Since May is the month for mothers, we are devoting our blog entries to these moms. We will give tips for moms at all stages of life--new moms, moms of toddlers, step-moms and grandmothers. Every child and every day bring new experiences and new challenges. If prepared, these changes will be easier to handle.
You've raised your own, they're out of the house, and it's nice and quiet. Until...the grandchildren arrive! Suddenly, your home becomes an obstacle course, and Saturday evenings include diaper changes again. Here are some tips to help you get through the years and still have your own life.
• First and foremost--Take Care of YOU! You are the most important person in your life. If you can't function, you can't help or nurture others.
• Set boundaries. Don't let your children take advantage of free babysitting. Offer to help, but don't let it take over your life. If you want two or three days a week for your own activities, let your children know up front what days you are/are not available.
• Baby proof your home again. This is especially important with prescription medications and cleaning supplies. Meds can look like candy--don't leave your pills laying around.
• If you are watching your grandchildren on a regular basis, purchase your own toys and equipment so mom and dad don't have to pack it up all the time. This will also be safer for the child, rather than improvising things like stacked phone books on a chair instead of a booster seat.
• Have extra clothing on hand for emergency changes.
• Only do what you are capable of. If you have a bad back, don't offer to watch toddlers that are heavy to lift. If you don't have an approved car seat, don't offer to drive them to day care or pre-school.
• Follow mom and dad's rules. If they say 'no' to something like soda pop for a toddler, don't go behind their backs.
• When you are looking to downsize, keep the family situation in mind. Are you babysitting on a regular basis? Are the children older? Do they stay overnight for visits? Are there amenities close by or on the grounds that they could enjoy also?
• Don't empty your home by giving everything to your children/grandchildren. Ask them what they want, and let them have those items. Then give away the rest. Don't clutter their homes with things they won't appreciate as much as you did.
• Ask for help. If you can't downsize, pack and move all at the same time, hire some help. Save your time for the important things--yourself and your family.