Posts Tagged ‘grandparents’

Multigenerational Living – the family calendar

For any working parent, the issue of time is important. Time to wake up, get to work, make meetings, home for dinner, etc.

Well, for people who are retired, staying on a schedule can be less of an issue.  And when retired people live with those who work, this can be both a blessing and a challenge.

The blessing is that my retired parents have time on their hands to enjoy their grandkids, be present in the moment, and for the most part, not worry about where they need to be.  (Though they remain militant about the evening news – do all people over 65 have to hear every word Brian Williams utters starting at exactly 5:30?)

I marvel at and am grateful for the fact that my dad can sit in the playroom for hours with my son and work on his trains, and that my mom will sit with my daughter as she reads, or bakes with the kids and lets them hold the hand-mixer, measure ingredients, etc.

The challenge can occur when their less rigorous schedule comes in contact with our daily careers.

My husband and I have days that can be a little unpredictable and “on-the-fly” changes to our schedule can be tough on my parents.  Anyone with a 5 and 7 year old knows there is a certain amount of fluidity to any day, but my mom and dad, though they have all the time in the world, appreciate a certain predictability.  They like to know what to expect. (And I fully admit, this is a facet of MY parents, others might be far more free-wheeling.)  I can tell it frustrates them when I call and say I am running late – hell, it frustrates me, too.

The one thing that keeps me sane is our family calendar. I actually love printing it out and giving it to my dad because he will examine it thoroughly and ask questions about deviations to the schedule – “should we get the kids dinner this night?” or “your mom has a doctor’s appt this day so we can’t pick up the kids from school” or “really – you are traveling to the upper peninsula of Michigan for work?”

This seems to be the one tool that puts them at ease – if it is written down, they know what is happening.  In fact, it is not uncommon for my dad to remind me of things on the calendar.

So, as the new school year is approaching, I am getting organized and updating the family calendar – maybe you are, too?  This will, in the end, save everyone a headache and should allow my parents to watch the evening news regularly – for which I can only say – thank goodness – we would all suffer otherwise.  😉

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a multigenerational approach to parenting

Before I get started on this subject, which could be sensitive, let me say that my family is pretty basic – college graduates, married, kids, careers, etc.  I am sure that my 2 brothers and I recall “incidents” from our childhood that were yuck – but overall – our childhood was fun and it was good – we love each other.

We were lucky for many reasons – our parents were focused on our education, we traveled and participated in ballet/sports/after school stuff and they were supportive of us – even though we sometimes acted as if we had not a brain in our heads.  My dad had little patience for bad grades or behavior, but my mom rarely raised her voice and often ran interference with my dad when we took stupidity to a new level. 

So here we are in 2010, my husband, our 2 kids, and my parents all sharing a house.  There are bound to be differences in the way my husband and I raise our children in comparison to the way in which I was raised, right?  Our ages alone would suggest that “when our kids were young…” could be the go-to phrase for my parents while illustrating our shortcomings as a mom and dad. 

But quite happily, it has not turned out that way.  In fact, my parents are down right “hands-off” when it comes to passing judgment on the way we parent our son and daughter.  And they do not get involved with discipline unless we are not home. 

Based on their reactions, there have been occasions where I could tell they disagreed about the way my husband and I were dealing with a discipline issue.  However, I give them credit, they do not chime in with their 2 cents…and I think that makes a huge difference in our comfort level in having them in the house and spending so much time with our children.  They respect the way we parent our kids and do not interfere – and for the most part, they enforce our standards when we are not at home.  It would be terribly hard to have to parent our children and then justify the way we do that to my mom and dad. 

Ironically, it is my dad who now has the patience of Job as a grandfather and asks if he can go into their rooms and talk with his grandkids when they are in trouble?  To which I answer, NO – they are in TIMEOUT!!! and where in the world was this calm head of yours when I was a kid?

I think we got lucky because I am certain that we never really discussed the issue of parenting styles before we all moved into one house.  But don’t take that chance – I highly recommend talking about this before anyone else takes the multigenerational household plunge.

Fun grandparents vs. rules driven grandma? Uh oh!

by Kanesha

I’m sitting here, alone, in my parents’ house. It’s cool and quiet and I’m thrilled!!

Hubby and my stepdad have taken the kids to the park, and my mom is off running errands and possibly buying my children yet another gadget they don’t need. (As she would say, “It’s just what grannies do!“)

We’re having a GREAT time!

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When we first arrived, my hubby told the kids to ask their grandparents for the rules of the house. I chuckled and my daughter looked at her dad sideways and promptly said,

“Daddy, you know there aren’t any rule here!”

My mother quickly added,

“Yes, she’s pretty much right. Not too many rules here for our grandchildren.”

Then I started to think; my kids spent close to two full weeks with my mother-in-law and my hubby’s sister (and sister’s hubby and sister’s two kids). They are very structured and rule driven people (yes – this is very true).

Since my mother-in-law lives with us, there are the day-to-day rules that must be enforced as well.

And now we are with my parents who will stop, drop and roll for these two grandkids. My parents will uphold rules that deal with safety, but that’s pretty much it as far as rule enforcement.

So, is this a case of fun grandparents vs. rules driven grandma?

Is this really fair to my mother-in-law’s relationship with my kids or is this not my problem to worry about?

I had not thought about this until today.

Hubby chimes in:

It’s just the way it is (fair or unfair).  When we look at the big picture – we all have several hats that we need to wear to make life work and the world go round.  Sometimes my mom is grandma – but most the time instead of grandma she is caretaker.

To provide a stable and safe environment for the kids, she needs rules and they need rules. Rules offer freedom and encourage their development.  It is different with the short visits from the non-caretaking grandparents.

Side note from hubby:

Our youngest was about to start playing with the POOL TABLE when I asked for the RULES.  It was such a perfect toy for a three-year old – with no rules.  And I had seen his eyes light up as he looked at the perfect green field laid out before him with a small ball (not a pool ball) in his hand and a truck.

We are flexible and we all want to have a good time, but even a house with minimum rules will need a few to keep everyone safe and happy.

the TCC and a spit-swap = the best July 4th

Are there moments from your childhood that are fresh in your mind – as if they happened yesterday?   

Most July 4th holidays from my youth are like that for me – clear in my mind; one for a “rite of passage”  moment and the others for the consistently shared experiences among family.  I had my first adult-like kiss on the golf course at a 4th of July picnic, with a boy who shall remain nameless, while fireworks burst in the sky above us (setting me up with totally unrealistic kissing expectations for the rest of my life).  As for the others, this was a holiday we always celebrated with my mom’s parents, picture below.  

Babuji and Honey - circa 1960

 

For 15 years, we observed Independence Day at the Tucson Country Club.  The club had a stunning display of fireworks every year that went on and on and on.  Nothing I have ever seen since can compare.  

Each year, after an enormous BBQ, the celebration started with 8 foot outlines of political, tv, and sports characters of the day, or meaningful scenes from American History being lit up inch-by-inch in fireworks – it was like watching dominoes of light trace the images and bring them to life.  After that, massive, intricate and colorful fireworks exploded over our heads for that seemed like an entire hour while we oohed and aahed.  The grande finale was always better than the year before.  

And while the fireworks were on display, we would continue to nibble at BBQ remnants; fresh corn, every kind of meat known to man, enough watermelon to swell a belly and invariably, thick, rich brownies.  As was often the case, my grandparents would talk about their adolescence in Nebraska and Colorado.  I heard stories every year, about what each of them did on the 4th of July when they were kids, “back in the day.”   

And though those stories might have become repetitive as a child, now, it is less the details of those stories that I recall and more the “feeling” of being with my grandparents.    

They are my roots, my history, my foundation.  

At the annual week-long reunion of my mom’s side of the family, the conversation turns to my maternal grandparents, as it often does, and my brothers, cousins and I will tell and re-tell stories about them we all know and love; we all still “feel” them – their pull on us, solidifying our determination to see each other every year, despite the varied zip coded in which we live, our commitment to each other and our families.   

I hope that well into the future, my kids will be able to recall with clarity all the memories they are making with my parents today, but mostly that they will be able to “feel” them in their lives forever.  

I love you and miss you Honey and Babuji!