Tag Archives: grandparents

Grandma is a bad influence

Most of us, as parents, slip up and an inappropriate word is said in front of our kids.

Just yesterday, hubby gave me the *wild eyes (which is usually reserved for the kids) when I was playing an online game with my son and I exclaimed, “Dang!” and “Oh crap!


(No, it wasn’t the F bomb – this time!)

Setting proper examples is our job in this parenting gig and we, as parents, often think this example setting umbrella hovers over the grandparents’ interactions with our kids.

Is this a proper expectation of grandparents – to be example setters?

Are we putting too much pressure on grandparents to be parents again?

Why these questions?

Because my kids called me into the family room to watch this segment:

I sure hope that mom wasn’t selling granny out as far as teaching that four-year-old to swear like a pro.

If you find the grandparents setting a poor example for your kids, what should you do? How do you approach them? How do you avoid starting a multigenerational war?

Amy Goyer suggests having the grandchildren be the strong influence and set an example for the grandparents. She says,

Grandparents will stop smoking, swearing or drinking because of grandchildren.  But some grandparents have habits that are so ingrained they aren’t even aware that they affect their grandchildren.

Talk gently with grandparents about the habit or behavior that you feel is a negative influence on the children and explain why you feel it is.

Remember that these habits have usually been around a long time and may be hard to break. Be supportive, not confrontational. Acknowledge first that you know they love their grandchildren and would never do anything intentionally to hurt them, but alert them that you think some of their habits may have unintended consequences for the children. Also remember that you, as parents, have the most influence over your kids. Some idiosyncrasies may be unpleasant, but children will not necessarily pick up the bad habits of their grandparents — or aunts, uncles, cousins or any other family member. My grandfather cussed every other word, but I have never once heard my dad or mom swear. We loved our grandfather and giggled when he swore, but my sisters and I didn’t grow up swearing like he did. My dad and mom had much more influence.

Have you had to talk with the grandparents about being a bad influence (in some area) on your kids?

How did you approach them?

What was the outcome (or fallout)?

*wild eyes = the term my 13-year-old uses to refer to her dad giving THAT look


Thank you card etiquette

I love etiquette books and discussing etiquette.

This not because I want everyone to follow “the rules”, but I really like knowing the rules – the history of the rules – and how the rules can sometimes make my life easier.

When having a multigenerational household and getting along with in-laws, I think having common etiquette knowledge and agreeing to certain rules and expectations can help to lessen miscommunication, keep people mostly on the same page, and assist in not inadvertently slighting or hurting someone else’s feelings.

I had to chuckle when I heard Philip Galanes discuss the generational shift around the proper etiquette of writing thank you cards.


Maybe the grandmother (grandparents – to give full credit) who wrote in to Mr. Galanes worked really hard to teach her own children to write thank you cards. Perhaps she had to chase them around their childhood home to get the thank you card task writing done. It is potentially possible that she was chastised at a social function or the ladies’ mixer, in her community, because her kids failed to send out thank you cards on some Passion. And because of all these possible thank you card faux pas – this grandmother is fixated on thank you card etiquette.

And with her own adult children, maybe they hated the entire idea of writing thank you cards. It sucked, it was a burden, and they didn’t get it. If this is the case – it is highly possible these adult parents are not going to encourage or force their own children to go down the thank you card etiquette road.

I’m just making dramatic speculations here because I think the look of sending a thank you card – for this grandmother, adult children, and grandchildren – needs to be expanded.

Yes, the grandchildren should acknowledge the generosity of their grandparents. At the same time, the grandparents can engage in joyful gift gifting without expecting anything in return.

With my kids having grandparents and a great-grandmother living in other states – we get creative with saying thank you. We take a picture of our kids with the gift the grandparents have sent.

We email or text the pictures (hardcopy for their great-grandmother). This is quick and easy thank you feedback. We may even video chat and talk about the gift and have the kids verbally express their gratitude for what their grandparents have sent. With us being busy, going this route keeps us from forgetting  to say thank you.

As our days, weeks, and months are going on – if I see my kids using the gift from the grandparents, I’ll snap another picture and send it to the grandparents to show them the grandchildren are still enjoying the gift.

For myself, I enjoy sending a handwritten thank you card and sometimes my children get in the mood to do the same. With all the things I have to coordinate and navigate for my family – doing thank you card battle is definitely not on my list.

How do you feel about thank you cards?

How do your children say thank you to their grandparents?

Grandparents, what type of thank you recognition would you like to receive?


This Moment {8.19.11}

It’s one of nature’s way that we often feel closer to distant generations than to the generation immediately preceding us. 

~Igor Stravinsky

A Friday ritual.

A single photo bunch of photos – inspirational words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.
Visit SouleMama to see more {this moment} posts.
Feel free to share your {this moment} link in the comment section and/or any inspirational words.

Multigenerational work travel {New Orleans}

In my super full and often chaotic life, I see myself as:

  • Me
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Career woman
  • Enjoyer of GNO, cocktails, and fun

Now, I’m going to be transparent and admit the order of the aforementioned categories gets a bit jumbled, but hey, I’m working on it daily.

Which brings me to a multigenerational/work travel trip – with my parents – and my nine-month-old son, in 2008.

As a working mother, I have been fortunate to have my mom and mother-in-law step up and in when I have work travel and I want to bring the kids along. It’s such a comfort and blessing to have this kind of support.

For this particular trip, I was traveling to New Orleans and my son was still on the boob, so yes, he had to travel with me.

My parents currently live in Georgia, so driving to New Orleans only took about 6.5 hours.

Let me back up before I talk about how this trip went down. If you are into the zodiac, then you can imagine what it is like for an Aquarius (me), Gemini (mom), and Leo (stepdad) to conduct business. It’s like a reality TV show that has gone off the rails.

For those of you who know anything about me – you know  I’m a super detailed planner. No detail is too small and lists are my go to tool. Yes, I am that person.

My mother, on the other hand, conducts business by vibration. What I mean by this is she does whatever moves her at the moment – and sometimes she’s switching gears in the middle of shifting gears.

Then you have my stepdad, who is as consistent, linear, and meticulous as you can get. He’s also a former Marine, so structure is essential. (Hmm…who do I take after the most?)

Planning this trip was absolutely goofy and quite comical. At the time, I was still sleep deprived and the baby was not doing well with solids, so I was still nursing – A LOT!

I explained to my parents they would be watching the baby while I was at conference sessions, they would need to work with expressed milk, and since we would be sharing the hotel room, they would have to go to bed when the baby and I went to sleep.

I giggle as I write this because as retirees, my parents do what they want, when they want, and how they want. This means they do not work well with a schedule. They like to stay up late and get up late.  I was a bit nervous this trip was going to turn into a push me – pull me adventure.

The other request was for my mother to bring a small microwave and a cooler for the hotel room. She had no problem doing this but she had a lot of questions. This led me to conduct a Working Mother/Nursing 101 course about Medela Micro-Steam bags, breast pump tools, engorgement,  and all of that.

My mom was amazed and thought I deserved a medal.

Here is a brief list of other funny and WTH moments from this trip:

  • My mom didn’t want to use the cooler they brought so she called down to housekeeping to request a mini-refrigerator. She told the housekeeper that as a granny she shouldn’t be charged for the frig, so no, we did not pay for it.
  • My parents took the baby for a walk and lost his blanket – that was made by hubby and had belonged to my daughter when she was a baby. I told them not to worry about it. They went back and found it.
  • Housekeeping brought something up to my parents and the young lady mentioned she had a son close to my son’s age – and her son was already walking. My mom can be a bit competitive. Since son was not walking at the time – my mom told the housekeeper my son had a Ph.D. (Yes, at 8 months!)
  • I was at a reception during the conference and I told my parents they could come down with the baby as things were wrapping up. Coincidentally, my mother’s graduate advisor was at the reception. Random!
  • My mom does not like beignets.

Of course we had a great time on the trip, I mean it was in New Orleans! We celebrated my birthday and my parents had a chance to have some alone time with their favorite (and only) grandson.

My parents totally stepped up and let me do what I needed to do during the time I was working. They told me how proud they were of me in how I was balancing working and motherhood. They even commented on how smart I was to ask for help and not feel guilty about it.

Yes, they did a good job raising me to take care of myself. I know they felt good supporting me because once a parent – always a parent.

If you have work travel coming up and you have to take a granny nanny and/or manny pop-pop with you – strap on your seat belt and be ready for a crazy ride!



Share some of your multigenerational travel trips or stories from your multigenerational travel. We’d love to hear from you.

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International Mother’s Day {yes, more time to honor mom}

Did you think Mother’s Day was over?

Nope, not quite yet.

My father-in-law sends roses to my mother-in-law every year on Mother’s Day

Many parts of Latin America, specifically México, are celebrating Mother’s Day today. May 11 is International Mother’s Day, so we’ve still got a lot of celebrating to do.

I enjoyed an easy and relaxing Mother’s Day this past weekend. My multigenerational family planned a low-key and delightful celebration for my mother-in-law and me.

I was able to sleep-in until about 8:00 a.m. My youngest was eager to get the day started and he wanted to make some projects.

Hubby and the kids took me on a brunch picnic. It was a gorgeous day and we spent much of it outside enjoying each other’s company.

Visiting the new chocolatier was amazing. I was happy they had some non-dairy-nut-egg treats for the four-year-old. He was happy to gobble them up.

Taking a moment to cool off in the creek was a must. It was hard to get the kids out of there so we could go home for my afternoon nap.

Hubby and our 11-year-old prepared a simple and delicious dinner for my mother-in-law and me. We sat on the back deck, talked, listened to music, laughed, and ate – while the 4-year-old made mud cakes. The cards and gifts were mostly handmade – which is something my mother-in-law and I both cherish.

As I sat there observing my multigenerational family and watching them interact joyously, I felt content and blessed. I thought back to my amazing grandmothers and wondered how it would have been to live with them, as I grew up, full-time.

My hubby did have the opportunity to live with his maternal grandparents for a while and he has some great stories to share. (Maybe he’ll write a guest about this.)

Hubby’s twin brother – Grandma Martha (maternal grandmother)

So to all you amazing moms out there – I hope you realize and acknowledge your accomplishments in raising beautiful, healthy, and happy families. Cherish the mothers who helped nurture you to do this important work of mothering.

My mother-in-law holding her twin sons (my hubby is on the right) – Grandma Martha (maternal grandmother) – Hubby’s sister – Great-Grandma Sarah (maternal great-grandmother)

As your families honor you – remember to honor yourself through self-care and self-love. It may not seem like it – but there should always be time for moms to take care of themselves and to model this for their families.

Grandma Martha (maternal grandma) with hubby (center) and his siblings – family farm in Minnesota

If you feel you are falling short in this area (self-care & self-love) – stop and ask for help. Maybe your mother-in-law needs to move in to help you out.



Here’s a simple and fun craft project – Mother’s Day inspirational cubes.


Multigenerational vacation in Italy {guest post}

by Andrea Salvo

In our family, we are not strangers to multigenerational travel, and certainly not strangers to Italy. However, our trip in the summer of 2007 was unique to me in that I hadn’t been to Italy with my grandfather and had never been to the town in which he was born.

The trip started out with a bang, our flight to Philadelphia was canceled, which meant we would not be making our connection to Rome, and would need to reroute13 people  to Italy in the middle of July, not an easy task. With 6 people working simultaneously we all ended up in a limousine to Toronto, to catch a plane on a different airline, our bags following in their own bus behind.

Once we actually arrived, luckily no-one was left in Rome as was threatened by the airline, the adventures began! We piled into two large white vans, ours was dubbed “The Magic Bus” and we navigated these beasts through the narrow streets of Reggio Calabria, in the southernmost part of Italy.

By the time we arrived at our home away from home, Sayonara, I was surprised we were all still talking. Whatever stress we had was forgotten as we approached our destination and my broken English speaking grandmother stated, “There it is, I told you, go straight, straight then turn around.” Thank goodness for her navigation skills!

We visited with our cousins and great aunt who still live in San Ferdinando. We met old neighbors and extended family. For the most part we remained a large group which meant considerable dinner tables. The dinner crowd grew to massive proportions when our Italian family members joined. We had one evening of pizza, french fries (the Italian side dish to pizza), and salad with approximately 29 people at the table. It was a typical Italian scene.

On day five my Mother decided we needed an adventure. My sisters, cousin and parents loaded into the Magic Bus and we made our way to the breathtaking landscape of the Amalfi Coast. If you ever find yourself in Positano in the middle of July, and you stumble upon an old man selling homemade lemon ice from a cart, get some, and then go back for more.

The trip culminated in yet another road trip. This time I hopped into the bus with my grandmother, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, and three cousins. Our destination was Montadoro or mountain of gold, where we would spend three days celebrating the feast of St. Joseph. My maternal grandmother and my father were both born in Montadoro, so when we arrived, we were greeted by my father and his entire family.

We spent three days with my father’s family and my grandmother stayed with her family. On the night of the feast my grandmother had tears in her eyes as she walked in the procession, through the streets of her town, two generations in tow. She pointed out the house she grew up in and the balcony from where her grandfather was once assaulted by a woman’s dirty water, a story we heard often as kids.

On our way back to the main land, which included a six hour drive and one hour ferry ride, we made sure to stop at a gas station and get Panini. In Italy, the best Panini are sold in the gas stations. Add to that the most decadent snacks and exquisite coffee and you might begin to understand why I always look forward to an Italian road trip. My grandmother treated us to yet another of her famous one liners when she stated, “I feel like I was born and raised in this bus.” We quote all of her pearls of wisdom from that trip to this day.

Not only were we multigenerational we were multifamily. In total we had three generations and members from five different families intertwined at any given time. To be certain, I will never forget that trip. I may go back to Italy once a year, but Italy they way it was in 2007 will be a place I visit only in pictures and memories.


Andrea Salvo is a wife and mother who lives in Broomfield, Colorado. Andrea enjoys reading, cycling, dancing, cooking, and spending quality time with the ones she loves.  Andrea’s days are filled with taking care of her beautiful daughter and working as a School Counselor. She takes pride in mentoring young teenagers to find their purpose and talents and to live their best life.


Share some of your multigenerational travel trips or stories from your multigenerational travel. We’d love to hear from you.

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