The Honest Truth: Mama Drama
I’m 15-plus years older than some of the other moms at my son’s preschool (surprise baby No. 4). These young moms spend a lot of time planning over-the-top class parties or fretting about little stuff related to their kids. How can I tell them to chill out?
Beth: It might be tempting to roll your eyes and dismiss these younger moms. It can be frustrating when people seem to be sweating the small stuff—especially when you have the vantage point of knowing what’s ahead. But there’s an opportunity here if you can look past the frustration and focus on helping them learn from what’s worked in the past. Trust me, these moms want to know how to be successful at this scary parenting business. They can learn a lot from you and, in turn, you could benefit from their fresh perspectives and new ideas. Maybe some of their enthusiasm will rub off on you, which could be fun!
Jill: I see your age and mothering experience as a real asset. If you can help these moms understand that lice is not the end of the world (and that they don’t have to lose their ever-loving minds about it like I did when my kids were little), you are doing important work. Your calm and mature assurance that everything will turn out fine in the end may be just the medicine they need to chill out.
My 85-year-old mother is getting to the point where she needs more care and support. I work, so I’ve asked my daughter (a recent college grad with summers off as a teacher) to help out more with her. She says it’s not her responsibility. Who is right?
Beth: I can see how you might feel your daughter is being selfish. How about having an adult conversation about the joys of developing a relationship with her aging grandmother? I’ll bet your daughter doesn’t know that her mere presence—sharing stories, chatting, putting her phone away and really connecting—would mean so much to her grandmother. Just a little time each week could make a huge difference. One day, your daughter will be grateful she took that time with her grandmother.
Jill: Supporting an aging parent can be extremely overwhelming and can make you resentful if you’re the one doing all of the work. You need to have honest conversations with your entire family about getting outside help (in-home care, driving help, house cleaner, or even full-time residential care). It’s time to stop doing it all. Otherwise, that resentment will poison your relationship with your daughter.
Jill Farmer is a master certified life coach, author and time management aficionado. Beth Chesterton is a master certified executive coach and an expert in organizational development. If you have a question that needs an honest answer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.