"We're knuckling down everyone"

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    This has nothing really to do with difficult child or easy child - but basically just being a parent of adult children who live at home. Okay, maybe a little bit about difficult child or easy child and their abuse of our nice temperament! Yeah right!

    My girls are going to LI to see their dad for two days (a belated Christmas) and while they are gone, I am creating a spreadsheet - I am almost done actually - which will detail our monthly expenses. For the house, food, utility bills, college loans, personal credit cards, fuel, insurances, car payments, etc. It will be a very comprehensive list.

    The reason?

    Well, for starters I am already tired of easy child saying stuff about finding her own place - if she really wants one that badly, by all means, GO! I told her that too. However, I think she needs to know that paying me a measly $140 a month is not going to be a deal she can find anywhere else. Not only does that include utilities and most food, but it also includes live-in daycare for her little puppy. The issue with her immediately is not even any of that. It's her car insurance. My H has paid for her car insurance while she was in college - fine. Now that she's out and working full time and making decent money, I think she should pay it herself. H argued with me over this since September...until his business slowed way down. Now he wants ME to tell her. So instead, I called a family meeting. HE and I can tell her together. I am tired of always having to be the one who delivers the bad news. We even changed her policy to a different company saving over $600 for a 6-month period! Anyway, her payment is only $128/month. I think she can swing it.

    And then there is difficult child and her situation. I hadn't posted about it earlier because quite frankly, I am numb to it - dangerously so I think; it's as if I don't even care anymore. difficult child lost her job...she claimed they fired her for going to the bathroom one too many times, but later it came out that she "kinda sorta" quit and thet the manager agreed with her. Now I learned that she's failing her community college phlebotomy course. IF she passes the final next week, she can take the state PNA exam in May and do her internship as scheduled. But if she doesn't pass the final next week, she is basically back to square one. So, between failing school and quitting her job, I finally have H in my corner in regards to the freakin insurance. And I know it's only because his business is slow - otherwise he'd still be willing to cover the cost of her insurance. Now he is at least as annoyed as I am and ready to cut her off completely.

    When does this take effect? Their insurance is paid up until February 3rd.

    Okay, back to the reasons behind sharing our financial situation with them. I've been studying my siblings families. I have a brother who has always shared his and his wife's financial situation with his 4 kids and they have all always worked, paid most of their own way and had to compromise on their higher education (community college v state or private). They know how much their parents make and how much it costs to run the house. I grew up with that sort of, but it was horrible because my mother would just rant and yell and scream and fight with my dad and I always swore I wouldn't do that with my kids. Anyway, then there is my sister who has always given her kids everything and anything, paid cash for all three of their educations, bought them cars, paid their insurance, ect. Their son, now 26 FINALLY just got his own car ins. Those kids have no concept of the value of the dollar. So, I fall somewhere in the middle. I've shared some information but I didn't want my kids thinking we were going to the poor house (when some times I wasn't so sure myself) or, the opposite, that we were loaded. I thought I struck a pretty good balance for the most part.

    But now I find that with the economy the way it is, and the rising costs to run a household, it's time the kids realized just how much juggling goes on during times like these. Thankfully, we are not in a terrible spot, but we have to be very careful and I just want them to appreciate that and fall in line.

    easy child is going to Spain at the end of this month and she's going on a ski trip in March. She buys herself clothes she doesn't need, clothing for her puppy, eats lunch and many dinners out on the go with her boyfriend, etc. She's a spendthrift and when she wants something, it has to be right now. Admittedly, I have a hard time saying no to her (and even difficult child at times), so I don't nag about what she does with her money - not my place really. But it really bites me that she complains about having to kick in $125 towards her insurance as if she's broke but yet she still has money to burn at Chilis?? Ah, no. I don't begrudge her the trips, in fact, I'm glad she's going and doing stuff. But she also recently stated that she wanted to go back to school for her bachelors locally, which will mean that our finances will be under scrutiny again and we have to do the stupid FAFSA again, etc. Ugh. I said, "Well, if you're going back to school, you'd better make sure that you save your money to cover your expenses since you will be working less hours. We are not in a position to pick those up for you" and she rolled her eyes.

    So it's time for a family meeting and everyone will have to understand that it's time to buckle down and spend less, save more, and make do.

    And I haven't even tapped into the whole chores thing! Wish me luck!!
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Jo, I think you're right on target with letting your children know the real picture.
    Even if you shielded them from it when they were younger (and I think your reasoning was sound there), they are adults now and need to know the complete picture.

    I think it might be a good opportunity to lay down some new house rules for all as well. It's so easy for our grown children to revert to their teenage selves when they come back home, even if they're perfectly capable of behaving like grownups in other situations. Step-D came to stay with us for a couple of months in 2007, and it was like having a 16-year-old girl in the house, even though she was 30 at the time!!

    If you think of your girls as tenants (albeit with special privileges), then it might be easier to determine what you expect of them, and what you want them to do.

    Sorry...I'm babbling, but your post touched a nerve with me.

    Good luck, and hope your girls fall into line without dishing out too much grief for you. I guess if they don't like your rules, you can respond with "here's your hat, what's your hurry?"

    Hope it goes well.
  3. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    OHHHHH, BOY! Hurrah for you, strong woman! Can I live vicariously? My two are living at home, paying $100.00/mo. each (sometimes...). That includes everything (toilet paper, detergent, shampoo, etc.) yet they're always crying poverty. difficult child 2 is moving out tomorrow to stay with a girlfriend at her g'parents' house. He will have to do chores for them. I asked why he doesn't do chores HERE "that's different! You guys are my parents". I guess that makes us subhuman? I've got to laugh, he calls this going out on his own, yet he will be dependant on girlfriend for rides to work and school. Some independance! He will be beholding to her and her family rather than to us.

    These young men always have money for movies and cigs. I will miss him but tomorrow 1/2 of the testosterone chaos will be gone from this house.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Perfectly reasonable, and very wise of you to do. You GO, JO! You GO! It's time for them to grow up and be the big girls they claim to be. You'd be doing them a disservice if you weren't doing this!
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    All I would add is to make certain that you and husband are on the same page on everything before you do this. Sit down and have the whole discussion with each other so that neither of you will feel blindsided should one of the kids questions "Well what if I..." type thing. Then, agree that if something comes up that you really weren't expecting, that you two will discuss it and get back to them because it really wasn't something you had considered into the equation.
  6. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Aw you go Jo! Stay strong!
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Witz, thanks for mentioning that. I will speak with H some more today. I think we're on the same page...but I should make sure.

  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Definately make sure H is on the same page and willing to stay strong with you on this.

    No reason the kids shouldn't know where you stand and be expected to pull their own wieght. They're grown, they can handle it.

    Good luck.

  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    And "IF" he is NOT on the same page?

    Had you thought about plan B?

    as in B GONE YOU VILE MAN?

    (shrugs) I dunno - lol
  10. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I only have one of my adult children left at home. MY 27year old son who has all kinds of learning disabilities and some orthopedic problems lives with me. He works full time pays his own car maintinence and insurance, buys all his own clothes, does his own laundry, and pays room and board of $400/month. He is also saving for a down payment on his own place. All this is financed by his job of driving a snack food route truck. He works long hard hours and I am proud of him. Then there is easy child 1 who knows what is luxury and what is necessity and budgets her family expenses accordingly.

    Least you think I/m bragging...At the other extreme is my difficult child 1 who never fully supported herself even after moving out. (I put her out for a variety of reasons mostly abuse and disrespect of me.) She got married and never worked full time again. She spends her husband's income freely indulging herself at whim. And anchoring the opposite extreme is difficult child 2 who is living in a group home and on public assistance.

    POINT? They were all raised in the same household with the same value system. I think that as a parent of an adult we have to decide what we are willing to accept in the way of support and responsibility to our adult children. Once we figure that out we must present it to them clearly. If they don't agree whith what we ask of them, then we need to make them go out on thier own where they have to pay for it all. Life isn't all fun and games and adults children living at home need to learn that. -RM
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    :tongue: Funny, Star!

    We spoke this morning on the phone and we're on the same page as far as the 'outcome'...however, he is just so full of anger over difficult child quitting her job and failing school and his main comment was "I don't like the idea of browbeating difficult child with easy child sitting there because it upsets easy child and she then thinks we're coming down hard on her".

    To which I responded, "Hon, this is not about punishment. This is about "It's about high time you each started supporting yourself. We are not made of money and if you're able to do so, you should (easy child). And if you're not willing to do so, then you will suffer the consequences (difficult child)." I added some stuff in there about if he is incapable of speaking without lecturing or shaming or embarrassing or yelling, then he should just let me do all the talking.

    His next comment was that he thinks it's silly for us to have a 'family meeting'. He said I should just quick and simple tell them (during dinner tonight) that he is no longer paying the insurance and so they better come up with a plan. And he said I should do it and he doesn't see why he has to be present. I actually banged the phone on my nice cherry wooden desk (thank goodness the boss is out today) until he shut up already. I said No, we need to be a team. It needs to be presented together so they each know right from the get go that A) we mean business, and B) they can't play us off one another and C) we agree.

    We agree on the end result...it's getting there that may prove to be tricky. Oh and he said that since easy child will be paying all her own bills she shouldn't have to pay us the measly $140 rent per month! Her income is roughly $1680/month. Her car payment is $250, her insurance is $128 and her student loan is roughly $100 plus gas which is roughly $100. So, her mandatory expenses will come to $578/month, leaving roughly $1000 after taxes. So why can't she pay me the rent? That is the only thing we disagree on. Oh and he wants her to pay her own cell, which is part of his plan, so I am not sure how she will do that without breaking the contract and incurring a $175 fee.

    difficult child? Well, we already know that no matter what how or when we say anything at all to her, she will throw a tantrum and leave. She will go whine to a friend and then slink home later and treat us like the evil parental spawn that we are. I am not concerned with how she reacts at all since it's all been done before. I cannot be affected by her. It's H that affects me and I told him so. I told him that he is going to have to control himself and not get into a screaming match or it will all go to he// in a handbasket and the meeting will have gone way off focus.

    RM, thank you for sharing about your kids. I was completely on my own, living in an apt, paying a car loan and rent and insurance and groceries, clothing and still had some leftover for partying by the time I was 19. My parents moved 2400 miles away and I was alone. I survived it. So can mine, difficult child or not. I'm going to get one of those signs that says, "No Whining" and post it at the front door.

  12. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Jo, given your easy child's income breakdown, I honestly think you should raise her rent a bit. Perhaps to the equivalent of what she would pay if she were in an apartment with roommates. I'm not sure what rents are like in your neck of the woods, but a 2-bedroom apartment near me goes for about $1100 per month. So I don't think charging her a monthly rent of $300 or $400 would be amiss.

    It would do a few things:
    - Allow her to prepare for the time when she does move out. She will already have a realistic budget in place and won't have to make too many changes.
    - It would let her know that you mean business. Sometimes when we're too easy on our kids they take it as license to walk all over us (I've been learning this one the hard way)
    - It might actually cover some of the expenses of having her live at home. I'm sure that $140 doesn't cover the groceries, electric bill, water bill and all the other things that go up when you add another person into the household.

    As for difficult child...not much you can do at the moment, but you already know that.

    As for H...don't know what to say there either. I agree with Star that you need to have a plan B for the conversation in case he becomes incapable of toe-ing the party line and goes "off-message". Some sort of contingency plan, whether it's taking a break to regroup, postponing the conversation until later, or something. Just not letting him get into a screaming match that derails the conversation, sets up both girls to feel victimized and band together against the "evil parents", or whatever the fallout is likely to be.

    Sending strength (and perhaps some duct tape for H's runaway mouth, should you need it. I have plenty left over from difficult child:tongue:)

  13. I think what you are saying is perfectly reasonable. With what she makes and what her expenses are she can perfectly afford it, also I agree that it will get her used to paying her own expenses. I also think she should still pay her "rent"

    As far as the cell phone. Her cell phone even if it is on your H's plan has it's own amount on the bill, I would charge her this amount.
  14. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    H didn't want to do it. He hemmed and hawed and sat in the living room. I finally told him not to bother joining us - he could eavesdrop from there. But in the end he did come into the kitchen where we were. I couldn't look at his face while I was speaking because it was disturbing. Haha. But...

    It went very well! No histrionics, no yelling, no accusations, no shaming, nothing unpleasant. easy child was completely calm and accepting. difficult child was as well. She sort of cringed when I mentioned her getting a job and only having a couple of more weeks to do so, but she was also fine with everything I said. I gave each of them a copy of my spreadsheet detailing out monthly expenses and explained that there were probably a few things I forgot to put down. I then explained that not only were they old enough to cover their own personal expenses, we simple are no longer in a financial position to do so. I reminded them of all the ways in which we've helped them, i.e., cars, insurance, clothing, college costs, cells. I told them that as long as they are trying to help themselves, we are willing to help in any way we can...but that 'extras' will need to be paid for by them.

    They even asked about some of our monthly expenses - they seemed surprised at some of the amounts we paid. easy child circled dog food - I think she felt a wee bit targeted! Hahaha.

    It went so well. I need to pinch myself. Thank you for giving me the strength to go through with it. It needed to be done.