Posts Tagged ‘mother-in-law’

Healthy multigenerational living = a reprieve

by Kanesha

As busy and working parents, hubby and I know uninterrupted time with our children is a luxury and a priority. As I’ve mentioned before with our multigenerational household, hubby and I make a point to create a space for nuclear family time.

This weekend we decided to head to the mountains and rent a rustic cabin. We wanted some private time, with just the four of us, to play, create, maintain connections and *unplug.

The rustic cabin. There were 3 beds, a table with 4 folding chairs, a ceiling fan-light and electricity.

When I asked my 11-year-old what she thought about this trip, she said,

“It’s important for us break-up our multigenerational family time because you get to do big family stuff and then spend independent time with fewer family members. You get a chance to do different things and just take a little time off. I don’t know. It’s just a good idea to have the breaks.”

My kiddos dancing and playing with the AEROBIE.

In Tips for Multigenerational Households, Elizabeth Mullins said something similar:

“Figure out what is family time, personal time and big extended family time. For instance, we like to all have dinner together a few nights a week but my daughter, husband and I still want a few nights just to ourselves.”

For our nuclear family getaway, my mother-in-law helped us prepare by grocery shopping, helping with the laundry, and purchasing craft supplies.

We love Cherrybrook Kitchen’s products! This is a great food solution for my son’s allergies and the food is tasty!

We had these chicken apple sausages for lunch. Delicious!

Craft supplies for our wreath

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Facebook confessional 1: To live or not live with your mother-in-law

I attended a fun party in late August and had the chance to meet some new people. I love people and I love to network. I think it’s fun to meet new people, find out who you know in common, learn about shared interests, and drink a bunch of good wine.

At this party, I was talking to a spunky woman who had on gorgeous shoes. She grabbed a great bottle of Pinot Grigio to set near us so we didn’t have to pause our conversation for refills.

When we got to “so what do you do”, she wanted to know how I appeared so balanced and not worn around the edges with kids, a traveling husband, and my own job. I explained my multigenerational living set-up, and she stared at me like I was speaking in tongues.

HER:            WHAT? You let your mother-in-law live with you? What is THAT about?

ME:            We enjoy it. It helps hubby and me focus on work as needed. We have more time to spend with our kids after work. My mother-in-law helps makes the house run well, and you know, the kids get to be with their grandmother.

HER:            Hmmm…Well how long will she be there? I mean did she just show up and not leave?

ME:            We invited her to live with us in 2007 when our youngest was born. I’m not sure how long she will live with us. We haven’t discussed that.

HER:            There is absolutely NO WAY my mother-in-law could live with us. NO WAY! You let me know if you need help getting your mother-in-law out of there.

At that point, I was pretty much done with the conversation. I politely excused myself and seriously thought about taking that bottle of wine with me as I went to find another person to gab with.

I reflected on this exchange some weeks later and I wanted to know what others thought about living with their mother-in-laws. So I posted a question on Facebook.

The responses where humorous, honest, shocking, emotional, and all over the place.

I came across an interesting study about how family communicate about their in-laws and with their in-laws.

“In one component of this study, the researchers asked daughters-in-law to report on positive and negative aspects of their relationship with the mothers-in-law. (Summary table)  One interesting aspect of these findings is that there are characteristics in this relationship that are listed as positive (i.e., linked to greater satisfaction) and negative factors (i.e., linked to less satisfaction).  This demonstrates that daughters-in-law have different “tastes” when it comes to what they want in their mother-in-law relationship.  For instance, some daughters-in-law felt geographic distance was a barrier to a more positive relationship whereas others believed geographic distance was necessary for a positive relationship.”

Click here to learn more about Dr. Christy Rittenour’s study.

If anyone is considering multigenerational living, they have to make sure this decision is right for them. Effective communication needs to be established when discussions first start and when the multigenerational living arrangement becomes a reality (or not).

Effective communication is essential in developing, maintaining, and strengthening relationships. Here are my top recommendations for communicating with your mother-in-law and in a multigenerational household:

  1. Practice (yes practice) active listening. This is a skill a lot of people do not have.
  2. Be honest and specific. Stick to the facts and do your best not to overgeneralize.
  3. Respond to what is being communicated instead of reacting.
  4. Adjust your communication style to the situation, age/generation of the other person involved, and the circumstance.
  5. Use common language. Speaking over your mother-in-law’s head (or anyone else’s) leads to unnecessary miscommunication and frustration. Your goal is to have the receiver understand, accept, and apply what you’ve communicated.
  6. Admit you are human and that you make mistakes. We all have stories to share when things are going well or when things are disharmonious. Showing you are human communicates your level of care for the other person involved.
  7. Love, respect, and forgive each other.

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My mother-in-law weighs in on Hawaii Five-O

by Kanesha

My husband, his twin brother, and their older sister were born in Hawaii. My husband lived there until he was about eight-years-old and then he moved back to the mainland with his mom (my *mother-in-law) and his siblings.

During our courtship and marriage, I have been fascinated about this part of my hubby’s life. A big contribution to this fascination is the way my mother-in-law becomes all dreamy eyed and animated when she talked about her life in Hawaii.

When I found out CBS was remaking Hawaii Five-O, I had to know what my mother-in-law thought about this. She did not hesitate to share her perspective.

[Summary of the contemporary version.]

K:            Did you know they were remaking Hawaii Five-O?

MIL:            The question is why?????? No I didn’t.

Source

K:             OK, I have more nosey questions. How long did you live in Hawaii?

MIL:            12+ years

K:            What made you decide to move there?

MIL:            Too long of an answer and too involved etc.

K:            [giggle] Would you ever move back?

MIL:            No, unless to outer island.  Also [I] would need much more disposable income because toooooo far away from everyone. That was a reason for moving back; the age of my grandmother, [my] kids didn’t know their grandparents.  I don’t even need to visit again. Never really felt I was in the tourist role. Too many changes last time.

K:            ¡Viva multigenerational living! Did you watch the original Hawaii Five-O?

MIL:            Of course.  Don (the father K’s hubby) was even in a couple of episodes as an extra. We did those sessions like you-all (meaning Kanesha and her girlfriends) do the Oscars!  It was always fun trying to figure out where they were.

Source

K:            Who were your favorite characters?

MIL:            The Hawaiian guy of course.

K:            [bigger giggle] Did you ever see the original being filmed while you were living in Hawaii?

MIL:            No.

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Our lovely multigenerational Sunday morning

by Kanesha

On Sunday, I woke up and the three-year-old had crawled into bed with me. He was demanding we get downstairs for breakfast and to see grandma (my mother-in-law). I could not be annoyed with him, even though I thought about it, because it was already 8:00 a.m.

Hubby was already up and moving around (can you see why I considered becoming annoyed?) and he was in a cooking mood. He coaxed me out of bed with the promise of apple cinnamon French toast, bacon, and strong coffee. Say no more, I was up!

After the lovely, non-healthy, and super delicious breakfast, the four of us (our daughter was sleeping over at a friend’s house) sat at the kitchen table, started talking about our super busy Saturday events, and  began working on our individual projects.

I was preparing goodie bags for my girlfriends. We had plans to watch the Desperate Housewives premiere. Yes, it’s low-brow TV watching and it gave us yet another reason to have a party on a Sunday night.

I purchased apple themed goodies to put into the bags. Simple and fun.

My son wanted to “help” me prepare the bags, so I set him up with his own project.

I showed my little guy how to use the hole punch. His hands aren’t quite strong enough to work the hole punch alone, but he was very determined.

Our local library had a used book sale on Saturday. All children’s and teen books were $.50. FANTASTIC!

My daughter and I had a great time digging through all the books. We picked up some picture books for my mother-in-law. She likes to make origami boxes with the picture book pages.

Hubby was doing some travel planning and pretty much just surfing the web. He would look up every now-and-then and offer us some positive feedback on our various projects. Yes, he’s the family cheerleader.

After about 90 minutes, the multigenerational project session came to an end.

My mother-in-law had created a super cute origami box.

My mother-in-law promised my son he could have the box if he helped clean up his project area.

He promptly used the box for his current beloved toy.

I finished the embellishments on my goodie bags. I was looking forward to the fun time I would have later on that evening.

It was a nice and relaxing start to a fun Sunday. It doesn’t get much better than this.

a multigenerational business – I love it!

Who among the female readers of this blog do not love purses?  I sure the heck do and in Superior, CO, where I live, there is a local mom who gets my business.  Beth Shogrin is owner of Biscuit Bags.  She has an amazing eye for mixing patterns and colors and I love her creations – different sizes, styles, fabrics – her work is fabulous!

For mother’s day this year, I got my mom one of her waterproof bags – perfect for aquatics workouts and lazy days at the pool.  And I have given friends a variety of different bags – totes to evening bags.  And while talking with Beth one day, I learned that her Mom is a part of her business!  Viola – a multigenerational business!

To honor another aspect of multigenerational lifestyles, Beth has graciously offered a reader of our blog a $50 credit towards one of her bags.  And dare I say what you are probably already thinking – the holidays are around the corner and it is never too early to think about gifts for the fashionable (or not so fashionable) women in your life! 

To enter the drawing, leave a comment below and share the following:
“What is the oddest thing that you carry in your purse?”

The drawing will be held on September 25.  Good luck!

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National Working Parents Day…I’m all over this

by Kanesha

Today is National Working Parents Day, and nope, I won’t turn my nose up at this one.

Photo credit

No, I’m not making this up! No, I do not spend all my “free-time” searching for random and made up holidays. (I might start doing this, though.)

Here’s what happened…

I work with some great folks in my office, and we try not to take ourselves too seriously, even though we are doing serious business. We work hard, we work a lot, and we try to have a fun celebration every now and then.

When I returned to my office from a “way too serious meeting”, I asked my assistant to Google wacky September holidays. We were overdue for some wacky office fun (yes, we multitask!).  And on the list my assistant found – National Working Parents Day.

Fantastic! Time to celebrate!

I quickly texted my mother-in-law and told her the party was on! Hubby is away on business travel and we (me, granny, and the two kids) were going out for a night on the town.

Translation of “night on the town”…We were heading to a local eatery with mediocre food and an awesome play area – and we would skip tinkering in our own kitchen! Since my mother-in-law likes to eat dinner on the early side, we would benefit from some happy hour libations as well.

As the kids played Wii in the play area (I know!), my mother-in-law and I sipped our beverages and talked about books and movies. She reads lots of nonfiction and biographies. I read about education, leadership, puberty, and Richard Scarry’s Busy Busy Town. We both enjoy biopic movies. I’m obsessed with who the actors are, how they fit into these roles, and awards they have won. My mother-in-law often cannot remember the names of the actors, but she can tell you what other roles they have played. I like to read books before they are turned into movies. She tries to keep her own book visuals from clouding the book-into-movie visuals.

We had a great time watching the kids play and talking about adults things (like cute actors). I like sitting around with my mother-in-law chewing the fat. It’s casual and relaxing and it’s what we do as a multigenerational family. I can let my hair down and I don’t need to do any pretending. Same goes for her.

If you are considering multigenerational living, you have to prioritize authenticity. Showcasing a representative of yourself will not work and you’ll be overly exhausted. You have to cultivate a relationship that is real and comfortable, otherwise you’ll be miserable and resentful. You need to spend time finding out what common interests you share so that you can continually discover gems about each other.

National Working Parents Day will for sure go on the family calendar!

(It’s also National Guacamole Day – but let’s not get crazier!)

The other ice cream cone picture is currently ...

Image via Wikipedia

As far as the wacky office celebration…

We will be celebrate the invention of the ice cream cone on September 22. Yup, my co-workers do put up with me, and so does my multigenerational family!

it’s a full nest talks with Chef Clifford Rome

As I’ve mentioned before, multigenerational living comes with a lot of perks.

Crafting and cooking are always at the top of our list.

Check out Kanesha’s radio chat with Chef Clifford Rome and Rashanah on WVON 1690 AM.

This is the lime-infused coconut pound cake Rashanah mentioned in the interview. No calories at all – ok, there are, but who’s counting?

The recipe for this cake can be found in:

PoundCakeRecipe

My mother-in-law made flan the other night and in my opinion, she makes the BEST flan I’ve ever tasted. She added some fresh peaches to it – since peaches are in season.

Hubby made some marinated chicken kabobs the other weekend and we all devoured them. He marinated the chicken in fresh lemon juice and prime-rib rub from the Savory Spice Shop.

Everyone in our multigenerational household has a “couture” apron – designed and  sewn by my mother-in-law.

Here I am, in my apron (sans pearls), making sugar cookies for girls’ night out. I used a cookie cutter shaped like a martini glass.

My 11-year-old, the aspiring pastry chef, was in the kitchen baking up something delectable. She has a matching head scarf to go with her apron.

My mother-in-law wanted a new t-shirt and so she whipped one up for herself. She also made the beads for her necklace.