Since I’ve been on Periscope doing short scopes for moms, Mentoring Moments for Moms, I’ve gotten some great questions from those who are jumping on to the scopes. Because they are issues that concern many moms, I wanted to share a few in case there are others who would benefit from hearing them.
Managing So Many Requests For Playdates
How can I deal with friends who always want to get together so our kids can play or constantly ask me to babysit for their children?”
Being in the ministry for so many years, I had to learn the hard way that ultimately, I was the only one who could control my schedule. My tendency had always been to say yes—until I found others taking advantage of that and expecting more of me than I could do.
My husband taught me the secret to managing more requests than I could accept: simply say, “I’d really love to, but my schedule won’t allow it.”
First, you are being considerate in showing a desire, even if you are not able to do it. Leaving out the details on why you can’t do it is important so that the person asking is not left to judge what your priorities are.
Sometimes, you just have to say, I have an appointment (even if that appointment is with yourself, your child, your husband—or even your home). Your family deserves to have as much of you as possible! And in order to fulfill your responsibilities at home, something may have to give somewhere.
Of course, helping another during emergencies often calls for adjusting your schedule. But bonafide emergencies are really few and far between.
Basic Mealtime Standards
What are some of the most basic rules you used in your family for mealtimes?”
This is an easy one. Without getting into Emily Post’s hints for proper table manners (does anyone remember Emily Post’s Book of Etiquette?), here are some easy mealtime standards:
- No phones at the table.
- Ask for food to be passed.
- Put your napkin in your lap before starting to eat.
- Don’t talk with your mouth full.
- Wait for your turn to talk. (use a gavel to show who gets to speak now)
- Listen to others as they are talking.
- Ask to be excused.
- Clear your plate.
What About Overnights?
Did you allow your children to do overnights with their friends? If so, at what age?”
You could say I’m a pretty opinionated on this. We did not let our kids do overnights.
Yes, it may seem extreme to some. We felt that if we allowed our children to stay over with a friend that we were trusting another parent with the oversight of our child. And given another parent couldn’t always do that during the night hours, we did not believe that was a wise thing to do.
Most of the time when kids are staying overnight with friends they are up too late, are unsupervised, get very little sleep, and do and learn things that they wouldn’t at any other time during the day. You may not even hear the details of their experience for a long time either.
We recently heard Pastor Chris Hodges comment on this. He said that in his experience growing up, things that happen between 10pm and 8am were usually not desirable ones. As a result, he also did not allow his children to do overnights. I had never heard of another prominent person express the same opinion, so it was so encouraging to hear that!
There were times when my husband and I went out of town and our children stayed with another family who we knew well and trusted completely. But other than that our kids did not do overnights.
Our philosophy was, stay up late and do something fun with your friends until 10pm or 11pm. Then everybody gets picked up by their parents, goes home, and sleeps in their own bed.
I never felt that our kids missed out. But I will say that having that rule in the first place eliminated all kinds of stress in having to make a decision every time one of our kids was invited overnight.
Family is a different issue, but I guess even family cases could be harmful in some situations. If there are some family members you feel comfortable with and others you don’t, you may have to make a general rule and stick by that for everyone. It gets sticky if you individualize too much—most likely grandma and grandpa are exceptions to this.
It really doesn’t matter what everybody else does, you are the ones who have to answer for your own children and how you raised them. So do whatever you and your spouse feel best about together.
Join The Discussion
I love the chance to address such questions with young moms. I invite you to join me for upcoming Periscopes @Gail_Andersen and check out past scopes on my YouTube channel.
Question: What is your policy for kids' overnight sleepovers and why? Share your answer in the comments below.