Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Hovering Dad Chases Off Contractors

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I bought a fixer-upper the beginning of this year. It really has needed a lot of work and as I save up the money, I hire people to do the work I can’t.

My dad has always been pretty handy and helps out where he can and has saved me some money, but there are areas, like electrical and plumbing problems that he can’t tackle. I do appreciate his help, but now that he’s semi-retired, he decided he can serve as my general contractor and manage the pros when they come to do their work. In the past couple months, his interference has chased off some of people I hired, and I have had to start all over again, at my added expense.

How do I get Dad to take a step back, without hurting his feelings, so I can get the work done that needs to get done, especially with the winter coming? I don’t want to start sneaking behind his back, but I am considering it. --- DON’T WANT TO HURT DAD’S FEELINGS

DEAR DON’T WANT TO HURT DAD’S FEELINGS: I’ve heard tales before about what happens when homeowners decide to be their own general contractors. In your case, your dad assigned himself that role, and since he is capable in many areas, he may be slow to recognize his own limits.

To stop letting him know when some of the work is scheduled might prove more hurtful than being gently honest with him. You should explain to him that you truly appreciate all he’s done for you, and that you anticipate there will be plenty more projects for him as your home continues to be renovated ─ but that when it comes to projects beyond his scope of experience and ability, for which you’re laying out your own money, you really need him to bow out and let the professionals do their thing.

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