Since I’ve been on Periscope (@gail_andersen) 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 parents, I wanted to share a few in case there are others who would benefit from hearing them.
- 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 give. My husband taught me the secret to doing that—simply reply, “I’d really love to, but I already have a commitment.” First, you are being considerate in showing a desire, even if you are not able to do it. You simply defer to your calendar/schedule. You won’t have to go into detail and risk another judging your priorities. It’s perfectly appropriate to say you already have an appointment even if that appointment is with your family, your spouse, or even yourself! 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. Helping another during emergencies goes without saying. But bonafide emergencies are really few and far between. So, have a weekly schedule and don’t feel guilty about protecting your priorities.
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. Require a person to have an object passed to them that gives permission to speak without interruption. We used a gavel.
- Listen to others as they are talking.
- Ask to be excused.
- Clear your plate.
- Did you allow your children to do overnights with their friends? If so, at what age? You could say I’m a little opinionated on this. We did not let our kids do overnights. Yes, it may seem extreme to some. We took the oversight of our children so seriously that we seldom entrusted that responsibility to other parents—and certainly not to other we didn’t know extremely well. We just didn’t feel that was wise especially during the night hours. 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.
One of the best comments we heard on this issue came from Pastor Chris Hodges within the last year. It supported our decision to turn down overnights with friends. Pastor Chris 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 person who believed like we did, so it was so encouraging to hear Pastor Chris say that! Our philosophy was, stay up late and do something fun with your friends till 10pm or 11pm, but then go home and sleep in your own bed.
We never felt that our kids missed out. They may tell you different. 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. 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 after.
Family is a different issue, but there may be some family members who don’t share your family values so 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.
Again, this is just our personal opinion. 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 whatever you and your spouse feel best about together, you should do.
Keep those questions coming! Moms, I hope you’re able to join me and others during my Periscopes. And you can always email me your questions.
Question: How do you manage more requests than you could possibly accept? Share your answer in the comments below.