Richer Than Mami? Ay, the Guilt!

“I have seen daughters who are really devastated because while they make money— enough to buy things and take trips to Europe and Asia—they are not super wealthy,” says Dr. Vazquez. “The parents will say, ‘You should buy me a better house or an apartment,’ and the woman feels very guilty and stressed. These are issues that need to be faced.”

The question of how much is enough may be a subjective one, but one thing is clear: these women are all giving back to the families that struggled so hard to help get them where they are today. Skidmore’s sister, Cyndi Avallone, 43, a director at a large financial firm, has had her share of salary raises and lucrative bonuses. From buying appliances and furniture to paying for cable and hospital bills, these sisters help their parents every chance they get, they say.

“My first year working, with the first bonus I received, I went and got my parents an entire bedroom set. Every year it’s something different. It could be as small as a blender or as big as a living room set. We pay off their bills. We always give back because they gave us everything.”

Skidmore adds, “I don’t see it as an obligation. If anything, I see it as a privilege.”

Like Skidmore and Avallone, Rios, too, consistently helps her mother. In addition to giving her cash as needed, Rios purchased the apartment her mother lives in today and has helped finance her car. And although she still doesn’t think she does enough, one look at her mother’s passport tells a different story. Every year, she takes her mom on an all-expenses paid trip abroad. Rios has footed the entire bill for vacations to Curaçao, the Amalfi Coast, Rome and Florence. It’s the least she can do, she says, for the woman who cleaned strangers’ houses to give her girls the chances she never had herself.

*Name has been changed