Lilypads in garden

It’s Mom’s Life

Tracey Columns

Dear Tracey,

My adult children are upset and it’s all about something I don’t think is any of their business.

My husband died many years ago, which left me in charge of an estate that included quite a few rental properties, as well as our own home and acreage. I live off of the rental income, as well as other investments. My home is paid for, I have no debt.

Now, I’m downsizing. I’m selling my place and moving into a smaller home, one that is much closer to town. I’ve consulted both my financial planner and my attorney and they agree with my plan. Makes sense, don’t you think?

But all four of my kids are hysterical that I’m selling “their” home, even though none of them have lived here in over twenty years. (They’re spread out all over the country.) I realize they all grew up here and I am sorry they’re upset. But why can’t any of them see that what I’m doing makes the most sense for me, a single, 78 year old woman? I’m in good health now but I’m smart enough to know that it won’t last forever. Besides, I spend a fortune on keeping this place up – it’s time for me to move on.

I sometimes worry that the real reason my children are against this is because they’re afraid I’m going through their inheritance. (Isn’t that a terrible thing for a mother to say?) A couple of them even said that when I sell my place, I’ll just squander the money. I promise you, I’m not some old dingbat who doesn’t know what she’s doing. Yes, I hope I have one more big trip in me but I’d have to be living pretty high on the hog to leave any of them penniless. Besides, shouldn’t they be more concerned about their mother’s happiness?

How do I get them to let me live my life? I don’t need their advice and frankly, I sure don’t need their approval.

It’s My Life

Dear Reader,

I have to agree with how you signed your email. It is your life. You’ve thought this through, consulted with professionals who know your situation well, and made a perfectly logical decision that best suit your needs. Downsizing sounds like a positive next step. I applaud your ability to be so proactive.

It’s quite natural for adult children to be upset about the sale of their family home, even if they moved on long ago. Officially severing an emotional attachment to childhood experiences can make even the most mature adults act up.

But usually not to the extent you have described! Which leaves me concerned about all of you. Have money issues always plagued your family? Do you spend differently than their father did? Is there some history here that is also influencing their attitudes? I’d recommend you explore these questions to help you better understand your children’s reactions. Hopefully, any insight you have will help you cope with this situation, as well allow you to have more honest and productive conversations with your children.

I’d also recommend that you invite your children to talk things over with your financial planner and attorney. You don’t even have to be part of the conversations. These two professionals can explain your plan to your children. They can field their questions and reassure them about the wisdom of your actions.

After your children have had these talks, I’d make this entire topic ‘off limits.’ There are just times when it is best to move on and this may be one of them.

I hope your children can eventually accept the decisions you have made and I wish you the very best of luck in your new living situation.

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