Quote of the Week

Quote-of-the-Week pic“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

~Peter Marshall

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Does Grandma’s Prerogative Exist?

rilyn

Rilyn, Nana, and Papaw took a selfie one day!

I first wrote about this topic two years ago and the response was so strong that I decided it was time to talk about it again.

On the Sunday after my third grandchild was born, a well-meaning friend at church asked me if I was heading to Texas that week. I told her I wished that I was, but Erica and Kendall had asked me to wait to come until Marie was home.  My friend said, “Well, did you tell them that it’s grandma’s prerogative to come now if she wants?”  I smiled and said that I wanted to respect Erica and Kendall’s wishes.

The conversation bothered me, but I wasn’t sure why.

However, it was several other conversations with both of my girls that helped me formulate my thoughts.  The girls shared with me disappointing stories friends have shared of dealing with moms or mother-in-laws after a baby is born, such as:

  • One young mom’s mother insisted on coming the week that the baby was born. This grandma pulled no punches in saying that she was there to hold the baby and nothing else. She said she’d hold the baby so her daughter could keep up with meals and laundry. So selfish.
  • Another young mom’s extended family–all 8 of them–came to visit for a week arriving the day everyone came home from the hospital.  They didn’t stay at a hotel…they stayed in the small home of this young couple. So inconsiderate.
  • Another friend of one of my daughters shared that when they visit her in-laws or when the inlaws come to town to visit or take care of the kids, Grandma and Grandpa don’t follow the instructions for bedtimes or boundaries that Mom and Dad have set for their kids.  The grandparents communicate that they get so little time with the grandkids that they “deserve” to have the extra time with the kids plus the kids didn’t seem tired anyway. They also have let it be known (by their attitudes and actions) that they believe Mom and Dad’s guidelines, boundaries, and routines are foolish.  So sad.
  • Another young mom said that when her inlaws come and visit, it’s not a help, it’s a chore. They rarely offer help and they insist on eating out rather than home prepared meals. This  young mom finds eating out unenjoyable with little ones, not to mention the fact that eating out doesn’t fit this young family’s budget.  So stressful.
  • Yet another mom shared her frustration of a grandparent who smokes and has cats. This mom doesn’t want her kids around smoke and two of her kids have animal allergies. Yet this grandma complains that mom (her daughter-in-law) is keeping her from her grandkids, which isn’t true. The daughter-in-law graciously offers to meet grandma at a park or invites her to their home (smoking not allowed), but instead of being grateful for the offer, grandma is stubborn and refuses to see the kids unless it’s on her terms. So stubborn.

There are no grandma’s prerogatives. There are only mom and dad’s prerogatives. A grandparent’s job is to help and encourage, offering assistance within the lifestyle and routines of this new family.

What does this mean practically?

For me, Erica used cloth diapers so I learned to use the new generation of cloth diapers.

Anne and Matt want their kids in bed by 8pm. When we’re caring for the kids, Mark and I do our very best to follow their instructions even if we wish we had more time to play with them.

Other considerations for grandparents might include:

When babies are born, make the extended family visit a day visit or a one-day-in-next-day-out visit to keep from adding to the stress that already accompanies adding a baby to the home.

Ask mom what she wants or what help she needs, don’t assume.

Grandparents can offer help with laundry, cleaning, meals, and dishes. (Not controlling help…blessing help–but that’s a topic for another blog post!)

Defer to the parents way of doing things. When you are visiting someone, your preferences take a back seat.

I am blessed to have had my parents model balanced grandparenting for me. They have given much love, been available, but never once pulled the “grandparent prerogative” card. Anytime I left my kids in their care, I’ve never worried if they would follow my instructions. Even to this day, when they visit they offer to help with meals, dishes, laundry, running kids to activities, or whatever is going on that day. When they’ve come to town for weddings and our house is filled with adult kids and their families, they have offered to stay in a hotel for the night.

Whether you’re the grandparent or the parent, it’s important to know that “grandma’s prerogative” doesn’t exist. The parents call the shots on how their kids are to be cared for and treated. (Of course, grandma can also set her own boundaries, especially if she’s being taken advantage of by the parents.)

If you’re the parent, stand firm on what you want for your family. If a grandparent doesn’t respect your wishes, set boundaries in place to protect your desires for your family.  Yes, you may make some people mad, but your loyalties are now to your new family, not your old family.

If you’re the grandparent, check your expectations and remember that your job is to defer to mom and dad’s wishes–even if you don’t agree with them. Be a good house guest if you have to travel to visit family. Build trust by doing what your child and their spouse ask you to do.

The goal is to have a good relationship between mom and dad and grandma and grandpa. Understanding that “grandparent prerogative” doesn’t exist is a start to making that relationship strong!

How about you? Would you add any other strategies for parents and grandparents to work together well? 

Posted in Parenting | 13 Comments

Quote of the Week

Quote-of-the-Week pic“If we want to live a wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating rest and play, and we must work to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.”                                                                                                                    ~Brene Brown

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What I’d Tell My Younger Self About Marriage

PicMonkey Collage anniversary

It was 31 years ago today that Mark and I promised to love one another for better or for worse. Of course, we had absolutely no idea what those words would mean from a practical perspective.

If I had to go back and give my younger self some words of wisdom about marriage, here are some thoughts I’d share:

  • Blending two family backgrounds is harder than you think it will be. Be ready to let go of “what was” and invest in “what is.”
  • We all bring emotional baggage into marriage. The sooner you unpack your bags, the healthier your relationship will be.
  • Counseling is a good thing.
  • In marriage, the little things are the big things. Look for little ways to say “I love you” every day.
  • Every couple is incompatible. You are two different people who have to learn how to blend your two personalities, temperaments, and preferences into one relationship.
  • Marriage will either bring out the child in you or will grow you up. You decide.
  • There is no 50/50 in marriage. To the best of your ability, you both need to give 100% all the time.
  • You’ll probably need to forgive your spouse about a dozen times a day (and your spouse will have to do the same to you!) You’re two imperfect people trying to live together and often not getting it right.
  • Learn to give a full apology. Don’t stop at “I’m sorry.” Make sure it’s “I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me?”
  • Apologizing is a sign of strength, not of weakness. When both parties can admit when they’re wrong, the relationship strengthens.
  • Blaming has no place in a marriage.
  • Emotional intimacy is the step before physical intimacy. Being honest about your feelings, your struggles, your fears, your hopes and dreams will make things better in the bedroom.
  • Listen to understand, not to prepare a rebuttal.
  • Be a student of your spouse. He or she will be different than you. Embrace those differences rather than considering them as “wrong.”
  • Learn what speaks love to your spouse and do it, even if you don’t like that or need that yourself.
  • Date consistently. If the kids are little, get a sitter on a regular basis. If you have no children or they are out of the home, make sure you continue to date and spend intentional time playing together.
  • Finally, keep faith at the center of your relationship. The closer you are to God, the closer you’ll be to one another.

Happy Anniversary, Mark.  Here’s to 31 more years!

What about you? What wisdom would you tell your younger self about marriage? 

Posted in Marriage | 6 Comments

Parenting Thought For The Day

Busyness

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Quote of the Week

Quote-of-the-Week pic“It is not the words we say that make a difference, it is power of God accompanying them.”

                                                                                                              ~Stormie Omartian

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Love Your Uniqueness!

HAH-Blog-Hop-graphic-2We live in such a conforming society that many of us struggle with our unique qualities. And if we struggle with our unique qualities, you can only imagine how challenging it is for our kids to embrace how they are different from others.

For uniqueness to be appreciated and celebrated, differences must be seen as normal and, well, different. Not right and wrong. Not better than or worse than. Instead, we’re all part of God’s perfect purpose.

We read about this in 1 Corinthians 12:4–27:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. . . .Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. . . .

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”

On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor…

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. We all have a part in God’s perfect purpose.

NoMorePerfectKids_COV We are all wonderfully made with a purpose!  In our book No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are, Dr. Kathy Koch shares about how she was very tall as a child and she towered above the other kids so that made her self-conscious.  In time, however, she learned that her height was something worth celebrating because she can help people reach things and rarely needed a ladder to hang things from the ceiling when she was an elementary teacher.

How our kids think of themselves has alot to do with how we encourage their uniqueness.  We also influence them when we talk about the things we like or don’t like about ourselves.  I shared about that a little more in this month’s Hearts On-The-Go E-Newsletter.  Our words and attitudes are often picked up by our kids without us even realizing it!

What about you?  How do you feel about your unique qualities?  Has God reframed something for you and now you see it differently? What about for one of your kids?

Today is our Third Thursday blog hop where we link up with other moms who are offering encouragement on the topic of loving your uniqueness.  Hop around and find some more encouragement!

Posted in Parenting, Taking Care of Me | 4 Comments

Winners, My Cancer Update, and How Can I Pray for You?

On Monday, I sent out an update on my cancer journey.  However, it wasn’t titled that in the email delivery because two posts accidentally went out instead of one.  If you missed the post titled A New Normal: Life After Cancer, just click on the title here and it will take you to it!

I’ve also done two giveaways in the past two weeks and haven’t yet announced the winners!

Seek-cover In the 5 Easy Steps to Reading the Bible giveaway, the winner of the Seek book is Kalli–newbiemama09.  Congrats Kalli!  I’ll send you an email to get your mailing info.  If you were interested in the book Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God, you can pick up a copy online or at your local Christian bookstore.

In the 11 Ways To Celebrate Dad giveaway, the winner of the Everyday Confetti: Your Year-Round Guide to Celebrating Holidays and Special Occasions
book is Elizabeth–The.Pruitts.  Congrats Elizabeth!

If you didn’t have a chance to read yesterday’s post: He’s Not Very Lovable Right Now, over on the P31 site, you can hop over and enter to win one of the 10 copies of No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are
they are giving away!

One last thing….I’m setting aside the next two weeks to pray for my blog world friends.  If there is anyway I can pray for you, please let me know!

Have a great Wednesday!

Posted in Miscellany | 11 Comments

He’s Not Very Lovable Right Now

Welcome to all my Proverbs 31 Devotional friends today!  I’m delighted you stopped by!  Please take a minute to leave a comment and introduce yourself!

Happy Tuesday to all my favorite blog world friends who hang out with me here on a regular basis! Please hop over and read today’s post on the Proverbs 31 Devotional site. It’s all about performing a “love audit” on our relationships and loving even when it’s hard.

Want a FREE printable of the parenting love audit in today’s P31 devotional from 1 Corinthians 13? It’s a free resource for my new subscribers!  You can subscribe over on the right! (If you already subscribe to my blog and would like a copy, just hit “reply” to this email, type “Love Audit” and we’ll get you one!)

2014posterncIf you’re here for the first time, or even if you hang out here on a regular basis, let me encourage you to tap into some wonderful Hearts at Home resources.  Hearts at Home’s mission is to encourage, educate, and equip every mom in every season of motherhood, using Christian values to strengthen families.  We do that in a variety of ways, but our mom conferences are the best!

I’m all about honesty and authenticity. If you hang out here in bloggy world with me, you won’t find “10 easy answers” as much as you’ll find truth about the challenges of marriage, the messiness of parenting, and the emotions of real life. I share openly about the ups and downs of our 31 year marriage, parenting five very different children, grandparenting, adoption, dealing with a child with mental illness, and in recent months I’ve shared about my breast cancer journey.  I also share about those topics and more over on the Hearts at Home Facebook page and my Facebook page as well.

Here are some quick links to connect you to other great resources:

hotgHearts On-The-Go is a once-a-month free E-Newsletter for moms!

 

nmp13day

 

The FREE 13 Day No More Perfect Kids challenge will keep your head and heart filled with grace and encouragement!

 

posternmpjourneyIf you hop over to NoMorePerfect.com you’ll also find FREE moms group curriculum videos for both No More Perfect Kids and No More Perfect Moms.

You’ll also find the No More Perfect Blog where you can get a weekly reminder to keep The Perfection Infection at bay!

At Hearts at Home, we’re moms encouraging moms. After all, we’re all in this thing together…imperfections and all!

 

Posted in Faith, Taking Care of Me | 4 Comments

A New Normal: Life After Cancer

Last Tuesday I finished my radiation treatment.

I. Am. Now. Cancer. Free! 

Surgery. Chemotherapy. Radiation. 8 months of treatment is now behind me. My oncologist, who I will now see every 3 months for the next two years, said I now have three responsibilities to reduce my chances of recurrence:
1) Exercise 2.5 hours a week
2) Eat well (whole foods, very little sugar, lots of fruits and veggies)
3) Keep my weight down.

My hair is growing back, I have baby eyelashes, my skin is healing, my strength is returning, I’ve finally lost the 12 lbs of chemo weight I gained, and while I’m looking for life to return to normal, it will be a new normal.

I am forever changed because of this journey. Certainly my body bears the scars of surgery and radiation, but it’s my heart that’s seen the most transformation. My compassion for those facing health issues has increased. My understanding of how the body of Christ is supposed to care for one another has deepened. My love for God’s Word has been strengthened.

No one walks a journey like this alone.  

Mark and Evan I’m grateful to my husband and 17-year-old son, Austin, who have walked this journey with me every single day. It hasn’t been easy for mom to be “out of commission.” Mark shaved his head in solidarity. Austin made me laugh along the way and wrote about his feelings in this raw, honest blog post.

I’m grateful to my adult kids and their families who have stayed the course with me. I’m grateful for complete strangers who became friends along the way.

friends There’s Christene, Angela, and Judy who I dubbed my chemo coaches. They are women who were just months ahead of me on the journey.

My friend Lisa and both of my daughters helped me shop for wigs.

Crystal put to use her Nurse Practitioner degree and served as my medical consultant.

Cindy cleaned my house every time I had chemo.

Becky helped arrange meals and manage my Caring Bridge page.

My celebration lunch last Wednesday!

My celebration lunch last Wednesday!

Jonna kept track of all my tests, treatments, and procedures, praying and touching base every time.

Robin gave me a hug nearly every time I had one of my 33 radiation treatments.

Amy has sent me a scripture and prayer on Facebook every single day since my diagnosis. Every. Single. Day.

Amy sent me scripture and a prayer every single day for 8 months.  She says she's committed for a year.

Amy sent me scripture and a prayer every single day for 8 months. She says she’s committed for a year.

Dozens of wonderful long-time friends and new friends brought meals.  And hundreds, if not thousands of wonderful Hearts at Home, Facebook, and blog friends prayed, encouraged, and shared hope along the way.

Over the past 8 months, I’ve received prayer blankets, hats, cards, texts, letters, gift cards, Facebook messages, flowers….all at just the right time when my heart needed the encouragement.

I am truly humbled by the love that has been shown to me.

The words “thank you” just don’t seem like enough. But they are all I have.

Thank you for walking this road with me.

I’ll be forever grateful. 

Posted in Miscellany | 8 Comments