My mom asked me to complete her tax return.
This happened years ago when she didn’t know that knowledgeable tax representatives were available at a local library, a place where she faithfully goes now.
Mom presented me with her documents and the previous year’s return as a guide. I began sorting everything, and as I calculated each line, I realized that a document was missing.
A quick call to mom gave me the info I needed.
Another form was missing, and I called her to get more information.
Then, something else wasn’t in the documents. I called mom, and there was no answer.
I figured she was on her cellphone or talking in person with my sister.
An hour went by before mom answered.
“Hi, mom. Where were you?”
“I was here. I just didn’t want to pick up the phone.”
“Because you keep asking me for more information.”
“I’m helping you, mom,” I said with a little laugh. “I just want to make sure everything is done right.”
There is a huge, emotional difference between getting help from a stranger and getting that same help from a relative. Expectations shift.
Mom would have picked up the phone for the tax representatives who now prepare her return.
Similar expectations are true about:
- Mae and Pepi’s groomer. My four-legged children let other people tend to their appearance much more than they’d allow me to trim their hair.
- Teaching a friend or relative to drive a car. My sister didn’t take me as seriously as she would have treated a paid driving instructor.
There are plenty of examples I can share, but you understand and have probably been on either side of these scenarios.
Sometimes it’s wise to spend money and allow a person with trained expertise to help you complete a goal than to save money and damage a relationship.
My mom and I stayed on good terms through the tax return completion. I understood her angst. She became nervous and stressed due to my calls even though frequent communication was necessary to assist her.
I’m glad she learned from friends about the tax professionals at the library. Seniors have a great network and tell their peers where to go for help.
Shortcuts work in certain situations, but not all. Permit yourself to think first and recognize when friends and relatives are able to provide support versus when it’s time to get expert assistance. Your blood pressure will thank you.