There are many moments during the day when we
need to remember how to save our sanity. Day
to day life can be challenging. Jobs are not
as secure as they once were. Many of us are
relying on extended family members and
friends to create a helping community to do
all that needs to be done.
In Getting Along With Your In-Laws I
ask you to reflect on the relationship that
you have with your in-law family and consider
changing the way you see and interact with
them as a way to improve the family dynamic
and to feel better about yourself, your
spouse, and the people in your family who are
affected by the interactions.
In Stay At Home Fathers, I offer
suggestions for those who have lost their
jobs and who are shifting into the very
important yet very different role of stay at
As you may know, Jumpstart is a national
early education nonprofit organization that
pairs caring adults with underserved
preschoolers in year long one-to-one
mentoring relationships. Visit www.jstart.org
to learn more about Jumpstart.
Once again thank you for helping to get the
word out about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
Check my website, www.drdaleatkins.
updates on my appearances related to my
newest book, Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to
Live a Balanced Life. For those of you with
wedding related questions, please see my
column on WeddingChannel.com at:
And if you would like me to speak to your
group or organization, please contact me
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Wishing you health, peace and balance.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is in bookstores and
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Getting Along with Your In-Laws
Getting along with your in-laws isn't always
easy, as many know. Mothers,
sisters, daughters, and
sons-in-law are all relationships with
potential challenges which can affect your
life with your spouse and other extended
family members. As we are settling
into the new year, now is a perfect time to
think about improving these
There are many people who have wonderfully
fulfilling and enriching relationships with
their in-laws. They appreciate who their
in-laws are and look forward to being
together. In fact, I believe there are many
opportunities to know yourself better by
getting along well with your in-laws.
To begin, take a step back.
This is particularly important if your
previous visit was less than good. Reflect on
what happened. Don't blame. Let things
percolate a bit so
you can figure out how to handle a similar
situation should it come up again. Consider
changing your attitude and behavior which
will then change
the patterns in your relationships. Find and
focus on something that reflects
kindly on your in-laws and make a point of
telling them with sincere appreciation. When
you do this you are encouraged to focus on
attributes of your spouse that you really do
admire and value
and reflect well on his or her family.
It also helps to be realistic and
help of your partner when trying to improve
the relationship with reasonable expectations.
When figuring out what sort of
relationship would work, remember it will
not be the same as your relationship with
your family - be it a good or bad
relationship. If your in-laws live far away
and you don't get to see them very often,
instead of "going to the mat" on every little
thing, loosen up and allow. You do
to engage in a "win or lose" situation.
Remember that your partner chose
to be with you, so for a few days a year you
can take a backseat.
Take the high road and communicate
This point is particularly important when
dealing with a daughter/son-in-law. It could
change the dynamic of the relationship and
will likely improve it. By agreeing to
respect the in-law, it doesn't mean you
always have to agree. It's ok to agree to
disagree and move on. The key is to respect
the other person's opinion and beliefs
whether you agree with them or not. If an
in-law pushes your buttons, don't take the
bait; instead, take a step back.
Finally, take time for yourself.
are with the in-laws on a regular basis or
only once in a while, be sure to take time
for yourself. Go for a walk or start the day
with some stretches and quiet time (while
still in bed if need be) so you gather your
thoughts and focus on the things for which
you feel grateful. Count those blessings
before coming downstairs for the morning
coffee. This will help buoy you during the
time you are together. You want to make sure
you have time to relax so you can be in a
better place when you do interact with your
Bottom line: manage your expectations, don't
bite all the bait that is thrown your way,
and find time for yourself.
TODAY Show (NBC)
Feb. 2: 9:05 hour: Mothers taking on
additional burdens at home.
Feb. 7: Couples Who Live Apart for
Alzheimer's Foundation of America and
Partners in Care: Solutions and Support for
Feb. 28th: 10AM - 3PM, Speaker, Topic:
Managing Difficult Behaviors in the
The Lighthouse Executive Conference
Center, BV Hall 111 East 59th St., New York,
or call 212-299-4292. Registration is free.
A Good Daily Habit
Begin and End Your Day with a Smile
Sometimes, when you wake up, you may feel
overwhelmed. Not depressed, just tired from
all you have to do. Maybe you used to be an
optimist who bounded out of bed. Now you
just can't seem to face the day.
Before you get out of bed, instead of thinking
of all the things waiting for you to do, take
a moment as you lie there. Breathe deeply
and think of two or three things that make
you smile that you are grateful for.
Before you go to bed, give yourself credit
for what you did rather than worrying about
what needs to be done tomorrow. Think of
something pleasant, again that makes you
smile, as you doze off to sleep.
Allow the act of smiling to put you in a
better frame of mind.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Stay At Home Fathers:
Tips For Saving Your Sanity
One of the more recent phenomena resulting
from the increase in layoffs is that many
more fathers are staying at home and assuming
more child care responsibilities.
Previously, men made the choice (often with
the blessing of their partner) and they
"prepared" and were "ready" to take on the
demands and challenges and chose to do this
with an open mind and heart. Often it was
for a finite period of time.
Now, we have many more men who lost their
jobs and they have to adjust to the shock,
added stress of losing a job along with
having to adjust to a whole new and different
(AND DIFFICULT) role as stay at home father.
Also, his partner's feelings factor into the
equation. She may be angry about the change
in their life style or needing to give over
child care responsibilities, alter her
"schedule," return to work or become the sole
This may not be what either of you "signed on
for" but it is what you have NOW. It is no
great challenge to be kind to each other when
there are easy times. Commit yourself to
helping each other during these trying times.
Keep in mind that roles change and if you can
detach from the need to have traditional
gender roles, each of you will be more free
to discover a different and enriched
partnership. Replace compassion for criticism
and appreciation for blame. Additionally
these men have not previously seen themselves
as stay at home fathers and may resist or
feel uneasy about it. They may be more
uncomfortable with the role (especially if
they don't take to it well initially), and
are still dealing with the mental and
emotional issues related to losing their job.
Here are some tips to help you adjust to
- Have Compassion - Have empathy and
be encouraging as both of you are probably
easing into new roles reluctantly and
without a lot of confidence. A man's identity
(tied strongly to his work world) may be
shattered (or at the least, wounded) and he
may not feel good about himself and question
his value and worth. Help each other to avoid
getting discouraged if there are initial
doubts and uncertainties and if things don't
go well right away.
- Have Patience - You should both
expect it to take time for everyone to get
comfortable in the role and for a man to learn
the day to day routine and to "get to know"
the children better. Both partners need to
have patience and a sense of humor, roll with
the punches and learn from them. Dads need to
develop their own parenting style and routine
and get comfortable. Their partners need to
value them in that role and appreciate their
unique gifts that they bring to being a full
- Encourage Connections - Men need
to connect with other stay at home
fathers in person and on line. Isolation is a
potential trouble area so ward against it.
Working out at the local Y to connect with
other men and volunteering at the children's
school, PTA, clubs, or coaching a sport team
keeps men involved with the world.
- Have a Job-Search Routine -
By establishing a specific time
during each day to stay involved in the job
world by networking, surfing the internet for
job openings to send resumes, reading
industry magazines and journals, attending
conferences or meetings, stay at home fathers
remain interesting and interested in the
world of work. If a change in work
considered, enrolling in a class on line or
in a local college can help jump start the
- Value Your Partner's Role and
Contribution - Realize that you do not
have to justify yourself or your choices to
anyone other than yourself, your partner and
your children. Think of this as an
opportunity for a father to get to know his
children better, to spend precious time with
them and to contribute to his famiy in a
different and unique way. Many men "wish"
their fathers were present with them as they
were growing up. Develop the attitude that
this time is a gift when a father can be with his
children and be there for them in a way he
would not have been able to had he not lost
Partners can look at the positive side of
this situation by sharing the responsibility
and decision making about family issues with
their partners that they may not have had to
opportunity to do so under different
circumstances. This can be an amazing
opportunity for children and fathers to bond,
and to discover each other
can bring enormous joy. What is possible is
that fathers could actually become more
positively integrated into the fabric of the
day to day of their children's lives, and how
could that be bad?
We can be sure that the greatest hope for
maintaining equilibrium in the face of any
situation rests within ourselves.
Francis J. Braceland
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
book . . .
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works
Now in Paperback!