April 14, 2024

Dear Manang,
How do I motivate my father to do something in the house? He is able-bodied and I have a weak heart. I have been able to support him and my bedridden mother for almost five years now. All I ask is that he watches over my mother and make sure she is fed through her nasal tube and her diaper changed. The little house that I rent for them is a hoarder’s hole. It is dusty and the floor has hardly been swept or mopped after three years. Is something wrong with my father’s mental health? He recently asked for me to get someone to take care of my mother. My siblings don’t care about my mother’s care and as it is, I spend more than P15,000 for his allowance and food, rent and city services and my mother’s milk. Now, my mother needs hospitalization because of an infected wound which he was hiding underneath socks when I bring supplies on Sundays. What I thought as her gaining weight was actually swelling in the face. What do I do with him?
Conrad of Dontogan, Baguio City

Dear Conrad,
I envy your father because he doesn’t need to think about anything to live. As it sounds, he isn’t even caring for your mother. I can only imagine that he is only aware of his needs and no one else’s. It sounds like your father has no ambition at all. Five years to be idle must be a hopeless thing. You seem to be earning just for your parents. To be able to rent a house, buy food and medicine for them isn’t a joke. Now, there is the hospital bill that you must contend with. I don’t know what to say here. Maybe you should sit down and do some accounting with him? Ask him what he dreams of? Maybe you need to talk to him and tell him your limits too. I know it is difficult for you to just drop your boxing gloves and give up on them because you will ride on guilt. I am of the belief that if something must be done there is only you to resolve it. If your father is a slob, you need to spend more than an hour with them to pick up and clean after him. Then you must make sure that your mother is changed and fed. You must also speak to her. Engage your father in petty conversations to make him feel like a person. It is attitude. You can’t change his but you can change yours.
Just do it,
Manang

Dear Manang,
I run out of money too but my family thinks that I am a money machine. My shoes are three years old. My clothes fit in a plastic box. My underwears are numbered. I live in a room. I am too frugal that my friends joke about my molding money. I can’t tell them there’s nothing left to get moldy. We earn the same salary and bonuses but I can’t spare a little for a bucket or two of beer in a month. That would mean my younger brother’s supplies. I feel that my energy will be sapped soon. I want a life too. Can I just do that?
Monching of Asin Road, Baguio City

Dear Monching,
Life sucks when we count the pleasures we could have had but didn’t because we are looking at what it will deprive our family of. This is the strength in Asian culture and family ties. We forego our needs to provide for the family. We know a better life comes when we take care of each other. I say, give yourself some slack once in a while. Enjoy a great meal. Have some drinks with friends just to enjoy some. That’s not a sin. Let loose just to recharge. Play some sports. It’s healthy and cheap entertainment. It is a life too.
Cheer up,
Manang

P.S. To the kind woman who is willing to help a child with cancer, we are unable to give more information due to anonymity. — Manang