I Am a Stay-at-home Mom and My Father Is Asking to Borrow Money

Updated on April 20, 2018
A.S. asks from Ashley, OH
14 answers

Hello ladies,

I really need some advice here. Currently, I am a stay at home mom. Despite not working and depending on my husband financially, my father thinks it's okay to call me and ask to borrow $3,000 (which I know he can't pay back). Apparently, he is having major issues with the plumbing of his house and needs to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Financially, my household is fine since my husband makes good income. I manage our household budget, we make sure to live under our means and stay out of debt. Out of my family, I am the most stable one. Because of this, whenever my father or siblings have a need, they usually come to me for help.

For many years I have helped out my father financially. He is retired and lives on a small fixed income. This time I decided not to give him the money he needs. I am upset because my brother who is in his 40's (doesn't work) lives rent free with my father and has been mooching off of him for many years now. My other siblings (who are all older than me) live near my father and continuously take advantage of him.

In the past, I have given my father plenty of money for food when he runs out of cash. The problem is that whenever I give my dad money for food or buy him groceries, a big portion of that usually goes to feed my siblings too and their kids. Also, I have been paying for my dad's cell phone for years, and his medical expenses, etc. My siblings always take from my dad, but never help out with anything.

After all these years of helping, I am finally done. The problem is that I feel guilty as heck not helping my dad. He already called me twice asking about the money, and I'm ignoring his calls. I feel taken advantage off. Why do I have to take from my husband and kids to pay for the poor decision of my father and siblings? This stresses me out so much. Any advice would truly help.

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answers from Dallas on

You did well taking the first step which is to say "no".

You are not responsible for your father or anyone else's finances.

You ARE responsible for you and your family. Your family comes first.

You already know any loaned monies are gone and will not be repaid,

It sounds like you have been very generous to your father and I know you feel guilty but you don't owe him.

He made his choices and he needs to step up and be responsible on his own.

I applaud you for saying no. Stay the course and don't get guilted into giving away your money. Your children need college funds, you need retirement funds. Your money should care for your family now.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You did the right thing. But you also should accept some responsibility for enabling this situation.

So, while you have every right to keep your hard-earned money for your own family, you might want to look at ways to help your father deal with his situation. That might mean hiring an independent bookkeeper to manage his bills and give him an allowance.Putting an objective and neutral third party between Dad and money might make your father prioritize.

It might also involve a call to Elder Services if you feel your father is being exploited by the other kids (your siblings). If they are manipulating him, that's no good. If they have a hand in his money (especially the brother who lives there), then your father is a senior at risk Perhaps you should consult an attorney who specializes in elder law to find out your options. It might be a far better use of your money to get this situation on the right path. Talk to the lawyer, and depending on that advice, you might then sit down with your father and say the only type of assistance you are willing to provide is a new way of preventing this dire situation from recurring.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Your husband makes a good living because he works hard and so do you. It doesn’t seem fair to me that your family’s hard earned money would go to support a bum brother and an irresponsible father. Unless I had my kids college funds fully funded and we were well on our way to being set for retirement I just don’t think I could take from my family. Your brother needs a job and perhaps your dad needs to move into a rental he can afford and isn’t responsible for repairs. Honestly your family has a lot of nerve to expect your family to pick up their slack. Perhaps trade your guilt for anger. Good luck. I recognize what a tough situation this is.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It's hard to say no, especially to your own parent, but it sounds like you know that's what you need to do.
Don't try to explain or make excuses, just keep it short, dad I'm sorry I don't have the money to loan you.
You can continue to feed him by having him over for dinner, and dropping off groceries from time to time. This will allow you to still care for him without knowing that he will just spend the cash you would have given him on your mooching siblings.
Sorry, I know this is hard, I was in a similar situation many years ago with a family member.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My husband's brother has done this to him. He's called my husband asking for money, but then it turns out it's not for him, it's for people who are talking advantage of him.

My husband said no. His brother didn't talk to him for a while. They weren't our responsibility.

If it were me, I would say "Dad, just have the plumber send us the bill." Do that in future. If he's funny about it, say "That's how (hubby and I) would prefer it going forward."

(Only pay for what you feel comfortable paying - if he's able to pay for your brother, then maybe he can be paying the plumbing bills himself. Don't enable and don't feel badly for stopping.)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Ignoring is not going to help. Call that brother of yours who is living with him and tell HIM to pony up the money for the plumbing. He lives there, for goodness sake. And then tell him to pass the phone off to your dad and tell him that you told your brother to pay for the plumbing. Tell your dad that he needs to get this money from the rest of the family members because you have already done your part to help and they are not helping. Period.

Stop stressing out over it. Let your siblings stress out over it. No more grocery money that the sibs need to be paying. Cell phone and medical is okay.

Stop feeling guilty. He has other children. He won't go to them as long as you pick up their slack.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

You feel guilty because you have always helped them all out. I agree with others that it’s a good thing to say no. Try not to dwell.

I send groceries online to family members occasionally. Then I know what’s purchased. I know that sounds a bit controlling but I’ve had the experience of $ being spent for items I wouldn’t fund (alcohol and tobacco when the child in the family was hungry). It’s tough especially when you know you could help. It’s not up to you to fund your brother or your dad.

I don’t know where your dad is, but I would look up meals for the elderly or meals on wheels. They deliver meals to seniors at no charge. It’s kind of like a TV dinner portion wise. Your dad would be the only one who would qualify. It’s a great program and you would know Monday-Friday he would have a hot meal delivered.

Sorry you’re feeling guilty about your choice. Maybe think about all the times you HAVE helped so generously. Also you can always speak to a counselor about it if that would help you sort it out.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Myers on

You did the right thing. Enough is enough. You feel stressed because you are a good person. If I were you, I would end all contact with everyone of them.

What if a month from now your car breaks down or you have a major issue at home - keep your $3000 for your family. Talk to your husband about your feelings too.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Telling him 'No' was a good thing.
Your husband and your family's income can't carry all these people on your back.
It's a beginning - you just need to keep it up.
When ever anyone comes begging for your money - think of your kids first - and tell them 'No' every time they ask.
The Bank of A. is Closed.

You by yourself are bailing out a sinking ship.
It's a shame - but the other people in your fathers boat need to learn to sink or swim.
You've done more than enough and if anyone dares to say Boo to you - you remind them they need to pay you back for a lot already.
They owe you - not the other way around.
It's hard - but get over feeling guilty because you have nothing to feel guilty about!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I don't know how far you live from your dad but I think it's time to go for a visit. If he is low income he can apply for medical assistance and food stamps, you may need to help him with this. You can also call his county office for the aging or disabled. They can do a wellness check on him to determine if he needs an intervention. The social worker can also explain to him that your brother either needs to move put and start to support himself or get a job and contribute to the household.
***** Repeat after me: Not my circus -- not my monkeys.... *****
This is not your problem. Your dad is an adult he should be able to take care of himself if not he is not competent to take care of himself. He could sell his house and move into a low income senior apartment or nursing home.
If he owns his home he should be able to get a home improvement loan.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

He can ask (no one can stop him) but that doesn't mean you should say yes. You wisely said no. He will probably get even more pushy - and may even become angry - before he gives up, but please stay strong. You might want to read some books or talk to a therapist about setting boundaries with people that you love. It is difficult, but essential in a situation like yours, because your family will continue to take advantage of you until you set and enforce those boundaries.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

I think you should be proud of your contributions to date. If you have the means to fix your father's plumbing so he can live in a safe and clean environment, then I encourage you to do so. Arranging to pay the plumber directly may be wise if you're not sure your father isn't being taken advantage of. Your siblings may not have reached your level of generosity and responsibility, but don't let them rob you of your wish to be kind and generous daughter and show love and respect and understanding for your father. Treat your father as you would have your children treat you when you are elderly and in a time of need.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Is your father ill? Is he mentally/ physically competent to manage a home?
How did he end up not being able to afford his cost of living?
This would concern me, because there will always be expenses and he has to figure out how to manage them individually.
Why doesn’t your father get a part-time job? There are plenty of jobs for retired people who need that extra income.
If your siblings are taking advantage of him...then I would call adult protective services and ask them to check on your father. APS can also refer him to senior assistance programs to help him manage things better.
Sometimes our parents age faster then we realize or need help more then we realize, and an objective third can help point it out and also refer the elderly for help so that it doesn’t all fall on the adult children.

What I find sad, is that neither your father or siblings are acknowledging what this is doing to you. None of them are feeling guilty for taking money from you, your husband and your children. Your father doesn’t even feel guilty for asking (again).

Your sacrifice to help out your family of origin should be acknowledged and valued. But you have to be the first one to do this. You do this by telling those family members NO.

At this point it sounds like your only value to your father and siblings is your money. Can’t imagine that makes you feel good about yourself. Is that what you want from them? Is this the relationship you want to model for your children?

You have hinted at some generational dysfunction in your family, hinting that you have somewhat risen above it. Stay on that path. They will try to pull you down with them, keep trailblazing!
The path to breaking dysfunction can be unfamiliar and uncomfortable at first, but don’t let that scare you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Do not feel bad! You have been more than generous and he's taking advantage!! When he asks, you only need to respond with "I can't at this time". No need to go into further explanation. You may need to put more distance between you and your family.

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