July 7, 2014
If only they’d told me, I’d still have done it but…
My son and daughter-in-law just had their first child. Nestled within the magic New Baby bubble they gaze, blissful, at this perfect little person who has pretty much taken over their lives and their sleep cycles. But who cares? This is awesome!
Parents are meant to fall in love with their babies. It’s the highest form of sweet surrender. Mom and Dad are totally thrilled to be parents. They’re also overwhelmed by the sheer volume of time, energy and work it takes to care for a newborn. If only they’d known… but of course, we can’t know what being a new parent is about until we’re there. And even then, it’s a tilter-whirl without the safety harness so who’s got time to reflect or even brush your teeth?
But what if you had a wise, cheerful, best friend with several kids? Someone who will happily help you through the uncertain times with the right mix of empathy, humor and sage counsel? Sign me up, right?
My guest this week on Family Confidential is that kind of friend. Natalie Cutler-Welsh is co-founder of the If Only They’d Told Me blog, podcast and co-author of the book If Only They’d Told Me: Babies, Sex and a Cup of Tea. She and her co-author, Jacqueline Lockington, call themselves “the best friends you never knew you had.” So, don’t say no one understands what you’re going through. These women get it.
No matter where you are in your parenting journey, (even if you aren’t yet a parent but are working on it) you’ll enjoy and appreciate my conversation with Natalie. Listen right here.
July 3, 2014
Took a hike with The Pupster Tuesday, late afternoon. Went again this morning, first thing. I spend too many hours on social media so I try to get unplugged, alone time every day.
Lucky for me, there are lots of nearby places to wander into and lose your mind. Also lucky I appreciate these hills. Speaking of which, green’s a cool color, but this golden thing we’ve got going on right now, is awesome.
Mount Tam morning
This thistle can’t whistle or tweet. But it’s cool
Way up there
Do you see a dog?
Heading back before the coyotes come out
Home again. Sweaty. Restored. Grateful.
June 30, 2014
Give peace a chance
In addition to raising young adults who chew with mouth closed, pick up after themselves, and return library books on time, the gold ring of this parenting gig (after the “under the same roof” phase ends) is a healthy relationship with your adult kids. I’ve been a mom for 34 years and believe me, that’s what you’re after. But how do you get there from here? It can be a hard slog. Especially if you’re currently the parent of a tween or teen and already clocking in way too much time yelling and mis-communicating. It’s stressful enough when they’re in school most of the day, but now it’s summer and said t(w)een may be hanging out under said roof. Result? More time for fault-finding on both sides. yippee. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can be the change-agent your parent-teen dynamic needs. Here’s how…
Parenting plan for getting along better with your t(w)een
1. Sit down and ask your child: What would you like me to do less of this summer? Make the question sincere and make it safe for your child to answer honestly. Whatever he or she says, stay calm and do not get defensive. This conversation has the potential of greatly improving your relationship.
2. Take what you’ve heard to heart. If you want to teach your kids to be respectful of others you must treat their feelings and thoughts with respect. If you need a clarification, ask for it. “You say you want me to nag less? Gee, I don’t think I nag at all. Please give me an example of what you mean, sweetie.”
3. Work together to address the request. After you understand your child’s request, see what new ways you can come up with to lessen the unwanted behavior (e.g.. nagging). Relationships are a two-way street. If there is a ‘nagger’ there must also be a “nagging-inducer.” Explore both sides of all issues.
4. Monitor your progress. Once you’ve identified a problem and strategized a solution check in with each other periodically to see how you’re feeling about the changes. Praise where praise is due. Make modifications when needed.
5. Reverse the flow. It’s a two-way street, remember? So give yourself a chance to tell your t(w)een something you’d like less of from him or her. Follow the rest of the steps and see how it goes.
Good luck! I hope this helps you and your family this summer.