HomeFamilyThe proverbial umbilical cord

The proverbial umbilical cord

I’m not scared to admit my umbilical cord has not been fully cut.

Now don’t be confused. I’m in no way financially dependent upon my parents. I can support myself, but there is definitely comfort in knowing my family will always have my back. I like my parents a lot, and I’m pretty sure they at least kind of like me too. You do like me, mom… right?!

My parents are pretty generous folks and they still like to “spoil” me occasionally. Sometimes I feel a sense of bitterness from my peers when I mention my mom will give me money to put towards my student loan.

Look I understand, you think I’m a spoiled brat who never has to work for anything?

Spare me your jealousy. Is there really something wrong with letting my parents (who are in a way better financial position than myself) help me out from time to time? Should I be prideful and refuse any help or support from them?

If you’re too macho to accept generosity, good for you.

That’s not the way I roll. I’m a momma’s boy for life.

I’ve mentioned in past posts, Mom Ninja occasionally surprises me with a couple of hundred dollar deposits into my checking account. This money is only to be used toward my student loan. Does my mom have to give me the money for the loan?

No. Have I ever asked her “Hey mom can I have some money to pay down my debt?” No. She does it because she is weird loves me, and is in a position where she can help me.

Not only do the parental units hook me up with the occasional b*tch slap to Sallie Mae, but sometimes they just like to give me a random gift. A few years ago I came home to a package from UPS. “Funny,” I thought to myself.

I didn’t order anything, did I? Open it up, and blammo, a brand-spankin’ new iPod touch from the rent.

Or just this last weekend I got a picture text message of a pair of shoes mom ninja wanted to know if she could get for me (she knows I have a shoe fetish).

The random gifts really make my day.

It may sound petty, but getting gifts for absolutely no reason at all, really makes me feel loved. Does that make me materialistic or shallow?

More important than any tangible gift they could give, I most appreciate their support. I know they will always be my cheerleaders. They want to see me achieve my goals. They have spent a great deal of their love, money, and time on my personal development. The least I could do is try and make them proud, right? After all, I don’t want to be the worst investment they’ve ever made.

Yes, the umbilical still remains, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. If I was begging for mom to bail me out of jail, stealing money from their bank account, or mooching off them in any capacity, it would be a different story. Thankfully, my parents raised me better than that.

So bloggers, do you still have an imaginary umbilical cord linking you to your parents?

Do they help you out financially from time to time?  Do you ever feel like some people think you are spoiled or maybe even babied? If you completely cut the cord, at what age did you do so, and why?



  1. My Mum and Dad moved interstate a few years ago. When I was studying Mum would throw some money in my account every couple of weeks. Since working full time she's put AU$220 in my account once a month in lieu of being able to go and raid her fridge every so often. It's always great to get the message from her saying she's made a deposit, and it means I can buy something I wouldn't normally get (an more expensive meal than normal or some sort of toy (e.g. lego, a game)). Mum feels good too because she "doesn't feel like she's abandoning" me, and the money just comes from her monthly housekeeping budget.

    I could live without it, but it's just too awesome 🙂

  2. I enjoyed your comments. As a parent, we do it just because so there shouldn't be any shame in your game. Just enjoy and be thankful that your parents support you and show that you are well loved. I always tell my children, they should be able to come to me when no one else is there and they should always be able to come home if there is no other place to go. And, yes, I will continue to keep the umbilical cord attached just because.

  3. My Mom likes to give me and my sisters gifts of money and other things. She is financialy comfortable. The four of us (Mom, 2 Sisters and myself) went to New York City two weeks ago, mostly on her, including a meal at a five star restaurant. She thanked us for going with her. I don't ask for money and don't rely on her. I would much rather her spend the money creating memories or on herself than to leave me an inheretance. She enjoys giving us money or things so she can see us enjoy them.

  4. My parents help me out sometimes, but I never ask them to. They are in a way better financial situation than I am and it gives them joy. Who am I to stop them? I wrote awhile back (… asking my readers what their parents pay for and I got some really interesting responses. I think it's awesome that Momma Ninja wants to hook you up sometimes. Do you think anything will change after you get married?

  5. No cord whatsoever. My dad has been worthless since he abandoned his pregnant wife and two daughters under the age of four. Never paid a dime of child support. My mom has lived at poverty level most of her adult life. My grandma was the only one who ever had any money and that was because she was frugal with her money. She would gift me with money on occasion, $50 on my birthday and once she wouldn't let me pay back money I'd borrowed just for a couple days to make my mortgage payment. I think it's great that your parents still give you gifts. I plan to continue doing that for my two children.

  6. DN-of course dad ninja and I love you! We are happy to have produced 3 ninja's without a criminal record who are not ashamed to call us mom and dad. We contribute to each one of you in different ways and we are happy to be able to do that. Now as for the contributional changes after marriage……..future Mrs. Ninja is awesome so all future contributions might flow to her directly : )

    • I love that you would even think about giving wonderful gifts to girl ninja. My rents treated my wifey a bit.. umm how to say it… on Christmas I got 25x the presents she got, birthday, same thing. Five years in, my mom finally does ok giving gifts. But my wifey has never really felt welcomed into the family. My in laws- sometimes they give me more just to make sure I know they accept me as a son. A grrrrreat feeling. Gifts are a tangible representation of how each set of parents feels about the new addition to the families. Craziness. Momninja= awesome!

  7. If you were to ask The Wife the Umbilical cord is alive and kicking, but I don't believe that to be the case. I am close with my parents (despite them having NO clue how to comment on a blog so props to Mom Ninja for that) so sometimes its tough on the Wife.

    I know your blog isn't anonymous when it comes to your family, but I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear if Girl Ninja (soon to be Mrs. Ninja) has a problem with the closeness?

  8. Seriously, I don't think that counts as an umbilical cord. Some parents are like Mrs. Accountability's (which is so far beyond pathetic I can't even deal), some cut their kids off at 18, some do it after college, some don't. My parents have told me time and again that if I ever need anything, call them. Don't hesitate. By god, we're your parents, that's what we're here for. I'm 30 and I get that. Every other conversation I have with my father is "you okay financially?" This, in spite of the fact that I make 6 figures and have close to $1000 monthly surplus. That's just how they are. And my mom gives me a grand every year to pay toward my loans. ONLY my loans. This is in part because she co-signed for some of them, and in part because she just wants to. And since I don't consider myself to have an umbilical cord :D, I don't think you do either.

  9. I don't think there is anything wrong with it as long as you do the same when you're in a position to do so.

    I'm reading a book called It's Either Her or Me: A Guide to Helping a Mom and her Daughter-in-Law get along (so humor me) and with the impending marriage, I would caution you to set some boundaries as far as your mom/parents and her/their gift giving is concerned because it can cause tension in more relationships than you can imagine. It's an interesting read and I'd be happy to pass along my copy when I'm finished.

  10. I still live at home. Need I say more? Oh wait, my mom makes my lunch every day.


    I don't want to cut that umbilical cord, and I don't think my parents want to either. I didn't live with them during my worst years because I went away to school, so I think they are happy to have me now. Or I could totally be misinterpreting the situation. Let's hope not.

  11. I’m pretty sure they at least kind of like me too. You do like me mom… right?!

    I am pretty sure mine don't. I am happy I found your blog! Very entertaining! Keep up the good work.

  12. While I was a student my parents would help me out here and there when things got kind of ugly even after marriage (DH and I lived apart due to employment for a while-it was tough to make ends meet back then). They forgave a loan they gave me while I was in school (about $5000) for which I was quite grateful. Now that I'm gainfully employed, it's actually my goal in life to never have to ask them for help again. I know that if I were in trouble, they would be there, but I work hard to put things in place so that I never need to do that. We're really more like friends now, and I make it a policy not to borrow money from friends.

  13. If you're still attached, then so am I – and I'm in my 30s with a hubby and 2 kids! My parents don't send my family cash, but if they're in town visiting, they always take us out to dinner. My mom still likes to take me shopping and they've even helped us pay for plane tix so that we could go visit them without driving for 10 hours. They do this knowing that we have the money to pay for things ourselves, but don't feel it's the most responsible use for that money at the time. I have never asked for any of this (and hubby and I have even managed to get the cc to the waiter first on occasion), but we accept it because we know that these are acts of love and they can afford it. They treat my sister's family the same way, and in their minds, when we got married, our husbands just became extra kids for them to love on. The biggest difference being that the boys don't want to go shopping!
    Families like yours and mine are true blessings and if loving and supporting your kids (I'm thinking more emotionally than financially) means that you've not cut the cord, than I'm happy to still have it.

  14. My parents love to gift us money. Seriously, it is crazy. It started when we got married and they gave us $6,000 over the course of 2 years to go towards extra principal on our mortgage. The 'reason' behind this gift was that in 1975, when they bought their first house, my mom's great grama had gifted them $6,000 for a down payment. Cute, right?
    It has continued over the last 6 years to include family vacations, meals, a washer and dryer, and extra principal payments to our mortgage (which we have paid off $52k in 5 years-yay!). In return we have also paid for meals, a tv, and trips for them. It goes both ways in my opinion.
    We are their (mature, responsible) adult children and they (the rents) are providing/spoiling us as they see fit. In no way do we 'need' their gifts, but they like giving because they rock as parents. I think the best part of this is that is has been an amazing example of what parenting can be. As parents to twins and a baby on the way, we want to set ourselves up to be in the same position (both emotionally and financially) when our children are grown.
    Props to Mom Ninja on having a son and soon to be daughter in law who can do it on their own, but are willing to accept gifts and let her show them love as she sees fit.

  15. My mom used to put random deposits in my bank account, freshmen year of college. I complained enough that she eventually stopped because it was causing tension. I wanted to do things on my own.

    However, I know that my parents are always there when I need them. If I called them up and said I needed money for rent or gas for the car, I know they would give me the financial help I needed in a minute. And that kind of confidence in their help is immeasurable.

    I'm 22, but my mom still does things like make me an Easter basket or give me candy for Valentine's Day. And it really brightens my day. I don't get iPod Touches as a surprise (NICE!), but it means the same. 🙂

  16. Yes! In fact, I just received an Easter package in the mail… filled with lots of chocolate (for me & the roomies), a Sbux gift card & probably $20 or so stuffed into a plastic egg – I haven't opened it all yet, lol. When my parents visit 2x a year, they pay for everything, even though it's THEIR vacation! If we go anywhere as a family, they pay, or if I fly home to visit. They know they don't NEED to do this, but they like it because it's just another way that they are showing me their love 🙂 My Mom also sends me random cards throughout the year with some $$ in them, and most recently she paid for a golf class I took. Oh, and they pay for my cell phone bill (but I pay for the data plan). My parents are amazing! I can't wait to do the same for my children in the far future! 🙂

  17. I tend to look to my parents for advice, whether for general life questions or financial choices. I think sometimes I'm dependent on them and others to help me make a decision.
    But they do send me holiday cards sometimes, with a check for $10 or so. The memo on the checks say: for treats! because they know I tend to just save my money, and want me to treat myself every once in a while for an ice cream cone or something.

    I think the trickiest part is when I come home, or if they come to visit, because the financial roles don't make as much sense. When I'm by myself, I spend my own money. But if we go out to eat, they'll pay for the meal. And sometimes we'll go to Kohls or some other store and my mom will buy me a winter coat or a new purse or something. And I also still get Christmas presents from my parents.

    I think I have a healthy financial relationship with my parents. I think I make them proud!

  18. For the record, I'm not jealous of spoiled brats who never had to work for anything. I just respect them less, at least if they make it obvious they are spoiled brats. That being said — I don't think you fall into that category at all!

    I think it's nice your parents are able to help you. That's all — it is nice and fortunate for you, and it works out well for them.

    My money relationship with my parents is slowly flipping. The last big thing the are (and probably ever will) help me with is this wedding. And I'm totally fine with that. My little sister, on the other hand, is on financial life support, but that is another story…

    But if I needed them, financially or otherwise, of course they'd be there.

  19. I wish things could be a little different, but I'm definitely still financially attached to my mom. Less so now than when we lived in the same state but…

    She'd sneak me some extra funds in school and, when I was a landlord trying to make ends meet, she'd help out from time to time. But around the time she moved to Seattle, I had to declare disability. (I sold the house and paid off my student loans with the proceeds.) And she had to support me for almost two years. I got $300 from the state of Washington each month. So I couldn't cover my own rent, and she and I quickly decided living in the same apartment wasn't healthy. (So we split the difference and got cheap apartments in the same building. Which didn't help the dependence but by then I needed all the help I could get.)

    When I was suicidal, she drained her bank account getting me therapy since I was uninsured.

    When Tim came into the picture, things got a little easier since he was working. But she still loaned us some money to help us consolidate debt after Tim's $8,000 of oral surgery bills. (She later forgave the loan as a wedding present.)

    And she would slip us a $20 or something every so often to go treat ourselves. Okay, she still does that by mail sometimes.

    If things continue to go the way they have been the past month or so, we should be able to get free and clear soon and we can pay her back the couple of thousand we still owe. And hopefully we'll never need her generosity again — although I agree that it's great to know it's there.

    You're not spoiled for letting your parents indulge you once in awhile. It makes them happy, and you're not doing it excessively/taking advantage. So don't let people make you feel weird about it.

  20. My family has always been the giving type. My mom gave me a few lump sumps for cars, student loans, etc, over the years, but now we pay for many of the expenses her $700/month SS check does not cover. It's always been "our money" not her money and my money. Her efforts enabled me to get a good paying job, so it's now my turn to reciprocate.

    Incidentally, I also know families who's kid's believe, "what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine" so it just really depends on one's sense of entitlement to the parent's dough.

  21. Ninja,

    My mom does this weird thing. She gives me money every time she visits me or vice versa. It makes me feel bad, like I'm taking advantage or something of her love, but I have tried refusing. To which she takes serious offense.

    So now I shutup and take it. Mom's rule. That's just how it is. When I make it big, I will do awesome things for my parents 🙂

  22. As my mother told me, I had to accept the gift from her, otherwise, I would be "Blessing Blocking".
    So, accept the gifts from your parents and be thankful to have parents like that.

  23. Honestly, who turns down free money?! My situation is same-same, to include that crazy woman Sallie – received serious money as a graduation present. I don’t ask for it. That’s not so much a cord; a cord is when you spend b/c you know the money is coming. The real umbilical cord is when someone gets help with consumer debt – i.e. stacks of money spent on iPods & bar tabs, and not paying more than the minimum.

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