Each of us is from a different era of life and momming. This last week on my blog I've shared the highlights from toddler and elementary years, teenage and college years, and today will hear from the next mom in our panel.
Sharon represents moms of Married Children, and the wonderful Grandma stage of life.
She makes everyone laugh when they want to squirm, with her words of wisdom peppered with a generous spoonful of sugar- humor. Clad with all kinds of zebra striped, polka dotted and neon duct tape hanging on her arm like bracelets, she is trying to start a new wedding trend. So on to number 1...
1. Every mother of the bride and groom gets a roll of duct tape at the wedding, to put over their mouths for at least the first year of their children's marriage, or until they learn to keep their mouth shut. Only take the duct tape off to eat and offer encouragement. (Communication that's encouraged? Love your grown children unconditionally and encourage constantly. Find positive character traits and offer genuine praise. Study your children's spouses personalities and backgrounds and learn to understand them. Communicate with genuine love and respect.)
2. Practice until perfect, instant forgiveness. The phrase "if momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy" still applies, but after my sons married, "I ain't momma no more". Their wives must be given top priority. I've learned to rejoice and encourage the health of my children's marriages.
3. Offer my best advice ONLY when asked and accept the fact that it will not be taken. Parents of grown children must "cheer from the stands" and give them the freedom to make their own decisions.
4. Grandchildren are the reason to have children, but I have learned that my grandchildren do not belong to me. That means that their parents choose how they will be raised, disciplined, schooled, churched or not, etc. I am part of a support system to strengthen their parents decisions, and not in competition for their love. I play with them without the use of technology, I am the memory maker, and love to spend one on one time with each of them, sharing my faith and values as well.
Number 5 deserves an extra comment here. We have presented our Moms Panel in front of hundreds of women. The first few times, we all noticed, then noticed some more, then giggled about, and finally acknowledged out loud to each other, that the atmosphere changes when Sharon shares this next one. The atmosphere either stiffens, women look sullen or just plain ticked off... or there may be an audible groan.
So common is this reaction that Sharon now announces from the podium to all groan together, a solidified effort...that if we groan together audibly, that perhaps everyone can break through the unpalatable nature of this last one. Here it is..
5. I've learned to allow my married children to form their own new holiday traditions and in the process make some new ones of my own and be happy about it. Sharing my children and grandchildren with "those other people" at holidays is a good thing but must be learned with gracious cooperation.
Ouch. At least she's funny when she says it! Many a women have told Sharon that her portion is ultra convicting, but such good advice...and delivered so well they receive it gladly. And are grateful.