DEAR ABBY: I'm a 40-year-old single mom who shares a close relationship with my 12-year-old son, "Troy." I earn a decent living, but I can't afford extravagances like yearly vacations.
My mother and sister are considerably better off financially than I am. They constantly suggest great ideas for vacations -- theme parks, cruises or skydiving -- in front of Troy. I always feel terrible when I must explain to him that we just can't afford it.
I provide for my son and he doesn't want for much, but when Mom and Sis bring these things up, I feel like such a failure. How can I handle this without feeling like the bad guy? -- MOM ON A TIGHT BUDGET
DEAR MOM: Your mother and sister may not fully realize your financial situation, so here's how to handle it: Have a private chat with them and TELL them that what they are suggesting is not within your budget. Then ask them to please stop doing it in front of Troy because it is hurtful to him and embarrassing to you.