Dear Annie: My mother is approaching 80, and after raising three of us, she is in declining health. My brother and sister live near Mom, but I couldn’t handle big-city life, so after I married, we moved to my wife’s hometown.
I don’t drive, so visiting my family always means relying on my wife, and she is perpetually late. And the drive there involves much shouting, as she blames me for our “being tardy.” She also controls the checking account.
I inherited a fair amount of money from my uncle, and my wife and I turned it into a successful business, but we work day and night. My wife decided not to have kids in order to dedicate all of our time to making money. That leaves my brother and sister to take care of all of our mother’s needs. My sister-in-law recently called and blasted me for doing so little. I knew she was right, as my brother had just accompanied the ambulance to the hospital (again) in the middle of the night.
My mother recently told me that she has rewritten her will to give the bulk of her sizable estate to my sister and brother. She also said that whatever I do inherit shouldn’t go to my wife or her family.
I guess what I’m really saying is that money isn’t everything. While I enjoy the benefits of our income, I am jealous of my friends and family who have children. I’m sorry, Mom. If I could only do it all over again, I would. – A in P
Dear A.: It’s good that you recognize your siblings’ contributions, but please don’t throw up your hands and say there’s nothing you can do. You can do plenty. Why does your wife handle all the money in your household? Are you irresponsible? If not, this is controlling and could be abusive. You also allowed her to control the decision not to have children. If you don’t like these arrangements, why do you permit them to continue? Stop being a passive bystander in your own life. Get counseling and figure out what you want and how to get there.