Adult-ish Child, First Job and Apartment

bethpenJuly 1, 2014

Our situation has sort of resolved itself, but I'm curious how you all have dealt with this.

Our DD, 22, graduated in May with a degree in Psychology and Justice Studies, minors in Forensics and Women's studies. All four years she was a peer rape crisis counselor on campus. She recently applied for and got a job working as a Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis advocate about two hours from home in a kind of sketchy area. As you can guess, the salary isn't big.

We have been looking at apartments in the area. She really wants to live on her own, without roommates. The apartments in her price range were in some really bad areas. We could afford to help her out with the rent and/or utilities to get her into a better area.

One friend said that if the job can't put her into a decent place to live, she shouldn't take it.

Another said that she should live in the scary place and learn to protect herself.

Someone else said "tough luck" get a roommate.

We ended up looking in a higher price range, finding a great place with an owner who lives above who is super nice. She dropped the rent $150 so DD could afford it. (we may still have to help a little with utilities). I'm so relieved..I can do without a few things to know that she at least has a safe place to land after what will probably be a long tough day.

What do you all think? Am I over protecting? Too helicopter? I am so relieved tonight that this little part is over. Now we have to get her moved up there,find some furniture, and help her get ready to start July 14th.


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First, congratulations. Your daughter just graduated and has a job. We have done exactly what you did. When my youngest graduated and got got a job in her college town, we helped with the rent for the exact same reason.

In a perfect world, rents in safe areas would be affordable for kids just starting out. Not the case.

Totally do not agree with the live in a scary place. But, I think having a roommate could be an option, and my daughter has done that as well.

Over protective for a 22 year old? No! Let's talk if you are still doing this when she's 30.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 10:55PM
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I don't agree with any of your friends. I agree with you.

You are not being overprotective but rather a parent who is caring about the well-being of a child as they enter the already scary world of adulthood. I'm glad things worked out. Obviously the owner of the apartment saw a responsible young women who they wanted as a tenant and so lowered the rent. That, I think, is a complement to her upbringing.

I'm not a big believer in the "sink or swim" method of parenting.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:12PM
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I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer. I think it depends on the financial abilities of the parents and the attitude/character of the child.

If my recently graduated daughter was historically responsible, hard-working, thrifty, good at living within her budget and keeping a job then I would help her get started.

I think sink or swim is a great method for some people and totally unnecessary for others.

You must be very proud of your daughter for doing such a wonderful thing with her life.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:28PM
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Your DD may find she wants a roommate after a while. My eldest had practically the same major and works as a Victims Assistance Coordinator for the District Attorney. A very high stress job that doesn't pay so well. But she wouldn't trade it for the world-it's doing just what she loves and believes strongly in.

She's married, and older than your DD, but she did tell me that she's really glad to have someone at home so she can have time to decompress.

You're not being overprotective-even with my kids being in their early 30's/late 20's, I STILL worry about them. But I also know that I raised them well, and they're smart-but I also used to help them out on occasion. They don't ask for help (except to borrow my truck) and no longer need me to help out with the occasional expense, but it made me feel better to do so for them.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:38PM
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I don't think there's anything wrong with helping responsible young adults get on their feet. Actually helping our children, regardless of how responsible they are is part of being a parent. In any case, you have to be careful to not over do it to the point where they expect or rely on it. A little wind under their wings is fine, as long as you let them learn to fly on their own.
With that said, congratulations to your daughter on her graduation and new job! I wish her the best.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 12:19AM
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Congratulations on raising a daughter who does what she does (and sacrifices higher paying jobs to work in one she believes in). There is nothing wrong with a little help especially where it gives you peace of mind. We have helped our DD and now our SIL over the years. They both have good jobs and don't expect the help (and could get by without it), but they are always greatful and reciprocate in many ways.

Certainly there are times when parental help is too much, especially if it undermines the child's motivation to become a responsibly adult. But that's not the case here. Good luck to your daughter as she takes the next steps!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:03AM
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You are always going to be available to give advice, and to educate. Your daughter learned that the sticker price, even on an apartment, is negotiable! And relationships, like with her landlady, are important.

Congratulations to you both!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:51AM
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I'm sure we would have done the same. When my DD graduated and opted to remain in NYC she needed a little financial help from us too. She did have room mates - 5 of them in fact, but even Brooklyn is expensive.

Congrats to your DD and just think what an exciting move this is for all of you.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:07AM
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I think subsidizing her to allow a safer living arrangement is smart.

I wonder if you should put a time limit on it? So for instance, if she knows that after a year (or whenever) the aid stops, will that help her focus on curtailing spending (clothes, concerts, coffee to go) or consider a roommate or learn creative ways to increase her income. If you have other kids and expenses in the pipeline, she should think of the help as temporary and not a part of her income. It sounds like her career choice is never going to be a money maker, the earlier she learns to live within her limited means the less stress on her and you.

I'm not a parent so take my suggestions with that in mind.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:14AM
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First of all let me just say that at age of only 22 and she has her degree and a job that's absolutely INCREDIBLE for this day and age! Most kids her age and still sitting at home playing video games and getting mom to wash their clothes and cook for them! At least that's what I see these days! The job market pretty much sucks for anyone even if they have a great degree and work experience. Just be grateful that you can afford to help but make sure she knows that being frugal is also important. Just don't keep coming to the rescue with the check book if that makes sense.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:20AM
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Whew! I feel so much better!

We are very proud of her. She's a great kid. It's funny, there are days we can't believe she manages to cross the street without being run over, but when she talks about her work she sounds so together!

Heading up Saturday, we have some painting to do, and I think I'm going to bring the landlady an orchid or something to say thanks.

She's still going to need some clothes, and a few Ikea items to get started. I had considered buying her some jewelry to mark her graduation. Looks like a platform bed and small couch might do instead.

I just wish it wasn't such a busy time. Prime time on Cape Cod, poor DH and DS are working their hineys off in a couple of different restaurants each.

Thank you all! Hhireno, one thing I did put a limit on was the cell phone. We'lll pay for this one through the end of the contract. Probably the car insurance too, but next round is on her!


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:03AM
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You are absolutely doing the right thing! No one would want their child living in a sketchy area.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:32AM
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I agree, you did the right thing. I would have been in a real pickle at her age if my parents had not helped me. Although I don't think it would have hurt her to have a roommate, a few extra bucks from Mom and Dad help a lot. That, of course, is providing that the 'rents can afford to do so. Leaving your daughter to live alone in a scary neighborhood is never acceptable if there is any way around it. I feel bad for people who are so financially constrained that they have no other choice.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:43AM
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I think you did exactly the right thing. Good instincts Mom!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:08AM
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I know crime happens everywhere, but if you can afford to help her move to a safer neighborhood, it's worth it. You'd never forgive yourself if the unthinkable occurred.

When I was a new graduate, I had a few financial boosts from my parents. They raised me to appreciate what I had, and so, I was grateful for their help. It was just enough to get me going, and prevented me from sinking into credit card debt at an early age.

Your daughter is a college graduate and secured her first job post-graduation. She's not a high school dropout looking for a handout. You're doing the right thing.

I also think it's a lovely gesture to bring a gift of appreciation for her landlady. (Although, as others have noted, a single, female college graduate is quite a coup to secure as a renter!)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:44AM
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Absolutely, you are doing the right thing. Why invite more trouble than necessary? Just because you are in a 'safe' area, doesn't mean you still shouldn't keep your guard up either. Anything you can do, and have done, to ensure her safety and security is an act well done to get her off to a good start. Help her understand the rest is up to her. You probably have already done this but I'll say it anyway...encourage her to take some classes in self-defense if she doesn't already know how to protect herself (the police department is a good resource for women's self-defense; also the local Y). Buy her a whistle to keep on her key ring - one of those really loud obnoxious ones for protection. Tell her to make sure she locks her car doors and carry her car keys in her hand to/from the car; keys can be used as a weapon.

It was a wonderful thing that her landlady dropped the rent.You and your DD must have really impressed her! A gift to her would be much appreciated I think. Congrats to your DD on her first job and best of luck!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 12:12PM
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"Another said that she should live in the scary place and learn to protect herself.

Someone else said "tough luck" get a roommate."

I agree with your friends. You are paying out to alleviate your concerns.

Would I do the same? I don't know for certain, but I doubt it. I've always lived big city urban and think it's a great way to grow up.

This post was edited by jmc01 on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 19:19

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:17PM
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Do you have children jmco1?
If so, are they young ladies?
Granted, having grown up in an urban area, I can, to some extent, understand your view, but then again, I wouldn't want for my children, girl or boy, to have happen to them some of the things I, or my siblings, personally experienced when we first moved to a big city. My folks left that neighborhood once they realized, though it didn't seem so at the time they rented the home, that it wasn't a good place to bring up a family. Luckily they were renting while searching for a home to buy.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:33PM
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I grew up in inner city Buffalo, and it is very different today due to more violence. I don't want to even drive through the area where my parents home was it's that scary now, and it takes a lot to scare me. You need to be sure she is safe. You absolutely are doing the right thing.

WTG for the landlord for working with you on the rent and WTG for your daughter in finding a job.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:15PM
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Jmc, good for you. My friend believes as you do. I just know that I wouldn't be able to live with myself if something happened to her living in a bad neighborhood when we could easily afford to help her out of there. Especially since she is doing work that helps people.

Landlord is adorable. Sent me a really nice email (I sent the application because my scanner works better). She's excited to have a young person there. Her family has been in the house for four generations. Her BIL is a police officer. DD will be working with law enforcement and helping victims in court, so that is a nice connection for her.

I did get her some mace. I have a license to carry, and she has an FID card and can legally carry it, so I was happy to pick it up for her. Better than nothing! We'll also be addressing the locks on the door...just because it is on the first floor. Saturday we go and give the landlord the first, last and security. I may start painting too. Hopefully Tropical Storm Arthur will take it easy on us.

Thanks everyone. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around not being responsible for her anymore. Funny how I feel like my parents never gave it a second thought!


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:53PM
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"Thanks everyone. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around not being responsible for her anymore. Funny how I feel like my parents never gave it a second thought!"

You said exactly what I said,Beth. YOU are having a hard time....

Just gotta, what's a good place to bring up a family?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:37PM
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jmc01, I'll answer your question if you answer my questions. :^)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Of course you should help her, she's your most valuable asset and you're setting a great example of showing her how much you value her hard work. My daughter did the same for her daughter recently. The rents in our area are outrageous so, in order that she and her husband could sleep nights, they're happy to subsidize her until she can handle it on her own.
We were fortunate enough to give each of our children a healthy down payment on each of their houses so they all had houses very young. They're generous, successful people now, helping them only made it less stressful to succeed. Your friends opinions don't matter, you're doing the right thing for you and your child.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:01AM
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One note: perception and reality can differ. I lived in several neighborhoods with bad reputations. One neighborhood deserved its bad reputation. The neighborhood I moved to after that was not a bad neighborhood. It was a WORKING CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD. Many of my friends got into really bad credit card debt after college because they insisted on maintaining the high standards of living they had known growing up--which they could not pay for on a starting salary. Those friends would not come visit me in the working class neighborhood.

OTOH, I knew people who moved into high-end apartment buildings with 24-hour doormen after college--for a reason. They worked jobs with long, late, hours, and needed the extra security that comes with 24-hour doormen. The jobs also paid enough money for my friends to live in those buildings.

Your daughter sounds like she has a head on her shoulders, and I am sure she'll be fine.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:53AM
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I would have done the same thing that you did. My daughter's well-being is more important and, God forbid, if something ever happened to her, I would not want to spend the rest of my life thinking "If only . . . . ".

As a matter of fact, your situation struck close to home for me, as DD is starting her junior year studying to become a clinical psychologist. We're heading up to Denver this month to check out a possible grad school. After reading your post, I'll now also be checking out safe housing areas there!
Good luck to your DD and her new career!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:47PM
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robo (z6a)

I've lived in some skeetttttchy urban neighbourhoods (but Canada sketchy, so not as bad) and if my parents had known how sketchy, and had the money which they did not, they would have contributed to my rent to get me out of there. I'm just glad my mom wasn't there one moving day when the squatters in the abandoned boarding house next door were having a heroin picnic...she would have locked the doors of the U-haul and driven me right back to her basement!

I agree that there's sketchy (like that) and then there's working class. Another place I lived was straight up working class on the edge of the red light district. There were a lot of working girls on my corner but they just kept an eye out for us and were fine. Also a lot of clueless johns that apparently can't tell a college kid (hiking boots, jeans, backpack) from a working girl (stilettos, fishnets, fur coats).

I had roommates for years (in said sketchy places) but life certainly is more pleasant without them...especially if you don't have friends you know to move in with.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 2:19PM
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When my niece first moved to Chicago,she looked up the crime rates in the various neighborhoods. The one she chose had a high rate of domestic violence. She felt that although sad, it wouldn't effect her. She never had an issue there.

We once dropped a friend of our oldest DD off at her apartment. I was shocked at where she was living! Luckily nothing happened to her there and after graduation she was able to move on.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:07PM
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Our DD's first job after she graduated in 2009 was roughly equivalent to a paid internship. She was determined to live alone and found an apartment she could afford by budgeting carefully. We paid an extra $45 a month for her to live on a higher (safer) floor, and paid her car insurance and cell phone bill that first year. She didn't ask, we offered. She got the job of her dreams a year later in another city, and we paid for her move and the security deposit on her new apartment, which she repaid when she received her first bonus six months later. The interesting thing about this is that she could have afforded to live in a much nicer place as she has a trust that could be used for that purpose but she's never requested any of it or spent any even when she came of age when it reverted to her. Another child spent his as soon as he was able, and another is slowly withdrawing bits of it and will likely spend about half. And I could have predicted their behaviors when they were young children, they've all behaved true to type.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 7:07PM
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kswl - you just described my 3 kids and they too are behaving almost as they did when young.

The eldest spent his birthday and Christmas money quickly. He is now married and spending too much of his income on rent, food, dogs etc. He does save but not as much as he could.

The second banked most of his and was always willing to lend money to his older brother - with interest. He's great at shopping and willing to wait until what he wants goes on sale.

The third doesn't like to discuss money, is embarrassed to receive it and only spends what's absolutely necessary.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 9:01AM
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This is an interesting thread. I don't have kids so I can't empathize with the dilemma but I always find it so interesting how people these days deal with their adult children when the time comes for them to leave the nest. My basis for comparison is what it was like in my day when we were very independent once we left for college let alone when we got out. We got married at age 21 and made do with what we could afford on our own. My family couldn't afford to subsidize us and though DH's family was relatively well to do there is no way he would have taken assistance from them. We worked hard to make a better life for ourselves because we felt it was entirely up to us to do so - not our parents or anyone else. Thirty-six years later we look back on those times with fond memories of what I now think of as somewhat of a character building experience.

I'm not sure if it's so different now because the people I know are affluent enough to contribute assistance to their adult children or if times in general have changed in terms of parental involvement. I think probably the latter.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 11:16AM
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Gibby, a big part is the economy. It's difficult for the college grads to land their first job. And when they do, it's often not enough to cover the basics.
Hopefully, things will turn around soon.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 12:01PM
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I agree with what you and your daughter worked out.

Having 2 DDs in that age group, and also seeing how their friends have managed, I think that you handled it very well.

I don't really understand the hard line of because you are now an adult you don't deserve the familial safety net while you get on your feet. After all, she just needed a little help. She is budgeting, working, paying her bills, and learning how the world works. Families need to be there for each other.

And she will be there for you if you need some help once in a while as well. And one day she will be able to pay it forward to her own kids. This is a lifetime time frame after all.

Unless there is a history of bad decisions that need to be corrected, it wouldn't make sense to deny help.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 1:20PM
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Your DD is a superstar especially compared to my 22 yo son and many of his friends. Of course you're doing the right thing.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 4:39PM
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Its funny...I left home at 18. My mom was younger than I am now, in a bad marriage and had a way lot on her plate. I feel like she never gave my living situation a second thought. Somehow she thinks DH should install carpet in DD's new apartment becaus it is "gold and ugly". What?

We are all heading up there tomorrow. Paint, primer, furniture, clothes, whatever we can fit. Back here to work Sunday, then up there on Monday with another load. Cape Cod is packed to the brim with tourists, we all work in restaurants, and hurricane Arthur is blowing pretty hard right now. Then the rest of the week I'm training with new software at my medical records job. If I don't take to the drink or run off and join the circus, we will be fine.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 7:53PM
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Ellendi - I'm not sure that's the difference. It was difficult for us too in the late 70s - recession, sky high inflation, etc. DH worked at a low paying internship for three years because there were no jobs in his field. We finally moved out of state to a less depressed area so he could get a job and he scrapped his field of study and took a job in a different field that was hiring.

I sound like an "old" person talking about how we walked five miles to school in a blizzard....

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 11:04PM
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gibby3000: "I sound like an "old" person talking about how we walked five miles to school in a blizzard...." - and uphill both ways, as my dad used to say.

It might have something to do with the way our parents were raised, at least mine. My parents were born in 1929, the beginning of the depression and then were 16 when WW II ended. Times were tough and so many kids had to work to help support the family. They probably expected their own children (us) to do the same. They expected their own children to get out and make their own way.

There is an adage (how true it is I don;t know) that one parents differently than they were parented. My parents gave me 6 months from university grad to get out of the house and basically to never bother them again. When grandkids started to come along they moved out of the city so they couldn't be babysitters. As an adult I do not have a close relationship with my parents.

As an aside - Schooling is more expensive, at least here it is. Tuition and books have gone up by more than 10X since I was in university but minimum wages have definitely not gone up to keep pace and have only gone up 5X as much, grants are not as readily available for financial assistance.

I just can't treat my kids the way I was treated. For me, it isn't a matter of spoiling them or not letting them grow up, it's more a matter of showing them that families are a life long family unit and commitment. It's showing them that our lives are forever intertwined, not in a stifling overbearing way, but in a supportive way. I was not raised this way. That is to say that the way I was raised wasn't wrong but it isn't the way that I will raise my children.

Slightly OT - I've already told my 2 sons that when their dad and I die that they are, along with future wives and kids (if that happens) each others families. When I mentioned that to them, it was at a time when they weren't getting along very well, they looked at each other quite surprised. Since then, I have seen a change in them in that they accept each others differences but at the same time have each others back and have begun to like each other.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 1:12AM
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Blfenton, that is very sad that your parents moved away to be unavailable. My mother made it quite clear that she did not intend to be a babysitting service--- something I would never have dreamed of asking---but she occasionally asked to watch our eldest, and would have never refused in an emergency. I've heard a few stories like yours among my friends, and it's curious that the parents mostly complain about not being taken care of by their kids in their old age.

I look at it thusly: when you have a child you OWE support and care until s/he reaches legal age. Anything you give beyond that is the function of a loving family unit that helps and strengthens its members for the good of all. If one doesn't give anything beyond what is legally required -- out of spite or selfishness---I don't believe the child owes that aging parent anything at all. I'm not speaking solely of money, as many families don't have it to give. Rather, I am talking about emotional support and time pitch in and help someone move house, for example, or to pick up a sick child from school when the parent is stuck at work. I know plenty of families with limited resources who are very close and help each other just get through life, and those are the people whose families will care for the elders when they need it.

Parenting is a lifelong gig IF it's done right.

This post was edited by kswl on Sun, Jul 6, 14 at 12:43

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 11:37AM
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kwsl --

My thoughts exactly, I just couldn't have expressed them as well. Your comment that parenting is a lifelong gig reminds me of a story my Mom told me once. Mother's best friend was a good deal older than she and the friend's elderly mother lived with her. One day the three were talking and Mom asked, "when do you stop worrying about your children?" Friend's 90 year old mother glanced at her 65 year old daughter and promptly answered, "I'll let you know when it happens!" Yep, it's a lifetime gig! The only thing that changes is that at some point your kids start worrying about you too!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 3:03PM
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Kswl, your story struck a chord with me too!

My cousin was complaining about her 93 year old mother. She is losing it a little and obsessively worries that her house has bugs. Cousin was being a little harsh. My mom said to her, "you should remember that you will be treated the same way you are treating your mother". Leading by example doesn't stop when our kids are small.

I always remember that, so I'm nice to the old Bat...ha! Speaking of her, we moved a lot of stuff in on Saturday and painted her room Shaker Beige. Today we hit Ikea. I assembled the bed and she organized. Almost 4 hours to get the bed together.

Has anyone assembled the Ektorp love seat and chaise? DH is going up Thursday. We're thinking we can get in in the apartment (very narrow doorways) if we open the box in the yard and take pieces in...

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:17AM
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