Of Mothers, Children and Money



I wanted to give my mother some money.

“Oh good!”, she says. “I can have your brother borrow it because he just got his credit card statement and he owed so much… You know your brother, he and his wife, they spend so much and they are at the mall all the time, buying this and that, and you know, they spend so much on their children, all the time…” She went on and on.

I was not sure I liked where the conversation was going and I told her so.

I asked her, trying to control my emotions (it is after all my money), “But mom, tell me… what good will that do? What will that achieve? Will that stop him from using his credit card or make him money smart?  And you, what will you gain? She said, “Well, I can nag him.” My mother’s not-so-secret and ineffective weapon. “But that would only make him deaf, mother, not make him learn life’s lessons.”

Should I shake you till you get your senses back? Or should I just pin a medal on you, you silly, silly woman?

Uhm, who’s the mother here? Okay, she is.

I tried a different strategy. “Mom, a good reason for a dole-out is education, or to prevent eviction or something in the category of an emergency. Credit card debt is hardly an emergency. Why don’t you please just enjoy yourself please?”

But it was all in vain. She has made up her mind.

Parents, more often than not, are, really, well-meaning. But sometimes, their good intentions do more harm than good. That dole-out would only teach my brother that mommy is there if he gets into straits, that it is okay to spend because she is there, always there, and she will pay… No need to stand on his own two feet.

Love is tough and should be tough – sometimes – if lessons are to be learned. Sometimes, the most effective way to get a person to shape up is to set the panic button on high alert.

Sadly, mommies being mommies would, almost always, not let it get to that.

Oh, I do not know. Maybe I just want my mother to be selfish this time and enjoy herself with my money.

Or maybe I am the selfish one because I have given her that money so it is no longer my money and I had no right to it, to what is done with it or to where it goes.

Who am I kidding?  I too am a mother.  And I may do something equally damaging in the future.

Just a reminder, from me to you (and me to me) – to learn to discern when to push when the overpowering feeling is to embrace, to keep the fist tight when the heart is screaming because all it wants is to be abused, to not be afraid to be the one to dole out the lessons, realizing that greater love is needed for the greater good of the one who will be left behind.  Because your children – they need to be able to stand on their own two feet and they have to learn – sooner rather than later – to go on without you.

Be rich,


Article by Issa. Art by D. Copyright 2009.
Website: www.YouWantToBeRich.com
Email: [email protected]

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  1. A. Sun says:

    This scenario sounds all too familiar. Yes, my mom is guilty of this as well and I’m afraid it’s not just them. And like you, I can only wish that when we’re faced with the same situation with our own kid/s we actually have the resolve to impart to them our life’s lessons.

    Being one who works for a wealth management firm, I absolutely enjoy your blog! More power (and riches) to you.

    Regards to D as well, and hugs to C! 🙂

  2. Issa says:

    @A, Hi A! And welcome! This is such a pleasant surprise. 🙂 Thank you, and yes, may we have the resolve to be stronger when we need to be stronger, and well, the wisdom to discern when we should act with strength. Hi to A and the baby! Kisses 🙂

    @Penny Stocks Thank you for the support. Will check out your site too 🙂

  3. Didi says:

    Hay Issa. I think that MOST parents are like that. I know that I grew up with my parents trying to “save” us more often than not but tough love indeed ingraines the lessons more, especially with money.

  4. Issa says:

    Maybe it is genetic – parents are predisposed to protecting their young and to do this, in their eyes, the kids remain young. When will they learn? But you know what, in times when I need a hug or an understanding, it’s actually just okay. 🙂

  5. Mommy says:

    Dear Daughter,

    The first time I logged in to your website, I did not get to read your entire article about Mom giving money to a son for his credit card account. Now, I’ve read it, and this silly, silly woman wants to say something in her defense.

    No. 1 – Like I’ve already told you, I have not withdrawn the money you’ve given me. It’s still there, so no problem there.

    No. 2 – Yes, I’ve helped your brother and I used my own money to help him out. And, like you said, that is my prerogative. It’s my money and I have every right to give it or lend it to anybody I want to, especially to someone who has also been trying to help me out in a lot of ways. You’re a mother, too, but your daughter is still young so you would not really know yet about these things. Believe me, when you get to my age and you look back, you will realize that, yeah, my mom is right after all! Like your brother will learn his lesson, too. It might take time, but he will know. But in the meantime, I will always be there for him like I always try to be there for ALL of my children and my beloved grandkids.

    No. 3 – I always try to be there for all of you. Hmmm. The money you gave me is from the sale of your property that your late Dad and I helped you to buy. I don’t want to go into this, but for the reason that I am trying to defend myself, it has to be said. And I know you have not forgotten. You might say that that’s different from your brother’s circumstance, but hey, you both needed money, maybe for different reasons, but you still needed help and since we can help at that time, and you’re our children, and WE LOVE YOU, so we helped. Period. No questions asked. Maybe a little hesitancy like when I helped your brother, but in the end, I did it anyway.

    In short, Sweetheart, I maybe silly but this silly woman loves all of you. Who knows how long I will still be here for you all, but while I’m here I want to be able to show that I care. I may nag, I may curse at times, I may be too sensitive, I may worry a lot for no reason at all, I may do some things the wrong way, but the fact remains that I feel blessed and happy because I have you and your brothers and my C, and R and R. Looking back myself, I did some things, or rather, I was not able to do things I should have done (or I did not do enough) for your Dad and my own mom and dad when they were still alive. And I don’t want to make the same mistake ever again. So help me, God.

    Love you,


  6. Issa says:

    Mom, I think we are looking at the same forest but we just do not see the same trees. The post was not meant to be an attack against you. I know you love me – us. What the post depicted is just the reality that sometimes, love is blind and it chooses not to see – even if it will be to the detriment of the one who will receive the “love”. I apologize that I have to use my experience with you to show it – after all, the lessons that bear the strongest imprint in the heart are learned in the home.

    What does one of my brothers say? We will always be 12 years old in your eyes.

    And as you know, the house that I bought with your help was an investment. Paying off a credit card debt for purchases that you yourself said should not be bought hardly qualifies as an investment. But to be fair to my brother, he did not ask for your help. And he is more than able to pay his credit card debts, I think.

    And in case you missed my last line:

    “Just a reminder, from me to you (and me to me) – to learn to discern when to push when the overpowering feeling is to embrace, to keep the fist tight when the heart is screaming because all it wants is to be abused, to not be afraid to be the one to dole out the lessons, realizing that greater love is needed for the greater good of the one who will be left behind. Because your children – they need to be able to stand on their own two feet and they have to learn – sooner rather than later – to go on without you.”

    … please know that I realize that I will go through this (with or without your “You will realize that mom is right after all”), that I will probably make the same mistake, that I will not be able to help it because I am genetically predisposed (as is the rest of womanity – well, the mothers, at least). But hopefully, with the lessons and my personal realizations/journey, I can handle it better. And I am sure you would wish that I can handle it better.

    I love you too, mom. And thanks for reading me.

    And just a confession – I like it sometimes when you look at me as if I were still 12-years old.

  7. Rose says:

    Hi Issa,

    We have the same sentiments, I am an eldest daughter and I give money to my Mom, my Dad and my Bro. My brother is just having his ojt and eventhough i have given him money for a month, he ask again for some more after a week. This would put me into boiling, then here comes my Mom to the rescue. I also want her to enjoy her money but she would rather give it to my brother than buy something for herself…

    I am a mother of a 17 month old little boy, sometimes i give in to his cries and it made me wonder if years from now, I would also give in to his uncontrolled expenditures… I do hope he will grow up to be responsible though …

    Maybe all mothers are like that, we cannot just say no to our children and we do everything for them even to the point of soliciting their bad behavior …. 🙂

    Hi Mom of Issa,

    Your love is so great and it brought me to the brink of tears.. 🙂

  8. Issa says:

    @Rose It is really heartbreaking, sometimes, right? But we must do what we must do (and I guess they must do what they must do). I really think it is “love” no matter the manifestation. I just hope there is no permanent damage. I guess with love, maybe there should not be (and with being honest and discussing everything, there should not be). Thanks for visiting, I appreciate it. 🙂

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