Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Works For You?

Today I determined to make a change in my normal, somewhat passive style of spending time with my sons. As empty-nesters we have never wanted to be the kind of parents that make their kids feel guilty about not coming over enough. I have been out of my childhood home for about 34 years, but when I do spend time at my parents home, the first 20 minutes are always filled with complaints that I don't come often enough!

The four of us a few years ago.
I do not want to be that for my sons!

The trouble with the fear of being too demanding is that we find ourselves being too passive about our desires. Both my sons and their lady-loves live in my area. I know what it feels like to have one of them live out of state for a season and you never know when that could happen again. So, I need to grab this opportunity and enjoy having them live close by.

I know that many of you have grown kids and grandkids living far away and it is painful and sad. You want to be involved in their lives and be able to enjoy the wonderful people you have raised!

It would be silly for me to let this time get away from me. We are busy, Writer Son and Sassy Bride are busy, Rocker Son and Girlfriend are busy people. It would be very easy to remain passive about socializing with them, and that would pretty much mean it will not happen except for Birthdays or Holidays. 

So, today I made a decision to invite the boys and their girls here for pizza and a game night once a month or once a week, whatever. I don't know how often, but I do know that it needs to be a regular set time, otherwise it will not happen. 

Actually I learned this intentional-friend-time idea from Writer Son. He has always seen friendship as  a very important thing to value and be serious about. He started setting up certain days to spend with certain friends each week way back in High School! 

 I desperately do not want it to be an obligation thing, you know? So far, I know they like to be with us, just want to keep it that way!

What do you and your grown kids or you and your parents do together on a regular basis? Any ideas out there for me? Hubs and I used to eat Sunday dinner with my folks when they lived in the same town as us. Do I decide and then invite them, or should I put out the suggestion and we all figure it out together?


  1. I think your boys are lucky to have parents who raised them to become people that you'd want to hang out with. My son doesn't speak to me and he's my only child. He's 29 so we're not talking a teenager though he acts it. Maybe you should get everyone's opinions so you know how the ladies feel too. Like you said, you don't want them to feel obligated. Sounds like a great family to me!!

  2. I love this idea! Yes most parents seem to want to see more of their grown kids, but? My MIL cooked once a week for 20 years, we loved going there to eat! We all have fond memories but time changes everything.
    ps I am not a cook???

  3. I know what you mean about your parents--my mother is negative the first 15 minutes about how no one ever comes to one is brave enough to tell her that maybe we would if she weren't so dang negative.

    I haven't had to deal with this situation yet. Our two college babies are in college downtown and travel from their house to ours merely by crossing the Ravenel Bridge. And they cross it as soon as they get hungry, which means we see them several times a week. LOL

    I think, if it was me, I would put it out there for a game/dinner night once a month in the form of a 'what do you think about this' question. Sounds to me like they would take you up on it without hesitations!

  4. Great plan, Brenda; I hope it works for all of you.

  5. Me and my folks don't live in the same place and I hear you , when you say you wanna spend time ..I think you should just put out the suggestion and I am sure they will love it ...all the best :)

  6. Um, they should absolutely feel obligated. They are your children, and you've done an amazing job raising them! They need to learn now that they have a responsibility to visit often.

    My mom was just sharing her sadness with me the other day that her 4 children do not come over for Christmas because she's never made a big deal out of it, even though she really wanted to. She didn't want to step on any toes or be too demanding. My grandmother always made it clear what she wanted and how she wanted it, and guess what, that's exactly what she got. :)

    So although I respect your respect for your children's feelings, they owe you girl! Do not be too passive. Take charge, but kind of in a funny way, "Like, look boys. I know you're all grown up, but I'm still your momma and I want to see you at least every two weeks. So here are your options: you can come over here, we can go to your place, or we can all go out. We can do what you want, but we ARE gonna do something. That's non-negotiable." Just be kind of jovial about it.

    Also, you've mentioned that you love the ladies and they love you. So I'd play up those relationships. Call one of the girls, and ask her to meet you for coffee. If you get the girls in your corner so that they just really like you and enjoy you, THEY will take charge of making sure your sons visit you. Then they'll be the bossy ones, not you. :)

    Long-winded, I know, but I had some good ideas!

  7. Can the girls cook? Wouldn't it be fun to have a cooking party with them? If they can't cook, that would be a great way to get your guys home...for your food!

  8. Can the girls cook? Wouldn't it be fun to have a cooking party with them? If they can't cook, that would be a great way to get your guys home...for your food!

  9. I think it´s a great idea that you have. A game night sounds good to me, but not everyone like games (thinking of my hubby here). We are not in this situation yet, but it´s something I plan on doing too.
    I hope you tell us what you decided on doing.

  10. I struggle with this exact same thing. My mom puts terrible shame and guilt on us for not coming over often enough and there's a snowy mountain pass between us for about 5 months out of the year. In turn, I resist being in my kids lives so many times for fear of smothering. I'd love them to make more of an effort on their own but refuse to ask them why they don't. I get my feelings hurt and feel confused every holiday season because of this. What's a mother to do? Where's the happy balance?

  11. My boys are both younger, 18 & 15, but my youngest lives with their dad half the time & their both always busy.

    I am going to try to schedule a family night on occasion too. All too soon I'll be without them here more often!


  12. BB - Yes, I do like my men, even tho I dislike some of their crazy choices. So sorry about your son, that must hurt.

    SCABW- My parents used to cook for us too, now they live out of state.

    EN- That's cool that they come home often, even if it is for food!

    Miss Sadie- Thanx! Did not know dogs could type so well!

    SM- I did and it's been fun to see the responses. Thanx

  13. Shawna- Haha! "They SHOULD feel obligated!" haha! I love you! Your mom's own regrets are an inspiration to me that I am on the right track. Thanx!
    OH man, it's true that the girls can make this happen huh? Good advice Young One! :)

    Shawna again- Yes, they both LOVE to cook and I HATE to this could be a very good thing! They have both cook for us already and it was great!

    Betty- Actually Hubs does not like games. Rocker Son's advice about that is that we could all play solitaire in the same room, cause Dad likes that! :)

    JJ- LOVE your pic btw! Sounds so much like us! Holidays have been frustrating the last few years. Gonna fix that hopefully!

    Mimi- Yes, do it! Time goes way faster than you expect!

  14. It's a great idea! Forces people out of their comfort zone and lets them be goofy for an hour...ok, more than an hour. But it's fun!

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