Enjoy your Children and Grandchildren

 

 Blessed with children and blessed again with grandchildren.

Children and then grandchildren…both relationships uniquely special.

In retirement, in an ideal world, we’re finally finished with the anxiety of launching our children into the world of adulthood.  Hopefully, they are grown up, finished with school, working, and married with children, but they are still our children and will always be part of our “primary family.”

They, however, have spouses and children of their own, and we now have a different status.  Even though we revel in the freedom from responsibility that adult children embody, some retirees can feel abandoned by their grown children.  Some others have difficult relationships with their adult children for any number of reasons.

In “Mothers and Their Adult Daughters:  Mixed Emotions, Enduring Bonds,”  Karen L. Fingerman, Ph.D. argues, “The parent-offspring relationship in modern America is based more on emotional affection than on economic or cultural imperatives.”

In other words, adult children who stay in close touch with their parents do it because they like them and like to spend time with them.  That’s the secret. We want them to want to be with us. It’s a choice.

Here are some suggestions to make that happen.

  • Don’t talk about how long it’s been since you’ve seen/ had a text from/ or talked on the phone with them. You’re trying to tell them that you love them, but what they’re hearing is a whole heap of guilt.  It’s better to say (when they finally do call), “Hi!  I’m so glad to talk to you.”
  • “How can you live like this?” is not a good way to start a conversation. Have you forgotten what it was like to try to work, do kids’ sports, teach Sunday school, and get Christmas ready?  Something’s got to give, and in my house back in the day, it was the housework. Here’s a good place to employ the 50-year-rule.  What difference is a clean bathroom when compared to a happy kid?
  • Don’t make your kids take sides in your own marital problems. The prevalence of divorce in our generation has made some big family occasions more awkward than they were in an earlier time.

Try to get along when everyone is together, and make it easy for   them if that’s  impossible.

I have one friend who does Christmas with her adult children early in December so that they can spend the actual day of Christmas with her ex-husband and his  present wife. The appreciation she receives from the children is worth the sacrifice.

A few more tips for “children and grandchildren” happiness.

  • Make sure that your adult children know how much you love them. Embrace them and tell them so.  It’s not all about the grandchildren.
  • Have fun with your adult children. Take them out to dinner without the grandchildren.  Meet as adults.
  • Be a cheerleader for your children. Share their good news with them with genuine joy.
  • Treat your grown children with respect. It’s hard to give up the role of advice-giver.  Just listen and act as a sounding board.  This is difficult!  Sometimes I have to bite my tongue.
  • Accept your family relationships the way they are and not the way you would like them to be. It’s not “over the river and through the woods” anymore!

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”              Elizabeth Stone

I have two children happily married and four teen-aged grandchildren.  This is a wonderful phase in our “richly aged” retirement lives.  Enjoy it everyday! It adds to our richness.

Homework:  Give hugs to all of them, even if they are cyber hugs.

Dixie

richlyaged.com

writers@richlyaged.com

Retirement 11: Outline Your Ideal Retirement Life – Embrace Happiness

Know what you want and go and get it!

Before you begin to plan the nuts and bolts of your ideal retirement, make the life-changing decision to embrace happiness.   This may not be as simple as it sounds, but it can be done.  So much of how we feel is a decision.  Consider the example of Abraham Lincoln.

President Lincoln said that we’re just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.  That’s truly amazing when you consider that he suffered from melancholia (clinical depression) and that he had recently lost a beloved son and was responsible for steering the nation through a brutal Civil War.

If Lincoln could decide to be happy, surely we could give it a try!  Here are some proven ways to raise our level of happiness.

Proven Happy-Makers

1.  Be non-judgmental. This doesn’t mean you don’t have standards.  It just means that you’re willing to take people as they are.  We can never change the other person; all we can change is our reaction to that person. Continue reading Retirement 11: Outline Your Ideal Retirement Life – Embrace Happiness

Retirement 10: Pay Yourself First

Accept and be good to yourself. 

Begin by being as good to yourself as you’d be to a friend.  Most of us tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. Pay yourself first.

Think back to the times that you’ve been far more accepting and forgiving to others in your life than you were to yourself and see if you can’t cut yourself some slack.  There’s nothing selfish in that.

Special gifts just for you.

Gift yourself first
Be good to yourself.

Start by doing things that enrich you – your body, your mind, and your soul.  Find things that nurture you and make you feel good about yourself.  They can be big things – traveling to South America – or small things – learning to bake the perfect pie!

Increase your self esteem and self confidence.

Applying these gifts to your life will increase your sense of self and your self-confidence.  Research echoes these suggestions.  Take a look at this excerpt from Psychology Today.

“As we learn better self-care, we become better people in general. When we are in touch with our own feelings, we can then reach out more effectively to others and show love and empathy to them also.

If we are filling our own emotional tanks with self-respect and loving care, we have much more to give to our families, friends, and the world in general.”

Enjoy these “gifts” for you.   A few suggestions for self-acceptance follow: Continue reading Retirement 10: Pay Yourself First

Retirement 2: Say Yes the First Year of Retirement

 

Yes sign
Say Yes! the first year of retirement.

Say yes invites you to do new things for the whole first year of retirement.  You can pare down and be selective after that.

Before retirement, our lives are pretty much consumed by the time on the job and the ancillary time required to get to and from the job, prepare meals, oversee the household responsibilities and carve a little time for immediate friends and family.

In today’s rapid-paced fast lane, most opportunities not directly related to “the career” are categorized as “back burner.”  Sometimes that burner never gets revisited while the front burner gets “burned out.”

Now you have the luxury of time.  If you plan thoughtfully, you will have the absence of “hurry.”  That formula should result in life fulfillment and self-actualization.  You can try on different shoes to see what’s the most comfortable fit for this new phase of your life.

Be available

Your neighbors, friends, and family are used to having you available for snatches of time before or after work. They have been conditioned to respect your constraints and not bother you for what may be trivial. They have a routine in their lives that hasn’t included you, their too-busy friend. Host a little “getting to know you” brunch at your home to get reacquainted. It would be fun!

The good news is that you are available now!  Go to an unhurried lunch. Take a relaxed shopping trip. Play a round of golf. Attend a class. The list is endless.  This is the time to reach out to friends and neighbors and let them know that you would like to be included. Continue reading Retirement 2: Say Yes the First Year of Retirement

Positive Aging: How To Be Your Own Valentine

Be your own valentine for a perfect Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day – though unbelievably commercial –  can be nice.  Hearts and flowers and candy.  What’s not to like?  That’s all well and good if you’re getting hearts and flowers and candy.  But what if you’re not?  Positive aging means more than just being positive about other people!

We’re often so busy – even in retirement – taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves.  Here’s a solution to that problem. Continue reading Positive Aging: How To Be Your Own Valentine

Baby Boomers Struggle with Senior Marketing

Senior mail- did someone put an”S” for senior on my mailbox? Bringing in the Mail.

I went out to get the mail this week and walked inside with three exciting offers:

  1. one for a free dinner to talk about hearing aids,
  2. one for a free dinner to discuss cremation options, and
  3. one for (you guessed it!) a free dinner to talk over the benefits of purchasing an annuity.

Geez!  I used to get catalogs for lingerie from Frederick’s of Hollywood which, at least, had an element of fantasy!   Those days are long gone.

Dinner Discussions?

Continue reading Baby Boomers Struggle with Senior Marketing