Category Archives: Fun

Have some fun today, mothers-in-law!

Women, ages 50 and beyond (aka “mothers-in-law age), get so much unsolicited advice about maintaining health and happiness. It’s all about weight control, wrinkle prevention, healthy eating, exercising and pursuing hobbies. All of that is well and good. But honestly, the to-do list can be overwhelming, depressing and time-consuming. Instead of promoting good health, the list can create stress.

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Argh.

Sometimes, we just need to have an impromptu good time — as in Yippee! The more good times we have, the younger, happier and healthier we feel. By embracing new experiences, we become better women and more interesting, independent mothers-in-law . Surprisingly, many good times can happen on the cheap or better yet, for free.

So, erase that specter of to-dos from your mind — and replace it with one simple question, “Are you having any fun today?” My answer recently was, “No! I am not having fun today!”  Working, grocery shopping, walking the dog, running errands, weekend gardening – all culminating with “Madame Secretary” on Sunday night TV — is not enough happiness for me. I need to mix it up!

Therefore, I decided to Google the phrase, “cheap and fun things to do,” nearby. Site after site welcomed me to a world of diversions and day trips! I settled on the Montreal Jazz Festival, better known as the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. http://www.montrealjazzfest.com/default-en.aspx

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A jazz-filled weekend!

Montreal is only a five-hour drive from our home. My husband and I immediately packed our bags and took off on an adventure. We enjoyed a weekend of non-stop music – in a gorgeous, international city. And, it was free — no admission fee.

Fantastic entertainment!
Fantastic entertainment!

Not having fun today? Go find some! We can’t expect our spouses, significant others, daughters, daughters-in-law, sons, sons-in-law or grandchildren to be responsible for making us happy. But here’s what we can do. Cherish family above all else — and still cultivate new friendships, experiences and interests!

What about a trip to the Montreal Jazz Festival next summer? It’s happening from June 29 – July 8, 2017.

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Or why not consider a spirit-lifting activity in your local community this weekend? Let the good times roll! And have some fun today!

 

Front Lawn Garden

Driving to the grocery store the other day, I spotted a house with a front lawn of colorful, blossoming flowers. No grass – just pretty flowers. It was a welcome vision after being stuck in traffic on one of the hottest days this spring. My car tediously inched along a dusty road, jam-packed with construction vehicles, forklifts and orange caution signs.

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Fun with flowers

In New England, streets are repaired during the spring and summer. Cracks are sealed. Potholes are filled. Asphalt perfumes the air. You don’t dare open your car windows – ever.  My patience was shot. “We all have limited time. We all have to be somewhere,” I kept thinking.

So there I was, crabbing and grumbling to myself, when this house emerged along the roadside. It was a surreal apparition amid a cloud of construction dust. It made me smile. Some inner voice compelled me to pull off the road. I parked, leaned over and grabbed my trusty point-and-shoot camera from the glove compartment. (This Mother In Law is not into fancy photography or anything fancy, by the way.)

I climbed out of the car and snapped a few photos. I admired the lovely flowers for maybe five minutes and walked away feeling refreshed with a happier attitude. Fun has a way of showing up in odd forms and unexpected places. In this case, ‘fun’ was the calming magic of flowers.

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Flower lawn

Those flowers made me think of my daughter-in-law because she had just planted a similar perennial garden with her mom. It’s in the front yard of a charming, bluish-green house she shares with my son and their three-month-old son. I thought about how their flowers will grow year-after-year, more radiant with time – just like their love and their little family.

Now, that will be fun to watch.

 

Celebrate Every Day

Holidays, special occasions and observances are markers that add happy anticipation and predictability to our lives. Traditions are important, even more nowadays because technology is rushing forward at warp speed, making our lives chaotic and often stressful. Planning, hosting or attending an event requires us to shift gears. We are forced to slow down and just enjoy!

Graduation celebration for daughter-in-law

Opportunities for celebration abound. Think back to an experience that made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Was it a holiday like Thanksgiving or New Year’s Eve?  Was it the day you played Scrabble with your family?  Was it your grandchild’s graduation? Or was it that summer evening when you and your family sat on the back porch and gazed at stars?

A mother-in-law can be the pivot person to create a strong sense of family unity by celebrating old traditions and creating new ones. Special Days will feature important holidays and celebrations. We want to include your ideas too. How do you celebrate birthdays, graduations and other observances and make them special? How do you juggle conflicts like work, school, sports and other time-consuming commitments? It’s particularly challenging when family members are separated by long distances. But, mothers-in-law can overcome any barriers. They have the power to transform an ordinary moment into a memorable one with a simple gesture. It just takes a loving touch, a little imagination, and maybe a visit to Special Days!

Have Fun!

Remember that song, Girls Just Want to Have Fun! by Cyndi Lauper? Well, sometimes we mothers-in-law forget that we are girls who still want to have fun! We’re so bogged down with our professional and personal responsibilities and with our laundry list of family obligations that we dismiss our own needs.

We’re part of the sandwich generation, and that’s all the more reason to cut loose and have fun. We need to let off some steam! So, get going! Ignore those ingrained messages that say we’ve reached a certain age and therefore, it’s time to take a back seat. There’s a child within who is never too old or too rusty to play. We’ll blog about many ways to introduce joy in our lives – from fun ‘girl getaways,’ crazy pets and hobbies to a good book. We hope you’ll join in.

Girls getaway in Chicago: Mothers, Mothers-In-Law, Daughters, Daughters-In-Law

Try some new and enriching experiences — instead of narrowly focusing on family at the expense of everything else. Explore activities that are enjoyable, informative, creative and adventurous. Balance is key. We can still babysit the grandkids, but make time to go on a date with a spouse or significant other. If we don’t, we run the risk of morphing into one of those martyr mothers-in-law. You know the type – the ones who whine about all the sacrifices they make for their ungrateful kids. It’s a sure prescription for family friction.

So, enjoy your family life, but cherish your independence. The stereotype of the grasping, desperate mother-in-law, who ruminates about the comings and goings of daughters-in-law or sons-in-law, isn’t pretty. It’s annoying, and we’re not! We are interesting, passionate, strong women committed to having some fun.

Embrace new points of view!

Expand those social connections! If you want to meet a bunch of girlfriends for dinner, go for it! If you’ve dreamed of traveling, start saving for your trip today! If you want to expire spirituality, the Bible or the Torah, do it!  If you want to hip-hop or salsa dance, now’s the time!  Get that new puppy you’ve always wanted or start a knitting class!  What are you waiting for?

We’ll share lots of fun-filled suggestions that are economical and even free for the asking, right here.  It’s never too late to learn something new or to make lifelong friendships.  Tap into the resources available right here and have some Fun! Life is for living. Don’t just hope for happiness to find you. Go for it.