see the country. But all she wants to do is sit in that house, and putter in her flower bed where she could easily fall and break a hip. How can I make her see reason?


Daughter Knows Best

Dear Daughter,

Here’s an idea! Why don’t you sell your house and move to the retirement community, since it’s so resort-like?

Your mother’s life is her own. Stop trying to run it for her. She’s worked hard, she has her own income, she owns the house outright, and it sounds as if she’s got everything running quite smoothly. It’s her house, her money, and her hip. Her decision. Not yours. At her age, leaving her home could be fatal. It’s what she loves. Why be alive, if you’re not where you want to be, doing what you want to do? What would be the point of living out your days miserable, just to make your overly worried, adult child feel better? That’s what you’re asking her to do. Give up everything she loves to make you feel better. Not so nice when you think about it that way, is it?

Let her be.

And if you’re lucky, when you grow up, your kids will respect you enough to do the same.


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