Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Middle-Aged and Underemployed in the Midwest

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I am 47 years old, and my mother is 80. I have three grown children and a 7-year-old daughter whose father is not in her life, nor does he pay child support, even though he earns a decent income. I recently have had some personal setbacks. My hours were cut at work, and I had to move out of our apartment because I could not afford the rent.

I called my mother and asked her for financial help. She said no because it would mean losing "her family." I was shocked. I thought I was her family, but apparently not. I am the youngest of four siblings. My father left when I was in my teens, and I quit school in order to get a job. I gave Mom all of my paychecks so she wouldn't lose the house. I was the only one left at home to keep Mom company, drive her everywhere, be her confidante and help her out. I know my mother does not owe me a living, but all I'm asking for is help until I get back on my feet.

My perfectly capable mother gave my older sister control of her finances and says any assistance has to go through "Ellen." I refuse to ask Ellen whether I can borrow money from my own mother. My siblings just had a surprise birthday for Mom and didn't tell me. When I asked Ellen why I wasn't invited, she said I wasn't acting like a proper daughter. I never get invited to anything -- weddings, birthday parties, holidays, nothing.

I love my mom, but it feels as if she does not care about me. I am trying to relocate and forget all of them. Still, when my mother needs a sympathetic ear, she calls me multiple times a day. Should I simply cut all ties and not speak to her anymore? -- Middle-Aged and Underemployed in the Midwest

Dear Middle-Aged: You are obviously hurt by your family's treatment, and we cannot explain why they are so unkind. Since you cannot count on them for help, your focus should be on getting back on your feet and finding a better job. Start by pursuing child support payments. Contact your state's Attorney General's Office for information, and also look into the Family Service Association (

Dear Annie: I have a good friend in her 50s who recently started seeing "Frank." She seems very happy with him. I found out that Frank posted on his Facebook page something that implies the two of them had sex in a van in a parking lot late at night. Frank still lives with his parents, so I assume this posting could be true. My friend is the type who is very concerned about her reputation. Should I tell her what I saw? -- Shocked Friend


Dear Friend: We assume if you can see Frank's Facebook page, your friend can, as well, and probably has. (It is unlikely he would block her access but not yours.) What she does with her boyfriend is her own business, and if she objects to the posting, she will tell him. We think you should stay out of it.

Dear Annie: This is in response to a letter you posted from Jenny Scala, a director for the professional floral business. I appreciate your giving equal time to different points of view, but I found it rather self-serving that someone who profits from having flowers at a funeral should stand in judgment of the wishes of a deceased loved one who might have preferred donations to charity.

Flowers at a funeral are nice, but one or two arrangements are more than adequate. Asking guests to donate is so much more worthwhile than flowers that will wither and die. I wholeheartedly support donating those same flowers to hospitals after the service. -- Incredulous


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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