“When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!”

Many couples are putting their children at the center of the family. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, after all, aren’t your grandchildren the apple of your eye too? But when parents put their children ahead of  their own needs, ahead of their marriage, it may seem child friendly, but it can lead to complications.

When children are the absolute center of the family, they can grow up without boundaries. This can lead to demanding, entitled kids. Who become demanding, entitled adults. You might have a friend or two who are demanding and they can be difficult to get along with. Can’t they? 

 No one wants their children or grandchildren to turn out to be demanding. Do they? Some acting out might be all right for a child, but future bosses, spouses and friends will probably not be so tolerant. Will they? Furthermore, being the center of the family is too much pressure for most childrenChildren cannot fulfill all their parents‘ emotional needs and it’s not fair to expect them to. Children in this position often feel they need to parent their parents and that’s not their job. Actually, it’s your job to be there for your children when they are parents.

Remind them to make time for themselves, their spouses and friends if you want to be helpful offer to babysit so they can have a date night or weekend getaway, and you’ll get to spend extra time with your grandchildren.  Bob and Jane being the wise parents and grandparents that they are, offered to babysit their grandchildren while Jim and  Lynn went out on the town.  As Lynn was leaving, she told her children to listen to Nana and Pops and then gave them a kiss on the cheek and thanked her parents.

Well, Bob winked at Lynn while reminding her of this old saying,”When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Bob’s point was that couples need to spend time together just the two of  them and keep the romance going.  Now Jim plans romantic surprise date nights at least twice a month and all Lynn has to do is show up . Jim and Lynn are feeling reconnected and Nana and Pops are “Happy Grands.” Jim agrees with Bob “When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!

The Wubbolus World OF Grandmothers

Margaret Mead wrote: “The closet friends I have made all through my life have been people who grew up close to a loved and loving grandmother or grandfather.”

In part, she attributed the strong bond between grandchildren and grandparents to the fact that they are united against a “common enemy” the parents.

 It begins to dawn on new grandmothers before that wonderful bundle of joy is brought home from the hospital that this grandmother business can be much more complicated that they had ever imagined.

 When a baby is born, so is a grandmother and that is the beginning of a new love story fresh from heaven. There is nothing for a grandmother to do except love her grandchildren. As days and months follow grandmothers soon learn they can love their grandchildren fiercely, with a passion that can make them hunger for them when they are out of range.

Grandmothers know that their own children love but can they trust them to baby sit? That is an interesting question, isn’t it? You might assume automatically that all grandparents are natural baby sitters but that is not the case in many families.

 Sometimes grandmothers feel like they are auditioning for the role of the” baby sitter grandmother.” Even though your children love you that doesn’t mean that they can trust you with their new bundle of joy. Does that shock you? After all, you are full of motherly wisdom and all that expertise you gained through your years of motherhood. You know how to hold a new-born properly, you are capable of changing their diaper and you know all the ends and outs of bottle feeding. Wait, wasn’t that stomach-down or is it stomach-up just what Dr. Spock advise? 

A wise grandmother will get rid of her’ ” know it all attitude” and ask her little of bundle from heaven parents how they want their child or children cared for and follow their requests because it’s what is best for your grandchild and if your children are happy with you and trusting you then you will have all the Grandmother time you need and that makes for a happy family. 

However with that being said, I suggest that you learn how to pronounce all the tongue twister words in “The Cat In The Hat” books before your grandchild is born. I am recommending this base on an experience that I had while reading to my oldest grandson when he was three or four. He blurted out to me these words to me ” you can’t read very good”, so I don’t want you to read to me any more.

Needless to say I felt crushed but after thinking about it a few seconds I had to agree with him. At the time I didn’t realize I was trying to read made up words by the author Theodor Geisel known as Dr. Seuss. This kind of unexpected situation is not listed in any grandparenting book, so I decided I better get the word out to other grandmothers, so they can be better prepared because there is nothing we enjoy more than our hugs and our reading time with our grandchildren. Is there?

 If you can’t figure out how to pronounce some of the words in your grandchildren tongue twister books ask one of your seasoned grandmothers chances are they have already been through the ranks and will be more than glade to save you from being crushed when your grandchild tells you not to read to them cause you don’t read so good. Welcome to the Wubbolus World of Grandmothers and The Wubbolous World of Dr. Seuss.

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.

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.

Lost In The World Of Disney

Today’s children live in a world filled with adventure, mental stimulation, topical issues, and personal challenges. The values they learn now, between the ages of 5 and 8, will shape the rest of their lives.

 When I was about six years old, I had an adventure that shaped me for the rest of my life. I went to Disneyland with my cousins one week-end and had a wonderful day full of excitement.

Little did I know that the real excitement wasn’t to begin until that night while we watched the fireworks and I began to get an urge to go to the ice cream parlor, but I didn’t want to miss the show. Then I over heard my cousins talking to my aunt, and I got closer to them to hear what they were talking about. “Mom, we’re going to get an ice cream cone.

“Okay,” my aunt replied, “but stay together I don’t want any of you getting lost.” The second I saw my cousins leaving, I didn’t think twice before running off after them without telling my aunt. As I followed them through the huge crowd of people, I started to lose sight of them. I began to panic as I scanned the crowd for them crazy thoughts ran through my head like, what if I never see my family again?

I gave up trying to find my cousins and tried to get back to my family, but I was completely mixed up. After searching for what seemed like forever, I couldn’t hold back the tears, and I started crying like I had never cried before. “Mommy!” I cried out. But everyone around me was too caught up by the fireworks to pay attention to me.

I tried to stop the scary thoughts that were going through my head and started running as fast as I could… anywhere and everywhere. I was going crazy. I’m only six, and I’ve gotten lost. What have I done? How could I have been so dumb to run off  without telling anyone? I thought.

With my face wet from tears, I kept running, pulling at people’s pants and crying, “Mommy!” I was hoping and wishing, that one of those adults would be one of my parents. Luckily, I tugged at a lady who worked at Disneyland, and she asked me, “Are you lost?” “Yeeesss!” I cried.

She picked me up and carried me through the crowd as she kept asking me where my parents had been standing. As I began to feel safe in the Lady’s arms, I calmed down and thought for a few minutes I remembered we had leaned against a wooden fence. She carried me around the wooden fence, asking random people, “Is this your child?” “No. Sorry,” everyone kept saying. You’re sorry?  Look at me. I’m looking for my mommy. I thought.

Then I began to cry uncontrollably because it hit me that my parents didn’t live together any more and I wondered if they could stop loving each other could they stop loving me too? Did this mean I really wasn’t anybody’s child any more?

Finally, through the crowd of people, I recognized a face. I was so happy. “Daddy!” I shouted as I pointed toward him and the lady carried me to him. When the lady put me down, I ran to my daddy and gave him a huge hug. I couldn’t let go of him. I didn’t want to lose him again. As I cried in my daddy’s arms, my aunt and cousins thanked the nice lady for everything she had done for me.

For the rest of the evening and the entire next day I was more concerned with making sure that my daddy and the rest of his family were within my sight at all times, than I was with seeing the sights at Disneyland. My daddy called my mommy on the phone and they both told me how much they loved me. I asked them even if they didn’t love each other any more did they still love me? They said yes and I never doubted that they loved me again.

I look back on these memories and laugh at myself but to this day, I always make sure to tell someone where I am going before I run off to get ice cream especially at Disneyland.

Create A Happy Heart

Life is full of opportunities to create a happy heart. My mother use to say the most wasted of all days, is one with out laughter. She believed in positive thinking and that singing happy songs help to make for a happy heart.

 She loved to dance, sing and laugh. When I was a young girl my mother had a happy song, dance, a funny joke or saying for every situation in life. I don’t mean that as a metaphor I mean it literally.

When life dealt her lemons she was the kind of mother who would make lemonade out of the lemons. She was a half glass full kind of mother. One of my favorite examples of my mothers positive attitude and keeping a happy heart took place when I was thirteen and my best friend Vicky was celebrating her birthday at Disneyland.

The day the invitation arrived I was ecstatic. As far as I was concerned there was nothing better than the E ticket rides at Disneyland. I had lots of E tickets from  previous visits and I was full of expectations. The night before the big day all I did was talk, talk and talk about the rides. I don’t know how my mother kept her wits about her while she listened to my excessive talking. 

 One of the songs my mother and I use sing and listen to was called ” You Talk To Much”. I remember she was singing the words to the song under her breath. I’m sure she was hoping that I would get a clue and stop talking but you know how thirteen year old girls are.

Finally when the big day arrived I woke up and my neck hurting when I told my mother she did everything she could to try to help stop the pain but nothing worked. I was broken-hearted when my mother told me to call my Vicky and let her know that I wouldn’t be able to go.

I hung up the phone and I realized that I was not going to be able to celebrate Vicky’s birthday. I wondered how was I ever going to get over being disappointed?  The girls and I had mapped out and made a list of rides we were going to on and we saved our allowances so we could buy a present for Vick’s birthday.

 I started crying and my mother tried to console me. She said maybe, if your neck starts feeling better she could drive you to meet up with Vicky and the girls later in the day. I said, sure mom that would be ok. When I finished my melt down I noticed that my mom had left the room and I became curious and went to find out what she was doing.

When I found her she had taken off her night-gown and had put on a funny dress, hat and fun music on her old RCA record player.  At first when I saw her I thought to myself, how dare her be so happy when I was so sad. Then after listening to a few of her happy songs I started to sing and dance along with her. The next thing I knew. I wasn’t sad any more. The pain in my neck was gone but it was still stiff.

I’m glade that my mother applied a positive attitude to my situation and it did make for a merry heart. Life isn’t always about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

 

Roll Out Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Days of Juicy Juice, Goldfish and Mom’s yummy home-made monster cookies. Dust off the sun and the moon and sing a song of cheer. Fill your lunch boxs full of your favorite summer goodies. Lock up the house, load up the SUV and buckle up and lets Go, Go, Go on an adventure at the seashore.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of  summer when boys and girls are happy day dreaming about swimming at the seashore, listening to the ocean in seashells and drawing funny faces in the sand. They are hoping that they will win first place for building the tallest sand castle.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer as the clumsy toddlers with their legs sprawled out for balance and a shovel gripped awkwardly in a little fist as they are  intent on filling a bucket full of sand and sea shells and are fully unaware of their mothers loving gaze. Dust of the sun and the moon and sing a song of cheer and roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

 Love from Grandma