A letter to … my adult son, who can’t stand on his own two feet

Oh, my son. You sounded so bitter when you compared what I have in the bank with what you have. I know you are broke. You pay child support, repay debts, pay something towards your keep. You have high travel costs and a long journey each day, and that doesn’t leave much for cups of coffee at work, or nights out with your mates.

What you can’t remember is the struggle when you were little to get round the supermarket with enough money in my purse, or to find dinner money for you, when Dad managed to wangle his way round the Child Support Agency. You didn’t realise how devastated I was when I gave you as much as I did to avoid student loans to find you’d taken them anyway.

You laugh that I buy clothes from charity shops, that I buy food past its sell-by date, that I love my bus pass

I worked long and hard for my pension. I shouldn’t have to worry about money, although now you are living here I find myself spending more than my pension.

You laugh at me for buying clothes from charity shops and food past its sell-by date, and because I love my bus pass. Although I do have some of my lump sum left, how do I replace it if it gets spent now that I am retired? What if I need to mend my roof, or replace the car?

You have forgotten that I shared the money I inherited with you. Remember how often you still came with a bill that needed to be paid or not enough money for your train? At first I just gave it. Then I’d say it was a loan, but it never got paid back because you’d start a fight and I’d say the money didn’t matter.

What matters is that my goodness and generosity was so stupid. Instead of the strong, independent person I’d hoped to bring up, I have this angry young man who takes no responsibility for his plight.


I have always believed that whatever you give, you get back double. Now I have to recognise that by giving to you so often and so readily, I have created a person who is not nice to know, who just expects more, who takes it all for granted and who doesn’t know how to say thank you.

I fear for your next partner, if you find one.

I can’t put you out – you have nowhere to go and nowhere to take your kid when you have him. Besides, I love having my grandson here, and you are my boy. But if I ask you to budget what little you have, you mock me. I am scared to question anything. And you continue to pile up debt.

I remember when you were small, and trusting, and how I loved you so much I’d have run into a burning house to rescue you. But, looking back, I now recognise I have done you no favours. But somehow, I couldn’t say no. Deep down did I blame myself for leaving your dad, for working too many hours, so I always rushed to rescue you too fast, never reprimanding, never blaming, never even letting you feel embarrassed as you asked for something else?

I should have made you stand on your own two feet and left you to sort out your own problems.

So in 2016, I intend to do just that. Maybe.

Mum- The Guardian




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