Tips For Guiltless Grandparenting

Guiltless grandparenting starts with self-acceptance that most grandparents are trying to instill in their grandchildren.

So if you really want them to value themselves, you have to show them how by valuing yourself.

Here are ten grandparenting tips

1.  Break the guilt habit and stop should-ing yourself. Replace thoughts of “this is who I should be” with thoughts of “this is who I am.” Take the grandparenting journey with less stress and more fun. You don’t expect your grandchildren to be perfect. Why should you have to be?

2.  Practice saying ” No” sometimes. Grandkids actually appreciate the extra TV time, special snacks, and new toys when grandparents are not so predictable and dole out a little less often. And grandparents see that they are still loved when they are not a push over. Plus it causes less conflict between parents and grandparents that is a plus.

3. Don’t try to keep the grandkids entertained every minute.  Downtime is an opportunity for imagination so  don’t feel guilty if you take them with you to run errands or just leave them alone for a while to read and relax.

4. Play with the grandkids, don’t just supervise. Grandkids will remember all the laundry you did for them while they sat in front of the TV but they’ll never forget the time you went down the slide with them and neither will you.

5. Expect the best from life. Remember anticipatory anxiety does not help grandparents to be prepared for the big and small problems that come with grandparenting. It can add stress even before anything negative happens. Remember to say, positive prophecies instead of negative ones because the words we speak are self-fulfilling!

6. Stop over scheduling your time. Grandparents tend to forget to budget their time and energy and they can wear themselves out. If an emergency or another essential task arises it’s okay to cross something off your-to-do list before you add the new item.

7.  Don’t wait for permission to take care of yourself. Grandparents don’t have to make themselves so exhausted with al their chores and responsibilities that your children have to beg you to rest. That sets a bad example. Show them that you value yourself  and your time putting your feet up or taking time off to read a book. And if you can’t give yourself permission, then your kids do!

8. Treat your family the way you would treat your friends. Grandparents know who their friends are and they know what they are like. They don’t expect them to change overnight and they don’t take everything they say or do personally. They ask them questions, listen to their answers, and give them the benefit of doubt. Do the same with your family and you’ll be a great role model for your grandkids.

9. Be your own best friend. Be on your own side. Listen to yourself. Pat yourself on the back when you do well. Forgive yourself when you don’t. Grandparents teach this to their kids and grandkids now is the time to apply it to themselves.

10. Put yourself on your list of loved ones. Grandparents need to make themselves number one on their lists, they need to take care of themselves at least as well as they take care of their grandkids and everyone else. Watch your sleep, nutrition, and exercise and make sure you’re having fun too!

Grandparents make mistakes but that doesn’t mean they have to punish themselves, or think that everyone else is grandparenting so much better. They’re usually not! Some moments are memorable, some are forgettable, but remember grandparents are all on this journey together. It’s time for grandparents to let go of the guilt.

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What Married Couples Can learn From Divorced Couples?

Would it surprise you that some of the best lessons about how to strengthen a marriage can come from those who have suffered through divorce?

I want to share with you five things couples have learned the hard way that you can do today to help strengthen the bonds between you and your spouse.

Terri Orbuch is a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute of Social Research, she recently identified some of the top common regrets of divorced couples.

“Divorced individuals who step back and say, ‘ This is what I’ve done wrong and this is what I will change,’ have something powerful to teach others”, She recently told the Wall Street Journal.

1. Boost your spouse’s mood: Encouraging and affirming your spouse in very simple ways can go a very long way. One study found that when a husband reported his wife didn’t express love and affection (not necessarily sex) the couple was as likely to divorce.

2. Talk more about money: Money is a magnifier of problems but it’s also a common source of significant tension. Don’t keep secrets and establish a family budget and stick to it.

3. Get over the past: Couples who can’t forgive past hurts grow bitter and resentful. Again, talk it our. Write a letter. Talk with a friend.

4. Blame the relationship: Studies suggest that 65% of divorces blame the ex-spouse for the demise of their marriage. When discussing relationship problems. Dr. Orbuch suggests saying, “we,”or “I,” for example, you might say. “We are both so tired lately,” not “You are so crabby.”

5. Reveal more about yourself: Dr. Orbuch recommends: Every day, for 10 minutes, the couple should talk alone about something other than work, the family and children, the household, the relationship. No problems. No scheduling. No logistics.

Do you resonate with these findings? What might you add as #6 on this list? leave your comments in the comment box… Thanks

If I Be Like Her Then Who Will Be Me?

Worry gives small problems big shadows. Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength.” Most anxiety stems, not from what we need, but from what we want. Who wants to live with yesterday’s rubble? Who wants to hoard the trash of the past? You don’t! Do you? Or do you?

I’m not talking about the trash in your house, but in your heart, not the junk of paper’s and boxes but remnants of anger and hurt. Do you rat-pack your pain? Amass offense? Record slights?

A tour of your heart might be telling you a pile of rejections: Accumulated insults, no one can blame you,
there are innocent takers, promise breakers, and wound makers. They’re everywhere and you’ve had your share.

All of us know what a morbidly delicious temptation it can be to beat yourself up about almost anything that goes wrong in your relationship or, for that matter, in life in general.

If you have a fight or if you’re to chicken to pick a fight, if you waste money or are a miser, if you’re a neatness fanatic or a slob what ever your habits, predilections, attitudes, or expectations, you find yourself blaming yourself for whatever goes awry in your relationship.

The reality is that no matter what your style, no matter what you do precipitously or fail to do in time or in the right way, you’re doing the best you can. Beating yourself up, blaming yourself, focusing endlessly on your faults the way you might have been, or should have been, done it, or not done it, never improves the situation.

Look at yourself with compassion and start enjoying your curious little idiosyncrasies. Acknowledge that it’s just fine to be you. Let it be all right that you’re different from everybody else. Like the old Yiddish adage says, “If I be like him, then who will be me?”

Being easy on yourself means that you accept yourself as your are, that you forgive yourself for your mistakes and go on, lovingly acknowledging your foibles, your idiosyncratic style. Only by being gentle with yourself can you also be good-natured and forgiving with the person you love.

 Give yourself a break; decide that you’re just fine exactly as you are. My two-year old grandson knows he is perfect just the way he is and every time he greets me he says, Hi, I’m me! I say, you are you! He says, I am me!  Can you say Hi, I am me and mean it like he does?

At First Glance

 Jennifer never dreamed that she could fall in love with any other man but Joe until Jennifer went to New York and walked into The Plaza Hotel and there was a handsome young man standing in the lobby, their eyes met they couldn’t stop staring at each.

Before she knew it they were talking, he invited her to dinner. She said, I’m engaged he said, don’t engaged women eat? She said, “yes.” He said, dinner at eight.

They danced the night away until half past two, then they returned to the Plaza Hotel and sat outside by the pool and talked until sunrise. There was one embarrassing moment when Jennifer’s father came outside in his pajamas looking for her, and said.”Oh, you’re with him the man your going to marry. Okay then and he turned walked away. 

Jennifer blushed and apologized for her fathers out burst and James said, I agree with your dad I have just met the girl I’m going to marry. It seemed as if war-time had speeded everything up. A few months after Jennifer and James celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary James passed away unexpectedly. 

 Jennifer and Joe met in kindergarten and instantly became best friends. Their first official date was their prom. After graduation Joe joined the army and purposed to Jennifer she said, “yes”. Two weeks before the wedding  Jennifer met James.

Even though Joe had hurt feelings he was happy for Jennifer and they remained friends. Jennifer and Joe supported each other through their time of sorrow when they lost their spouses and as a result fell in love with each other again. They had a quite family wedding that included children and grandchildren from their previous marriages.

Joe surprised Jennifer by buying her childhood home and restoring it back to the way it was when they were children and Jennifer found the tree where they had carved their names and declared their friendship and had it moved to the back yard of their home.

Two defining moments changed every thing for Jennifer and Joe the first one was when Jennifer and James eyes met and when James died and Joe came back into Jennifer’s life. When Jennifer and Joe were asked if they had any regrets they immediately said, “No.”

Is Over Commitment Your Middle Name?

Is over commitment your middle name? Do you hate to turn anyone down? Do you say yes before thinking? If overcommitment is making you run behind schedule, here are ten ways to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

  • “I’d love to, but this isn’t a good time for me to make  that kind of commitment.”
  • “My plate’s pretty full at the moment; I’m going to have to say no.”
  • “Not this time.”
  • “I’m going to have to pass.”
  • “I can’t be involved at this time. But I can suggest someone who might be willing to help. Have you considered asking——?”
  • “I wish I could say yes, but my schedule at the moment is filled ot the brim.”
  • “It would be a mistake for me to take on the project now because I don’t have the time available to do the best job.”
  • “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  • “I can not, in good conscience, make another commitment now.”
  • “No”

Boundaries and the word “no” are your friends however there are some people who see a structured system of principles and boundaries too confining. Not enough freedom, Some folks say this is about religion. Some even say it is about marriage. And yet, the truth is that boundaries don’t eclipse freedom; they enable freedom.

Seriously, it’s true. Boundaries and knowing when to say no are the very foundation upon which freedom and zestful, joyous living are built. Seems paradoxical, doesn’t it? 

And yet when people ignore healthy, commonsense boundaries today, they are very often narrowing their options for tomorrow. Learning when to say thanks but no thanks and setting healthy boundaries reduces stress.

Happy Endings Like The Kiss At The End Of A Fairy Tale

We all want happy endings like the kiss at the end of the fairy tale, we’re all waiting for it. 

 Rick and Liz are a couple who have experienced a fairy tale ending. When they first met their eyes were filled with only each other and they hung on every word said totally captivated by the sound each others her voices.

On their first date he was too nervous to eat, but Liz helped  him to loosen up a bit by asking ,”So how was your day?” He kind of looked at her, a bit surprised, and said, “What do you mean?” She said, ‘I mean how was your day?”

To Liz, that was a more caring way to find out about a person’s life rather than just up and asking them what they do for a living. So Rick shared with her about a problem he’d had at work that day. Then he said, “you’re a business owner, what would you have done? She said, “Hmm. I would have handled it completely differently.” And then she gave him her opinion. He started laughing and said, “Uh, why don’t you tell me how you really feel?” She said, “If you want a different answer, ask a different girl.”

Rick said, Oh I apologize if I sounded condescending your answer has given me a lot to think about and maybe in the further you and I can explore other business options that I haven’t considered. Liz smiled and said she would like that. During their first date Liz noticed that Rick took her seriously, and she liked that.

On the way home they talked about current music, books, movies, obscure artists. They shook hands at the end of the night, which was totally typical for Liz. The next weekend Rick and Liz went out on their second date she wore a summer halter dress with funny green butterflies in her hair thinking if she was dressed like a carefree woman it would help to loosen up her type A control-freak personality.

When they got into Ricks bright red Mazda Miata ( which Liz liked even more than she liked Rick) she leaned forward and to tell Rick what route to take to the restaurant. Rick remained quiet while she gave him her instructions, and then he said two words to her that shifted the whole dynamic. Those two words were: “Nice Perfume.” Liz didn’t know exactly what happened in that moment, but it was certainly chemical. There was no other way to explain it. She turned around and looked out the window and thought, Oh my, I love him. 

They went to a romantic bistro down by the sea-shore, and sat in the outdoor garden. Liz looked across the table at him, and she was thinking, How did this happen, could I already be in love with him? All of her senses were firing. She knew that something was going on here and she had recognized something familiar in Rick.

Liz said, “What’s the story with you, what’s the issue? There’s something a little broken in you, she could feel it. She figured it takes one shattered spirit to know another, and in the middle of dinner he opened up to her about his complicated family relationships, old wounds that were magnified by the fact that he worked with his father and uncle in the family business. He told her that he wanted to leave and make his own success, but he felt a tremendous obligation to carry on what his grandfather had started, and he was pretty resentful of it all. Liz listened and then said, why don’t you come work for me? Rick smiled.

They talked until 4:00 a.am. about everything and nothing. At nine the next morning Liz’s door bell rang, she opened it and there were two dozen red roses. After that they started competing for who could out            romance the other, and it was intoxicating and explosive and yet at the end of each date they always shook hands. Rick and Liz were finally ready to embrace love with a grateful, open heart and had chosen the right person to throw their arms around for the rest of their lives.

 Many couples forge into marriage with a mindset of “What’s in it for me?” What am I going to get out of this?” They consciously or unconsciously seek to get instead of give. Rick and Liz learned a more loving and humble approach would be to ask. “What can I bring to this marriage?” and “What can I learn from my spouse?” Have you ever thought about the purpose marriage? 

The number one reason people get married is love,” They want to spend the rest of their life with the person” and the second reason is “To have kids.” Rick and Liz wanted to do both. Rick learned from Liz a better way to operate a business and Liz learned to let go of the need to be controlling they both leaned a better way to love. What’s the purpose of your marriage?

 

Babies Don’t Keep

Dishes Can WaitEvery now and then a song comes along that speaks to our hearts “Babies Don’t Keep” is one of them. I’m not sure who the author is but I do know that Betty Jean Robinson recorded it many years ago.

When I was a young mother I routinely quoted the words to “Babies Don’t Keep” throughout the day especially if I found myself feeling a little cranky because I felt that I should have been able to take care of a baby and my house chores.

A couple of years ago I noticed my son and daughter in law where very busy keeping up with the demands of every day life, house chores and their children. Then I started saying to myself ” Dishes Be Still “and I couldn’t figure out where I had heard those words before so I asked a few of my friends if they knew a poem called “Dishes Be Still” they didn’t, but suggested that I write one.

I am not a poet but the other night I was suffering  T.V. there was Betty Jean Robinson singing a song called “Babies Don’t Keep” and it got my attention. Then my memories of being a new mother all came flooding back to me and it was fun revisiting them. 

As I went down memory lane I remembered my grandmother singing ” Babies Don’t Keep” to me over the phone on the days when my house chores just seemed to be calling me while I was rocking my baby. I would start saying to myself “Oh, Dishes Be Still Babies Don’t Keep” and before I knew it the dishes stopped calling to me and was able to enjoy rocking my baby.

If you are struggling with the demands of motherhood and the house chores the words to “Babies Don’t Keep” might tug at your heart like it did mine.

God gave us these little ones for just a short time. He said, they’re your blessings, but remember they’re mine. Made in his image this mystery unfolds a child is more Precious than Silver and Gold.

So housework be quiet and chores wait in line. I’m holding my Jewel for this is my time. Dishes can wait and dust go to sleep. I’m Rocking my baby and Babies Don’t Keep.

One day you’ll be grown just like daddy and me. And if you’re not loved now oh, how sad it will be. So I’ll tell you of Jesus for he loves you more, So housework be still quiet and chores wait in line. I’m holding my Jewel for this is my time. Dishes can wait and Dust go to sleep. I’m Rocking my baby and Babies Don’t Keep.