Tag Archives: work/life balance

Father’s Day 2011 {reflections from my hubby}

Written by Tahllee

As we approach another Father’s day… reminded by the marketing engine that is alive and well – despite the development of advanced remotes that allow one to fast forward… I reflect on being a Father in the multigenerational home.

For me the multigenerational home brings freedom and a new level of being content.  Our arrangement really makes it easier to juggle all the demands and desires that I have in my life.

It is an opportunity that provides special moments, expanded knowledge and understanding of the world, new discussion topics, reminders of moments from my childhood that I had forgotten, increased awareness of diverse perspectives, and evolution of relationships.

The years continue to zoom by with valuable life lessons experienced at an accelerated pace.  My relationship with my wife, with my kids, with my mother have all benefited from the opportunities and challenges of life in the multigenerational house.

Years ago, before we were a multigenerational home, I remember reflecting at that time that I had not done a great job that year.  My balancing act was off.  I spent too much time at the office and too much mental energy trying to solve work related challenges.

I had judged myself and was failing in what really matters.

I always had choices but I was allowing the perceived reality and perceived importance of my current projects to control too much of my life.

Now that I am older and what I believe is wiser, I try to control less, put my energy were it matters, and give more. I pass on opportunities that might seem important but at a more core belief – will just serve as yet another distraction.

Multigenerational living teaches us to slow down and enjoy today while not forgetting the future.  We have constant reminders and motivation to balance these aspects of life.

Live with a plan, but have enough flexibility for life.  Giving, receiving, caring and sharing are important for all families but are especially important in the multigenerational house.

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What is my favorite thing to do for Father’s Day?

Grill something tasty without it being a competition, go camping with the family, see a great baseball game at Coors Field (go Rockies) – or all the above.

What do I want for Father’s Day this year?

To have the ones that I love know how special they are and that I love them.

Do what is important in life – don’t get distracted by the unimportant – and celebrate our small successes and victories!

Have a wonderful Father’s Day!

***

Tahllee is the father of two kids and has been married to Kanesha since 1998. He is a research scientist in the aerospace industry and values a good work-life balance.  He also lived in a multigenerational household while growing up.

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The Granny Nanny: An interview with Lois Young-Tulin, Ph.D

Dr. Young-Tulin was gracious enough to spend some time with me as I talked about her role and book about being a granny nanny.

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I was very excited to find out about your book and I have read most of it. It’s perfect for a multigenerational family or anyone considering this family set-up. Can you tell us why you decided to write The Granny Nanny guidebook?

I decided to write The Granny Nanny when I first learned that I was going to be a grandmother and I knew that I wanted to be a hands-on, involved grandmother.  Although I had a career and busy life, I consciously decided to schedule consistent times to be an active part of my grandchild’s life. I knew that parenting norms had changed since I was a mother, and I wanted to learn more about the “new” rules of childcare.

I feel so grateful my mother-in-law came to live with us when my husband and I were expecting our second child. She offered to come help us with childcare and we opened the doors to our home. How did you decide to become a granny nanny for your grandchildren?

Both my son and daughter-in-law worked, and they needed someone to babysit. I knew that becoming a granny nanny would be a help to the parents; thus, I and the other grandmother arranged to alternate babysitting days. It was an amazing decision, and during the first 3 years of my grandson’s life, my grandson and I established a very close and loving bond.

That sounds wonderful.

I’m an only child and my husband has an older sister and a twin brother. His twin brother seemed the most upset about their mother (my mother-in-law) relocating to move-in with us because the twin brother wasn’t consulted. What were your other children’s reactions to you helping your older son (and his family) with their first baby?

My other children’s reactions were very positive, and they were reassured that I would do the same for any children they may have. Lo and behind, when my second son and his wife had a baby, I went to New York once a week where they lived and babysat and was an active granny nanny once again.

You are amazing!

You mentioned your maternal grandmother lived with you while you were growing up. What was that like?

It had its ups and downs. My maternal grandmother’s presence was a chance for my sister and me to bond with our grandmother and learn about our family history. On the other hand, her presence in our everyday lives at times created tension between my parents – - the proverbial mother-in-law syndrome.

Got it.

It is true that parenting has changed a lot and continues to evolve. My husband and I spend a lot of time having discussions (talking it out) with our children instead of just demanding they do something. I know this was an adjustment in parenting for my mother-in-law.

What was the largest (or oddest) parenting adjustment you had to make when you started caring for your grandson?

A lot of the parenting rules had changed such as babies sleeping on their backs, car seats and better safety rules. Once I learned the improved safety rules, it was a breeze. I always made it a point to abide by the parents’ rules, even if they differed from those rules I had followed as a parent.  Time out was a new concept for me as the grandchildren got a little older. Old familiar “Sesame Street” was still around, so some things hadn’t changed.

That’s so funny you mention the time-out. My mother-in-law was resistant to time-outs, initially.

Things can get tricky with a granny nanny when it comes to compensation. My husband and I did not want any issues in this department so we pay my mother-in-law a monthly stipend. How are you compensated when caring for your grandchildren?

My compensation was love and lots of hugs and kisses.  When I would arrive to babysit, the babies instant recognition of me and the smiles were compensation enough. I also felt good about helping out my sons and daughters-in-law and making their lives easier.

That made me smile when you said that.


Did you have to consider any health or physical limitations when you took on the role of being a granny nanny?

My biggest limitation was my spinal stenosis, which sometimes limited my ability to climb up and down stairs once my sons moved to houses. Other than that, I did fine at playgrounds and playing on the floor with them.

What are the top five benefits of being a granny nanny?

  1. Bonding with my grandchildren.
  2. Enriching my life and my grandchildren’s lives and having fun together.
  3. Being a grandmother is a chance to nurture again and to even do it better.
  4. The sense of continuity for me and for my grandchildren making a difference in their lives.
  5. Becoming even closer with my son and daughters-in-law by being a consistent part of their lives.

What are the top five drawbacks of being a granny nanny?

  1. Learning to keep your mouth shut is paramount. Even if I disagree with how they might parent, I had to learn to say nothing.
  2. Being a granny nanny takes consistency and commitment. This may mean missing a lunch out with friends because I promised to babysit.
  3. When my son moved to Florida, I missed my grandson and had a difficult adjustment to not seeing him regularly after 3 years of babysitting twice a week.
  4. The maternal grandmother is naturally closer to the baby’s mother. As the paternal grandmother I had to establish a relationship with my daughter-in-law and accept the fact that she is in the habit of calling her mother daily and confiding more in her.
  5. I’m careful not to interfere and to be respectful of the parents. As the paternal grandmother, I know that I have to be careful of what I say to my daughter-in-law.

I love what you said about the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. (When can you come over for wine to hang with my mother-in-law and me?)

Anything else to add?

Grandmothers have been given a unique opportunity to enrich your life and the lives of your children and grandchildren, and their entire extended families. Make some conscious decisions, make some focused time, and give unselfishly of your love.

Thank you, Lois.


 

 

 

Learn more about Lois Young-Tulin, Ph.D.

You can purchase The Granny Nanny guidebook at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Images:  Dr. Young-Tulin, The Granny Nanny, Grandma Snuggle, Swimming, Reading
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Mom Talk Radio with Maria Bailey: multigenerational living & balance

Hey IAFN readers,

Kanesha was thrilled to talk with Maria Bailey on Mom Talk Radio.

Be sure to check out the April 3, 2011  – Mom’s Roundtable.

Kanesha talks about a balanced life and how multigenerational living supports this (at about 20:36).

There are many other great topics on the April 3 show. Be sure to sure to check them out!

 

20:36 (time)

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Yes, my mother-in-law lives with us. No, I’m not kidding!

“If you want to find your passion, know your life’s purpose, meet your soul mate, or feel intensely alive, don’t look toward the fun things that fit logically into the flow of an easy life. Ask yourself, “What am I running away from?” Whatever that thing is, turn around. Walk toward it. Face it and conquer it, or die trying. “—Martha Beck

This quote from Martha Beck takes me back to 2006-2007 when my husband and I were discussing the reasons why it would be beneficial for his mother to move in with us. Sure it sounded great…our then 8-year-old and our new baby would be able to spend more time with their paternal grandmother – who would no longer live in Minnesota. We wouldn’t have to worry about before and after school care for our daughter, and I wouldn’t need to stress about some stranger(s) caring for my newborn and IF they would (or would not) feed him breast milk. AND I didn’t have to stop working full-time.

I was thinking I may be able to have two kids, a traveling husband, a career, and some work/life balance. BONUS!  (Oh did I mention I was two months into my new job when I found out I was pregnant? Yeah, that’s a different post at a different time!)

This was a great and simple decision, yes? NO!

I kept thinking, “Is this the right thing to do? Am I STUPID? Will it work? OMG, my mother-in-law will see me, ALL THE TIME, in my natural state. Ugh..my feet are swollen and I feel FAT!”

At the time, this potential living arrangement didn’t seem logical, but it seemed super practical. I’d never lived with my mother-in-law. My husband is great and she raised him, sooooo…this couldn’t be all bad, right? I decided in March 2007, when my mother-in-law was in town visiting before the baby was born (May 2007), that I would just try this multigenerational living arrangement and not over-analyze.

For us, embracing the full nest, instead of suffering through the full nest syndrome, made complete sense.

I didn’t run away. I walked toward it and faced it. Our multigenerational living arrangement will be three years old in July 2010. Everyone is still alive and thriving!  Hallelujah!!

Could your in-laws live with you? Why or why not? Tell us the truth!

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