Our Footprints Leave Our Mark On Life
Is being too nice a bad thing? Only you can answer that question but for many people on the outside looking in the picture is crystal clear. Most often it’s quite apparent when you can see others who might be taking advantage of someone’s good nature although it may not be intentional it’s a dependency that happens because it’s allowed.
Today my wife shares a bit about her mother growing up and how she was the go-to mom for all of her friends and for her and her siblings. I also talk about my best friend who is a one in a million guy, unique at best but certainly worth having around as a great mate and how his life is surrounded by giving up his time for his loved one’s.
When I grew up my mother and father were and still are very caring people especially my mother who enjoyed hanging around with us and chilling out which no one seemed too worried about. I’m pretty sure my friends would wonder what was up if they came over and my mother wasn’t around to ask them if they wanted something to drink or eat.
My father a hard worker would always give something to someone every time they helped him out with something because to him that was the proper reciprocation along with a thank-you. My mother on the other hand she is all that my father is and more because she would do just about anything for her kids, their friends and her own friends if they needed her.
She was what our friends would call the “coolest mom” in town. Everyone knew if they needed something they could count on my mother to help them out. Looking back I don’t know how she did and it seemed like a hard role to fill.
My mom would always lend a helping hand even to our friends when they needed something like a ride to school, to work or she would even drive us to the club at night and pick us up so we didn’t have to pay for a cab or potentially risk drinking and driving which would never do, but who thinks they ever will in the first place.
If you ever needed money you could ask her for a few bucks and she wouldn’t hesitate to give it to you and most times not ask for it back if we or our friends didn’t remember to pay her back. The thing about my mother is that she would never ask for money from any of us kids or our friends for everything that she did especially for her time and the gas she used to drive us all over town.
My parents were far from rich and there were times when they had to live pay to pay so the extra money would have really helped but my mother was one of those people who had a hard time saying no to anyone. I’m sure in her own way she felt she was doing what everyone else does for their kids but she was forgetting about one person, herself.
My mother was always tired and eventually her long beautiful hair got cut and she started to age and life started creeping up in front of her. My mother always put people first and herself second and although it seems lovely and genuine we should always take care of ourselves so we can be strong for others.
I often wonder how she ever had the time to work, take care of us kids, our father, clean the house, tend to the yard work and help all the people she did. I can clearly see how strong of a woman she was and still is because my mother is still the same way today although she is now retired along with my father.
My parents have been happily married for um…. many, many years and it’s because they worked together and complimented each other, most of all they laughed together, had fun together, cried together and learned to talk about anything together rather than hide from each other, at least that’s what she tells me. That to me is the definition of love in a relationship.
I’m not sure if she is going to give me the relationship 101 talk but I know that when you are kind to others it is a reflection on the type of person you are and were raised to be. Both my parents are like this even though we are all far from perfect, but who is.
In many ways, I’m like this and I also fear that I might upset others if I don’t help them or do my best for them and that’s because I saw how my mother and father were and that’s how they raised me. I was raised to see the good in everyone and recognize that money does not define people, it’s what’s inside the heart that counts.
Almost twenty years later now and I can safely say that many of us might have unintentionally taken advantage of my mother’s generosity even though she would have never said a word to any of us because she was too nice. I wonder how many hours and minutes we took away from her already busy life that she won’t get back because she was too busy carting us from point A to point B.
The funny thing is we didn’t live in a big city and you could easily walk from one end of town to the other in about an hour and the bus system is like any other, running full speed daily. So, why are so many kids so dependent on adults and why are adults giving in to the kids when they ask? Is being too nice the real answer or is it because they don’t want people to think badly of them?
My mother is a lovely woman who no longer drives (she has her license though) has all the time in the world since she has retired early and us kids are no longer living at home she has all her time back and she can now enjoy the pleasures in life.
My parents go for bike rides every day and sit by the water to enjoy a beverage or a snack that they brought along with them and they talk, they enjoy each other’s company and the world around continue to grow as a couple. I often wonder why we have to wait until we are retired to have this luxury in life and why it’s so hard for many people to say no, I’m not available or no I can’t afford to lend you money.
Many a time we talk about how financial education should be taught not only at home but in the school system but i also believe that we should teach our children how to say no and why it’s OK if you can’t please everyone because in reality it can run you into the ground. Some parents will go as far as to go into debt by racking up credit card debt just to please their kids and family. We see it happen all the time.
Too tired to care
An ex of mine his mother was the credit card queen and everyone knew it.
She had a great job in the financial field for many years although she was a workaholic trying to please everyone so she knew what she was doing with numbers. We would often go out to eat as a family and the only person that paid, was her. She would pull out the credit card and pay for the entire bill often times at over $200 for the dinner. Time and again she was too tired to cook so his parents would say, let’s all go out to eat.
The thing is we were not little kids we were in our 20’s and working full-time but no one stepped up to pay or even leave a tip. I could only imagine now how much it must have cost them in relation to just buying groceries and someone, anyone cooking at home if she didn’t feel up to it. This was how dependent everyone became of her. It was wrong.
I was and still am a frugal girl and even I feel bad that I didn’t step up to leave a tip and looking back I feel just awful about it. I’m like my mother in many ways and often I hurt when those I love are not happy or if I at least don’t do all I can to try and make them smile so they have a better day. My ex’s family and extended family all did the same to her and that credit card just kept on swiping and her generosity became the norm.
She pays. I will admit it didn’t teach her kids a darn thing as our relationship ended because of money. He was a spender and I was a saver and it was difficult for him to see that you have to still pay the credit card bill when it comes in. His mother taught him that he could swipe when he needed and that didn’t lead him down the right path. It’s hard for people to say no just like for my mother.
It’s me Mr.CBB again……
Not only are you losing your own precious time you are spending money that you might not have for others who are able to do things on their own or pay for on their own yet are too lazy to get up and get going. What happens is when we rely on something it’s too hard to give it up.
With the right guidance it can be done and soon enough those that were once so dependent feel powerful in their own way because you gave them the strength to be independent. It’s not wrong to give but it’s also not wrong to say no in order to let someone learn how to do it on their own.
The above situation reminds of me of my best friend a single father who I will say is the “go-to father” who has a young daughter of his own (the picky eater). He does not deny that he spoiled her yet regrets it but I don’t think he knows how to change that without his daughter getting upset with him as she is still so young. I don’t know how he does it most days. He also has step daughters, one a teen and one in her twenties who have boyfriends who hang out at the house when they want, wash their clothes there when needed etc.
His home is like an open door for drop-ins as is his cell phone that rings at all hours of the day and night or he gets texts while he is trying to get sleep he so desperately needs. He works odd hours of the morning which means he gets up very early while most people are still sleeping and enjoying the peace and warmth in between the sheets.
When he gets home from work it’s pretty much his night-time and for everyone else it’s the afternoon but his kids fail to see that. They are old enough to take the bus to work but they don’t they call him on short notice and he jumps.
He’s a nice guy, he’s better than that though because he’s my best friend and I know he would do anything for anyone like he does for his kids and has a heart of gold. The problem is that he is tired all the time, probably spends a fortune on gas driving the kids and boyfriends back and forth to work. His time is worth its weight in gold but he always puts himself last.
He is in love with a beautiful woman but I sometimes wonder how he will ever find time for her since he’s always tired and his kids take up his spare time, although they are both head over heels for each other. His daughter loves her to bits and tells her often which really does put a perspective on his life and she motivates him to make the changes he wants.
He feels he is aging faster than most and in reality with lack of sleep that can happen because when we are physically drained all the time our body doesn’t have the time to rejuvenate which we get through proper sleep habits or at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night.
I’m sure if he read this he would laugh because he doesn’t remember the last time he had that much sleep but I’m sure he would agree that he wants his world to change so that he can be the man he’s always wanted to be for himself, his daughter and his girlfriend. His youngest daughter is very active as he had her later in life and he struggles at times to keep up with her but loves her like no other. She’s his angel.
He often says he will die from a heart attack and although it chills me to hear that it’s clear he needs to make changes in his life starting with his career which he despises and his home life. His stress is apparent on his face, in his eyes, his actions and his body is telling him to slow down. He tells me that everyone’s situation is different and I agree but I also think that he needs to step up and take control of his life before it takes its toll on his health.
We often say what we feel and potentially forecast for the future but we can change the direction of our life. Like my wife’s mother he struggles to say no to anyone, lives pay to pay or ahead a pay when he can (I’m teaching him how to budget or at least that’s my goal he just doesn’t know it yet), has little debt, two mortgages and never asks for anything in return. Building the confidence to tell someone exactly how you feel and to stick to your guns and not worry if they are upset because you can’t be at their beck and call should be of great importance.
He is not only going to teach the kids responsibility to catch the bus so they make it to work on time he will get back his own valuable time that he do desperately needs. He will also save money and wear and tear on his vehicle because he’s not spending most days running around town for them.
Most of all he will teach them that he can’t hold their hand through every step in life and that he has to let them go to become and grow as adults. There comes a time when kids are old enough to tell them that they need to learn what it is like to be an adult because we are doing them no favours by doing it all for them. The hardest part is saying no, I can’t, I’m not able to but its life and we are not super hero’s we are human.
If they don’t understand today, they will understand when they get older like my wife where you can clearly read above how she can look back and wonder how her mother did what she did. Her mother today still feels worn out and does not look her age because she aged far too fast. The stress of life got to her but now she’s taking the time to live her life the way she wants to.
They say we will do anything for our kids and it’s true but we also have to remember that doing everything doesn’t mean we have to forgo teaching them the responsibilities of life, being an adult and how it takes time to make money and it doesn’t grow on trees. It also doesn’t mean that we have to put our own happiness last.
Although he says he’s just a nice guy and that’s why he always does what they want he needs to start thinking about himself as well as his young daughter who desperately needs to change her controlling ways over him when she doesn’t get what she wants. There is a cost to being too nice and often it is to our own well-being in mind, body and spirit and often times our bank account.
Is it possible to be too nice?
What would you say to my best friend about his situation and how he could go about handling it?
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