Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

If the writer in you can't wait to break free, check out the following opportunity - Boomer Women Speak JUNE-JULY Writing Contest:

A Lesson I've Learned

We've all had them. Those “life lessons” that make us stop and think, possibly see the world, our environment, or even ourselves in a different light - the lessons we'll never forget. Some call them “Aha” moments.

Who was your mentor? Was it a teacher, a parent, or your best friend who helped to open your eyes and heart to learn? Maybe even a boyfriend? Or was it man's best friend, a pet? No matter who taught you or how you learned, we all agree that, over time, they are truly unforgettable. What is that one particular lesson that stands out in your mind? Did it change the course of your life? Or maybe it wasn't life-altering, but it helped to shape the person you are today. Whatever you lesson, send us your story by entering our contest and win prizes!

Deadline: July 31, 2007

Entry Fee: NONE


The winner's story will be placed in the Our Voices section at Boomer Women Speak and she will receive the following:

$50.00 CASH!

FREE membership or renewal for the National Association of Baby Boomer Women, NABBW, the only association devoted to addressing issues concerning 38 million of the healthiest, wealthiest and best educated generation of women to ever hit midlife.

Baby Boomer's Almanac, by Tim Brolus

What Happens Next, by Chloe JonPaul

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Throne, by Georgia Richardson

Guidelines at

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Father's day was a big gathering at our place. It all began 10 years ago when our son's fraternity brothers who had settled in Los Angeles got together with their dads for a softball game. It became an annual event. Last Sunday, with children, parents and in-laws, we numbered more than 60.

What nostalgia - when it seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating our fathers and playing with our young children. What a pleasure to see our children as parents themselves. Time really does fly.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

With more flexibility in your beliefs about communication between the sexes, you can begin to appreciate and integrate the unique opinions and attitudes of the men who mean the most to you. Here are more comments from our poll.

Adam reflected on the process he and his second wife were still working on in couples’ counseling. “I’m committed to being fully present, to making requests and talking about what I need instead of complaining. I'm also trying to satisfy my wife’s requests and needs. This has become the core dynamic of our successful life together. We'll schedule appointments to sit down and talk without distractions, then make agreements based on what is best for ‘us’. Sometimes we revisit these agreements a month later but usually not. But we both try to compromise and avoid resentment.”

Like Adam, Carl was in the midst of a learning curve, thanks to the intervention of couples’ therapy. He was discovering the benefit of bringing feelings to conscious awareness as well as the value of sometimes even keeping his thoughts to himself. “I’m determined not to overplay my hand. My two older brothers taught me to be brutal and use my words like a weapon. I need to remember to slow down, to be patient. Especially since my wife is a person with a particularly painful background and certain fears.”

When Jeremy closed his business he was worried about adjusting to an unstructured lifestyle. Retirement has brought many gifts to him and his wife, including fuller and deeper conversations. He attributes this in part to being under less pressure. He also gives specific credit to his own efforts. “Retirement has made it easier to talk to my wife. I’m no longer driven by making it in the business world or by work deadlines. I’m trying to be more reflective as well as more positive. My wife appreciates that. It’s obvious that my change in attitude has made a difference. She is more responsive to me and to what I need from her.”

As you can see, not all men think alike. This Father's Day give the gift of understanding to your partner, your Father, your brothers and your sons.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Have you bought into the commercialism of Father's Day, thinking fancy ties and expensive tools would bring you closer - only to find that you still want better communication with the important man in your life?

According to research findings on the effectiveness of marital therapy, communication was one of the most commonly reported and difficult to manage problems in marriage. It is well known that discrepancies in how men and women talk to each other can lead to further conflict as the partners begin to focus blame on themselves, each other or on the quality of the relationship.

Regardless of differences in attitude and opinion, long term partnerships often credit their relationship success to positive verbal interactions. Here, over the next couple of weeks, we'll share what a random selection of men had to say in a recent poll we took.

• Stuart indicated that it took a lot of attention and conscious thought to improve communication with his partner. “We need to give each other space because when our arguments escalate we have little resolution. Empathy is important, and I’m working hard on developing that. When I don’t think my wife’s criticisms are justified, I get defensive and upset. Often I don’t want to let her down so I try to fix it, whatever the problem is. Eventually the issue is resolved and we both get over it.”

• Paul and his wife have been married for thirty years and they have gradually learned how to deal with one another. “We can sense each other’s moods and we communicate well most of the time. We try to understand, even if we disagree. On occasion we both are stubborn and see things only our own way. We usually don’t change our opinions very much. But while we are fighting the battles, we think about the war. What is this all about? Is it really that important?"

• Tim was sensitive to criticism and sometimes shied away from confrontations. “Usually I can say what I’m thinking and what I want. I feel comfortable communicating without being demeaned or laughed at by my wife. If we have an inconsequential argument, one usually gives in or we compromise. But when we have significant disagreements I withdraw first and then we talk later. In the kinds of situations that can lead to further misunderstanding, sometimes I don’t totally share my feelings.”

Let us know your thoughts and stay tuned for more next week.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sometimes it takes a dramatic event to remind us of the importance of friends and family relationships. This week I attended three ceremonies representing different parts of my family - a wedding, a funeral, and a baby naming.

At the wedding I was reminded how emotionally satisfying it feels to welcome new members into the circle of closeness. They can never really understand the shared memories of the past but they can be a part of the new ones that are created together. At the funeral, spending time with cousins that I hadn't seen in a long time, I was taken back to the innocence and fun of our past times together, never expecting that one day they would end. The letting go was hard, but the connections remain forever. And, of course, the baby naming was full of the hope for the future that we all share as we deal with the vagaries of each day. This little baby, a mixture of two cultures, especially represented the optimism of a new start as two very different families were cemented together by one precious new life.

Looking back on the very full week, I was thankful that I could experience the emotional roller coaster ride with my friends and extended family - it was certainly an example of the Circle of Life.