Family Relationships

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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Super Granny: Great Stuff To Do With Your Grandkids

Author and grandmother Sally Wendkos Olds is here today to talk about her new book. Super Granny: Great Stuff to do with Your Grandkids. It's an up-to-the-minute 21st century treasure trove of activities that help grandmothers enjoy, communicate, and really connect with their grandchildren.

Activities in the book are grouped by age, from infancy to adolescence, with something for the most computer-savvy granny and kid, along with more traditional projects. Handy icons throughout the book help pinpoint projects that suit your pocketbook, energy level, and interests. A bonus is the listing of current, informative Web sites to follow up suggestions in the book.

Especially fun for us is that Rosemary's concept of writing poems to her grandchildren is one of the 75 stories highlighted by Sally.

NR: Why did you write Super Granny?

Sally: When some of my friends have heard about a few of the things I’ve done with my grandchildren, they have become really interested and conversely I have learned so much from hearing about what my friends who are grandparents do with their grandchildren that I thought it would be fun to share some of the activities that both generations enjoy.

Also, writing about this stage of life feels like a natural progression for me – other books of mine have covered breastfeeding, working parenthood, sexual turning points throughout life, and other aspects of child & adult development.

NR: What are some things you have done with your own grandkids?

Sally: I've done all kinds of things: art in the bathtub, make-a-plate, emailing, composing on the computer, going to school for Grandparents’ Day, having a personal library of children’s books, jogging together, text-messaging with teens - even though we're so much slower than they are!

Some ideas I've gotten from other grandparents are: letting the children eat dessert first, creating art from seashells, taking a grandchild to breakfast, making a birth book or a group quilt, and of course, as Rosemary does, writing poems for and to your grandchildren.

NR: How are today’s grandmothers different from those in the past?

Sally: Today’s grandmothers are more likely to be working, to be physically active, to be technologically proficient, to have really busy lives. We’re similar, though, to grandmothers of the past in treasuring this special relationship and wanting to be emotionally close to our grandchildren, even when we can’t be physically close.

NR: How does your book help grandmothers who live far from their grandchildren?

Sally: There are so many activities that speak to the needs of these grandmothers & their grandchildren. I was especially sensitive to grandmothering across the miles because I live this situation. None of my grandchildren have ever lived closer than a 2-hour drive away, and 3 of them have lived either on the west coast of the U.S. or in Europe, while I have lived in New York. I have stayed emotionally close to my grandchildren, and so in Super Granny I emphasized some ways other grandmothers can do this. Special icons in the book point to activities especially good for long-distance grandmothering. Some examples are: email, writing special letters or poems, talking and seeing each other through services like Skype & webcams, texting, digital photos, shared vacations, making videos, family blogging.

NR: In today’s economy, a lot of grandmothers have to cut back on spending. What suggestions do you have for activities that don’t cost much?

Sally: Almost all the activities in the book cost little or nothing. These activities are specially marked as being either free or “dirt-cheap.” Some examples are: making a birth book; teaching babies to sign, playing games; fostering creativity in music, arts, and crafts; taking them shopping at thrift and secondhand stores; becoming your family’s cultural historian; sharing inexpensive sports like jogging, softball, cycling; involving grandkids in your political and civic activities.

NR: On the other hand, what are some activities worth splurging on?

Sally: Creating memories by giving grandchildren special experiences, like taking them away for a weekend or more; taking them to performances like the circus or theater; skiing, river-rafting, and pursuing other expensive activities with them; encouraging charitable giving; creating & publishing your own family book; taking them on a Segway tour. I spent a wonderful day with my 7-year-old granddaughter at the American Girl Store café in New York. Super Granny offers suggestions to make such experiences well worth the financial outlay.

NR: Why is it more rewarding to see grandchildren without their parents?

Sally: The grandparent/grandchild connection is unique. Seeing the child alone helps you forge this special relationship without having to worry about treading on the toes of the parent, or being too presumptuous, or not knowing just what your boundaries are. Also when the parent isn’t present, you’re the primary caregiver, confidante, companion. The child turns to you with questions, requests for help, and confidences, and is often freer to ask questions she/he might not ask a parent.

NR: Why is it better to see only one grandchild at a time?

Sally: It enables you to have a more intimate relationship than when more than one grandchild is present. You don’t have to worry about lavishing too much attention on one child rather than another, or choosing among activities for different ages. You can devote yourself totally to the one you’re with.

NR: Thank you for joining us today, Sally. We agree that Super Granny is the ultimate resource for today’s super grannies, with super-powers to captivate the grandkids! If any of you have questions for Sally or want to share your own ways of connecting with your grandkids, send them in and Sally will respond today or tomorrow. And click on the title above to take you to Sally's webpage highlighting all of her books.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You're Still a Grandmother After a Divorce or Second Marriage

When you are part of the special kind of non-traditional grandparenting that is becoming more and more common today, the most important word to remember is flexibility.

If you son or daughter has divorced, you might be concerned that you will lose some contact with your grandchild, especially if the situation is strained between the parents after the split. You may find that it is useful to maintain a relationship with your child's ex in order to spend more time with your grandkids. It's a touchy subject and you'll find it helps to discuss it in depth with your own child. In any case, your time with the grandkids is likely to be determined by which parent has custody of them that day rather than when you want to see them. So you'll need to be flexible in your planning.

No matter how you feel about the divorce, you know that it is hard for your grandchild to lose the presence of either parent, even if the stability of the marriage was already rocky for a time. The children may blame themselves for the divorce and act out behaviorally, making it difficult for you to control them or they may withdraw from you, fearing you will leave too. Help them adapt by being loving and accepting of their feelings. Avoid criticizing either parent to your grandson or granddaughter so that they do not feel uncomfortable and that their loyalty is being tested when they are with you.

Flexibility and patience are also called for if you become a step-grandmother. You will need to give your new grandchildren time to accept you, so begin slowly. They probably have already formed relationships with their birth grandparents so don't try to rush them into considering you they same way. Let them know that you are not trying to take the place of their other grandparents, but only to add to their circle of caring adults. Learn about them - their early years, their interests and talents, their personalities. Keep your expectations realistic as you build a relationship that leads to love between you.

For help with your grandkids when your children have divorced, click on the title above to take you to our article on the website, How Support from the Sandwich Generation Can Help Britney Spears.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Long-distance Grandmothers

When your grandchildren live far away, you probably don't have the opportunity to see them more than every few months, particularly in this economy. Here the most salient issue is building connections. Likely you will need to enlist the aid of your adult children and children-in-law to help you form the bonds between you and their kids. The way you do this will vary as they grow and will certainly flow from your own interests and creative talents. Whatever you choose, your efforts will be well worth it when you see how they remember you and experience their excitement on your next visit.

When your grandkids are babies, you will want to help them develop an impression of you. You can best do this by using all the sensations babies respond to. Let them begin to identify your voice by cooing to them on the phone or sending them tapes or CD's with your voice - singing, reading or speaking to them. They can begin to recognize your face from pictures of you in their room or on the computer via Skype. Have a special song or book that you share with them as you cuddle on each visit. Wear the same perfume - or even a dab of vanilla - every time you visit so that they learn to associate that with you.

As they begin to grow up, you can continue to use phone calls, letters, cards, Skype and emails between your trips to stay in touch. After you do visit, you may want to create a scrapbook for them of pictures and souvenirs from your time together. Their memories of you will be enhanced when they have something tangible to look at over and over again. You can write them stories or poems about some of the things you do together, with them as the star of the piece.

Learn about your grandchildren's activities and interests so you can engage and talk with them about topics that are meaningful to them. Pay attention to their friends when you attend their birthday parties or sports team events or special occasions - then you can ask about them later when you have returned home. Integrate what you find out and keep up with their changing activities. All of your efforts will help cement the connections between you.

For more tips on forming a close relationship with a grandchild who lives far away, click on the title above to go to our website and the article, Create Meaningful Bonds with Your Grandchildren Across the Miles.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Respectful Grandmothers

With Mother's Day just around the corner, we'll be highlighting all you 'Grand Mothers' this week. As you know, we come in all sizes as well as names - Grandma, Bubbe, Granny, Nana, Grams, or whatever special name your grandkids have for you. We have 10 grandchildren between us - living near and far; in preschool, grade school, college and beyond; from intact as well as blended families. What we share in common is our concern for them and our desire to maintain a loving relationship with them. This week we'll be talking about how to do just that.

Today we'll look at the important concerns revolving around grandkids who live nearby; tomorrow, significant issues for those who live far away; on Wednesday, chief relationship matters with step-grandchildren and those whose parents have divorced. On Thursday, we'll host Sally Olds, author of Super Granny: Great Stuff to Do with You Grandkids. And Friday, we'll wrap up with your feedback.

For any and every kind of grandmothering, the unifying concept for you to remember is respect - for your children, their partners, your grandkids, and for yourself. Treat everyone with the respect they deserve and value their individual needs and rights in the relationship. When you do that, you set the stage for creating strong bonds and enriched relationships between everyone in the family.

When your grandkids live nearby, you can enjoy the pleasure of being an integral part of their lives. You probably have the chance to spend time with them weekly, participate in significant events, and learn first-hand about their latest interests and achievements. The main concern here is boundaries - on all sides. It's vital for you not to over-step and usurp your adult children's authority, even as you pitch in to help them with their child-care duties. And it's just as imperative for you to retain your own personal identity and not become submerged into the role of grandmother only. You'll enjoy the relationship more when you also have some separation from it.

Click on the title above to take you to our newsletter, Stepping Stones, for an article with reflections on becoming a grandmother.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Susan Boyle, Boomers and Self Discovery

Susan Boyle had learning difficulties in school and was bullied. She said her classmates' taunts left behind the kind of scars that don't often heal. Can you imagine how the initial negative reactions from the talent show audience felt to her? It seems as if, according to society, you should have the physical ability to seduce if you’re going to be a torch singer. But when she sang about wasted youth and lost dreams, the crowd went wild. Don't we all love a surprise?

She's the classic underdog - shy, portly, middle-aged, nonthreatening and largely misunderstood. It happens to lots of people all the time. She didn't have boyfriends, is a stranger to romance and has 'never been kissed.' Singing was her salvation. On stage, courage could easily have failed her. Yet, in pursuing her long-held dreams, she managed to triumph over many disadvantages.

Susan Boyle is a reminder that it's time we all look a little deeper. She was a caring daughter and devoted companion, and has lived an important life. If you're a Baby Boomer, you're probably doing that too in some ways. So don't think of yourself as just one more person with no discernible talent. When life provides a stage, sing your heart out. You deserve the applause.

Click on this title to read one woman's story about Self Discovery at 52. That'll take you to and a past issue of 'Stepping Stones'. And while you're there, why not sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Susan Boyle and Beating the Odds

As boomers and members of the Sandwich Generation, you've likely been in the same place as Susan Boyle. Caring for aging parents is a huge responsibility. And if something has to give it's often time for yourself.

It may not be easy with the pressure you're under, but try to be happy in your own skin. Take one day at a time and make the most of your life as it is now. If, by chance, you become a sensation, stay humble and don’t let success go to your head. Appreciate your good fortune.

Susan Boyle's circumstances are highly unusual. It's almost unheard of to go from obscurity to notoriety so quickly. Although that might not be the case for you, imagine yourself having her strengths. Think about how you are courageuos and persistent. In many ways you've probably beat the odds. Click on the title above and read one woman's story about 'moterhing' her mother.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Like Susan Boyle, Finish the Song

Susan Boyle had several strikes against her - learning disabilities, anxiety from being bullied by classmates, the kind of scars that do not heal, according to her. But that didn't stop her. She went on to finish the song.

Can you relate to that? We've all had shaping experiences early in life and memories of being misrepresented or misunderstood. As Sandwiched Boomers, you're likely keeping lots of balls in the air and feeling the stress of that. Here are a couple of tips to help you keep going:

Don't be swayed by the attitude of others, no matter whether they sneer or cheer. Focus inward. Access the internal strength and confidence to move forward on your own steam. Pay attention only to what you're doing.

The unexpected can come at any time. Be prepared. Stay motivated as you practice your skills. And pretty soon, step by step, you'll turn your hopes and dreams into reality.

Click on the title to read an article on from our newsletter, Stepping Stones, on Managing Stress.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Susan Boyle's Message: Keep At It

So what does all this fanfare about Susan Boyle singing 'I Dreamed a Dream' have to do with you? Perhaps you don't think you have an inner vision or the power and persistence to reach your goals. But here are some ideas that'll help, whether or not you can belt out a heartbreaking ballad about unfulfilled dreams:

Learn about what is truly of value to you. Assess your character strengths and how they've helped you get what you've wanted before. How can you build on those assets now? Enlist your staying power and keep your eye on the goal.

Let your creativity run wild so that you see yourself from a different perspective. The initial step is just to begin the process. Then let your positive experiences provide the incentive to continue. There may be stumbling blocks along the way, but never give up.

Click on the title above to read a story on about Follow an Old Passion - Find a New Path. And tune in for more tips tomorrow.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Susan Boyle and 'I Dreamed a Dream'

Last week we all had a chance to learn a lesson from Susan Boyle when she sang 'I Dreamed a Dream' before judges in the trials of 'Britain has Talent.' What a surreal and thrilling moment for her. And what a wake-up call for the rest of us.

Her 15 minutes of fame aren't over yet with, so far, over 20 million views on YouTube. Why the viral nature of this phenomenon? Of course we're all pretty fed up with the media focus on teen pop stars and desperate for some good news or a heartfelt story. But is it that we're really looking for a role model whose character inspires us to follow our dreams?

In some ways Susan Boyle is everywoman. Her initial appearance onstage, with the negative reaction from the audience and judges, taps into insecurities we all have. Who hasn't felt frumpy or unattractive, unsure of ourselves or at a loss for words? Susan has lived a simple life and didn't expect to be so popular. She has been busy caring for her elderly mother and practicing her music. It makes you wonder, has our society been focused on the wrong things?

Tune in all week as we discuss the values and character strengths that can lead to personal success. And weigh in with your own ideas. In the meantime, click on the title above and read an article about Captain Sullenberger and what makes a hero.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Women are Heroes Too

All week we have been talking about the heroic actions of Captain Richard Phillips - as well as the crew of the Maersk and those who helped engineer and carry out his rescue. Typically heroism is thought of in ways that are more likely to be male - standing up to physical attackers, taking on frightening scenarios, suffering pain, fighting back. But so many women, Sandwiched Boomers or not, are real heroes every day, albeit in different ways.

Think you're not a hero? Well, think again.

It's brave to go to your place of work where your colleagues don't think you are as good as they are just because you are a woman. You work as hard as they do but don't make the same wages, yet you show up every day and do your best. Isn't that heroic?

You are determined to give your child the future she deserves. Even when you fear you won't be able to, you keep on trying and don't give up. Isn't that heroic?

Sitting with a friend who is going through chemotherapy, wiping her forehead as she throws up once again, is altruistic as well as loving. Isn't that heroic?

It's courageous to visit your mother in the Alzheimers' nursing home every week, knowing that she won't even know who you are. The pain of fighting back the tears, putting on a smile, using a soft voice, gently stroking her hand - when all the time you want to be shouting out, "Don't you remember who I am? Where are your memories?" Isn't that heroic?

As a Sandwiched Boomer, you are squashed between the needs of your growing children, aging parents, demanding career, loving spouse - and yet you manage to take care of everyone. Whether we call you a hero or heroine, you are the laudable center of your family. So congratulations - our hats are off to you!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Real Heroes Say Thank You

Somali pirates have vowed to attack other American ships and have tried to take over the Liberty Sun, only to be rebuffed by their crew. Secretary Gates believes that the US does not need to institute any new efforts to thwart future attacks. What do you think?

The crew of the Maersk Alabama arrived home to cheers today with Captain Phillips to follow soon. Let's look again at some of his heroic behavior that can inspire you.

Align yourself with a higher purpose. For Capt. Phillips, it was more important to protect his crew and their humanitarian cargo than himself. His altruistic perspective informed and directed his actions. You can build a meaningful life for yourself and your family as you form a strong connection to community, country, the world and spiritual power.

Say thank you. Capt. Phillips' first public statement upon reaching the USS Bainbridge was to thank his rescuers for giving him back his freedom. He tried to direct the spotlight away from him and towards them, labeling them the "real heroes" rather than himself. When you have been helped and nurtured by others in your quests, expressing your gratitude to them makes both you and they feel good. These two little words create a win-win situation for everyone.

Click on the title above to take you to our article, 5 Steps to Gratitude Despite a Tough Economy. It will help you learn how to express your gratitude.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Teamwork and Resiliency Pay Off

We are learning more details about how Captain Phillips was rescued from the pirates who were holding him hostage and threatening to kill him. Here are some of the strategies they used to save him. Can you, Sandwiched Boomer or not, use them in your own life as well?

Think outside the box. Capt. Phillips seemed to be going along with the pirates' commands but he stayed alert and constantly thought about what he could do, first, to save his crew and cargo and then himself. He paid attention to his captors' behavior and tried to escape, surprising them by jumping out into the ocean. When that attempt failed, he continued to be attentive to rescue efforts so that he could play his part. You too can be creative when you are faced with a seemingly impossible situation. Often you can improvise when a solution doesn't readily appear. Use your strength and develop resiliency. Your plan may not work at first but keep working on new plans to implement.

Recognize and use all your resources. The rescue of Capt. Phillips required the coordinated efforts of the U.S. Navy command, their ships and personnel, the Seals, merchant ships, the FBI, even President Obama. While you may not have these resources at your fingertips, you do have friends, extended family and community services to help you through the challenges you face. Learn to cooperate with others and use teamwork as you strategize and act to accomplish your goals.

When you click on the title above you can read an article on our website giving you some tips about how to use your personal resources to accomplish your goals, 8 Strategies to Turn Your New Year's Resolutions into Reality.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Practice and Train for Success

The crew of the Maersk Alabama is preparing to head home, with Captain Phillips soon to join them. Americans are cheering their actions and those of the Navy Seals who rescued Capt. Phillips. So how can you incorporate their heroic behaviors into your life?

Respect your job and take it seriously. Capt. Phillips is an alumnus of the Merchant Marine Academy where, undoubtedly, he was trained about what to do in numerous emergency situations. He had a plan to protect his ship and crew and immediately instituted it when the pirates attacked. Train hard for your job and give it the significance it deserves. If you are a Sandwiched Boomer, your work at home is just as important as your career. Pay attention to what is going on in your family and have contingency plans for how to keep members safe.

Don't give up, even when all seems hopeless. Captain Phillips was in a frightening situation when the pirates attacked. Yet he didn't surrender his ship and crew, rather he put his own life at stake. Hot and alone with his captors on the lifeboat for five days, Capt. Phillips didn't admit defeat, instead, when he could, he jumped out of the boat and attempted to swim to safety. When tremendous difficulties hit you, hang in there. Draw upon your personal character strengths - like persistence, hope, leadership, integrity, creativity, bravery, spirituality - to carry you through the ordeal.

Click on the title above to take you to an article on our website, How to Inventory Your Assets. It will help you identify your valuable strong points so that you can draw on them when facing challenges in your life.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Cheers for Captain Phillips and his Rescuers

We were thankful and joyous on Sunday to learn of the successful rescue of Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, a commercial ship bringing much-needed food and supplies to Africa. Capt. Phillips acted heroically when his ship was attacked by Somali pirates five days ago, surrendering himself as a hostage while protecting the crew from a similar fate. President Obama noted that Captain Phillips' demonstration of courage was "a model for all Americans." We certainly do join in admiring his unique combination of integrity, professional training and bravery.

Back on the USS Bainbridge, with Commander Frank Castellano, Capt. Phillips was quick to give credit to his rescuers, U.S. Navy Seals, saying, "I'm just the byline. The real heroes are the Navy, the Seals, those who have brought me home." The admirable behavior of many throughout this ordeal made the daring rescue possible: Capt. Phillips himself, the Navy Seals, Cmdr. Castellano, the officers and crew of the Alabama, the other U.S. Navy personnel and ships coming to aid in the rescue efforts. We wonder, what gives someone the strength to act as selflessly as Capt. Phillips did? His merchant marine training and position as a leader certainly played a large role, yet his actions also seem to reflect a deep personal commitment to his fellow man. We salute you, Captain Phillips, and welcome you home.

Earlier this year, we were awed by another hero, Captain Sullenberger, who landed his severely damaged plane in the Hudson with no loss of life. Click on the title above to take you to and our article, Captain Sullenberger: Heroes and Lessons Learned, to help you develop tools you can use when facing your own difficult situations. And visit us here all week as we look at how to incorporate Capt. Phillips' heroism and his rescuers' successful techniques into your own lives.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Marital Harmony despite Financial Woes

Financial events shape how people act – the great depression, beginning in 1929, affected entire generations as they adapted to the change in their way of life. If the predictions come true and this is a slow economic recovery, everyone will have to adjust their mental attitudes and create new behaviors around spending. Yet there are hidden gifts in these shifts – by nesting more, you have less stress, the chance to bond with family, more time with your partner.

As much as you want to help your children and parents, don’t take your eye off the ball. If you're in the Sandwich Generation, you may be balancing college tuition, elder care housing and your own financial responsibilities. Continue to focus on your health, finances and retirement savings. Doing so will ensure that you have the wherewithal to be an active participant in your children and parents’ lives while still saving for your own long-term needs. And the more your family does for themselves, the better they will feel about maintaining their independence.

Click on the title of this post and read an article on HerMentorCenter about how to Avoid Infidelity: Tips to Keep Couples Faithful.

These are tough times but you can draw on the strength of your relationships to get through. As banks are having a difficult time lending money, this is your chance to make an investment in your marriage - it can turn into a welcome source of security and comfort. And can you think of a better time than now?

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Communicate with Your Partner

These are turbulent times, filled with uncertainty and possibilities. How you communicate with your partner can make a big difference.

In stressful times, incidences of anxiety, depression and suicide ideation increase and rates of marital satisfaction decrease. Research indicates that close to half of all partners who cheat are trying to fill some emotional need. And job loss and financial instability can put tremendous pressure on traditional family life. But trust counters fear. Keep the lines of communication wide open. Make sure your partner understands what you are feeling and why. Talk about what’s going on and what you can do about it. You’ll both feel less out of control and ready to put ideas into action. Working together can help get you through these tough times.

Click on the title above to read an article on about communication from the male perspective.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Optimism in Tough Times

Optimism is key if couples are to move ahead in tough times. Coca-Cola's history of positive messaging is legendary. During the recession of 1980, consumers were reminded to "Have a Coke and a smile."

But we all know it takes more than a coke and a smile. Try to access your money script, which is governed by a process outside consciousness in the part of the brain called the amygdale. By understanding how your family of origin dealt with money - and your emotional reaction to it - you’ll gain insight into your own financial strategies. This alone can help alleviate some of the stress, especially if you’re feeling paralyzed or even just stuck. If you’re focusing blame on your spouse, perhaps this process will allow you to look at the part you play in the present situation. You may decide to curb impulse spending if you realize that money and stuff are not necessarily a measure of power or self worth.

Focus your efforts and help your relationship by getting back to the basics. Click on the title to read an article on Her Mentor Center about Fighting Inertia. And let us hear about what works for you.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Adapting to the 'Great Recession'

What we are living through today may be a once-in-a-lifetime economic downturn. And chances are this "Great Recession" has created turmoil in your marriage. In a recession of this magnitude, tough decisions often need to be made. But smart couples who adapt well keep one eye on the future and respond quickly to the short-term realities. Here are tips that work equally well in good times and bad.

Share the chore of money management, regardless of who has been in charge of the finances in the past. This job may be more than one can handle and the support of putting two heads together can give you clarity about the issues. After listening to each other’s input and being open to compromise, make your major money decisions together. Take small or large steps, depending on your particular circumstances. At this time, taking out new credit cards should be an option rarely used as this is, in essence, living beyond your means. And that contributed to the financial mess in the first place. As difficult as it may be, commit to a simpler lifestyle.

The most important money management skill is creating a budget, enumerating what needs to be saved and what can be spent. Set long term financial goals, as well as short term objectives that will take you in the direction of saving. Any deviations from the budget should be discussed and mutual decisions made. Conventional wisdom speaks to having an emergency cushion – that is, enough savings for living about six months in the event of job loss or extended health problems.

Click on the title of this post and read an article about re-examining your relationship during transitiions on

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Relationships and Troubling Economic Times

Troubling economic times like these can take their toll on relationships. You may be worried about ending up like Brenda and Eddie, the couple in Billy Joel's song, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant:

They started to fight
when the money got tight
and they just didn't count on the tears.

But unlike Brenda and Eddie, who 'got a divorce as a matter of course,' that may not be an option. Many couples can't possibly sell their home in a depressed market, pay steep lawyers' fees or make ends meet without sharing expenses.

Of course, a perfect marriage would be free of financial controversy. But during this economic crisis, the reality is that you need to learn new money management skills and face tough financial decisions – while at the same time making your relationship work. Not an easy task. We'll be sharing practical tips all week that will give you and your marriage a better chance.

Get started right now by clicking on the title above - that will take you to and an article about Five Tips for Fighting Fair.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Change Comes When You Least Expect It

The Labor Department announced today that the unemployment rate is now the highest in over 25 years, 8.5 percent. If they were to add in workers forced to work part-time and the so-called "discouraged" workers who are no longer hoping to find employment, the rate would be 15.6%. Over 3.25 million jobs have been lost in the past 5 months alone. And the average workweek is now 33.2 hours, a new record low. Economists predict we will pull out of this but not for some time. For now, it's important for you to hang in there and draw upon your strength and adaptability as a family.

One of our readers, Sally Olds, weighed in on the situation earlier this week, saying, "And still, women make only 80 cents for every dollar men make. This, in addition to all their work on the home front. Just as women's work was more highly valued during the "Rosie the Riveter" days during World War Two, maybe women's financial contributions to their families during these tough times will result in more appreciation and more equitable income."

There will be new perspectives and positives that come out of this ordeal for you and your whole family. Be proud of how you all are rising to the challenges. Recognize your strengths, assets, resources and the foundation of the family that will carry you through this transition. Change comes when you least expect it. The realities of the economy may eventually improve the careers of women even more than feminism alone did. In the meantime, your flexibility will serve you in good stead.

When you click on the title above, it will take you to our article, How to Turn a Crisis into a Challenge, which can help guide you as you face additional challenges in your life.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Take Care of Yourself

If you are a Sandwiched Boomer taking care of growing children and aging parents as you continue to manage your career and cope with the financial chaos all around, you may think that you don't have any time to devote to your own needs. But it is crucial for you to find a way to get the self-care you need in these trying times.

Take better care of yourself. Discover how to nourish yourself and set aside the essential time for this. Take a walk, stop to watch a beautiful sunset, listen to soothing music. Practice deep breathing to relax and positive imagery to improve your mood. Reach out to your friends for support. Draw on your spiritual connection for grounding as you find your center.

Stay optimistic and flexible. Redefine the crisis you are facing as a challenge and your fears as opportunities for change. Review how you have solved other major problems before. Focus on what you can do about solutions even though you didn't create the problem itself. Remind yourself of all you are grateful for as you rebalance your life. Don't give up when things don't work out as you originally expected. Instead, put your Plan B in place.

To learn about additional ways to nurture yourself, click on the title above to take you to our article, Top Ten Self-fullness Tips for Sandwiched Women.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Let Go of Control

Today, Macroeconomic Advisers reports that nearly three-quarters of a million jobs were lost in the private sector during March alone. On Friday, the government's job report will include the unemployment rate, expected to rise from 8.1% to 8.5%. With all the stress generated by a husband's job loss and the turmoil resulting for the family, this is the time to take a stand and make changes to help you all adapt. Here are two tips to make it easier for you to do just that:

Schedule family meetings to discuss changes you want to make. Get together to decide what needs to be done and who is best able now to take on the responsibility of household chores. Involve your teenagers and emerging adult children so that they know what is expected of them. Take help from the family - everyone will feel better when they are doing their fair share. Present these challenges as a way to increase family resolve as you distinguish betweens wants and needs.

Let go of control. Many of you are likely juggling work and parenting. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that two-thirds of women with children under 18 work outside the home. Now is the time to prioritize and simplify. Don't hesitate to ask your husband for more help with housework and the kids. Let go of how you did things before and allow your husband do it his way. And have realistic expectations. It need not be perfect, as long as it gets done. Trust your family as you do yourself. Set reasonable standards, not ideal ones.

It never hurts to try as many different ways as you can to relieve the stresses in your life. Click on the title above to take you to our article giving you Seven Steps on the Less Stress Express.

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