Blogs

The Importance of Being Present For You Children and Grandchildren

Maybe you’re encouraged to be more engaged and present with your children and grandchildren, but could you actually say you know HOW to be present with family?

How to be present.

When I read Lisa Genova’s latest book Left Neglected, I was deeply moved by the power of a reconciled relationship. Without giving too much of the plot away, I would like you to consider how valuable a mother who is present for her children and grandchildren truly is. Additionally, we’ll discuss how to be present with ways you may have never considered. 

One summer, the common thread of conversation at parties and family gatherings weaved grief with curiosity. Whether your name is Mom, Nanna, Oma, Baba, or Grandma, you have an important role to play in giving a legacy to your family by being present. 

On that note, I’ve got plenty of resources on building a farming legacy, including this post where I discuss how to plan your farm legacy. 

Becoming disconnected.

Unfortunately, grief spasms come when women are not allowed to fulfill their roles as a mother who is present. These are the teary-eyed sisters and friends who relate their angst about not being able to be with their children and grandchildren. I see this as a disturbing trend among the new generation of parents.

Farm family roles are challenging when they evolve. This is how to navigate these transitions. 

Now, I have to ask the big question: “What is this really about?”

In Genova’s book, the mother returns to the relationship with her daughter and grandchildren after the daughter’s brain injury. Crisis and tragedy are not the best tipping points for change. But unfortunately, that’s sometimes the only motivator for things to be different.

Would it be possible for you to see the problem of not being able to connect with your family as a challenge that needs to be solved, rather than whining and complaining about your daughter or daughter-in-law and her unreasonable boundaries? If you have no idea why you aren’t being allowed frequent access to your children and grandchildren, how are you going to find out the “why?”

  • Are you judgmental?
  • Do you have some “self” work to do first?
  • Is there an underlying mental health issue that isn’t addressed?

As a farm family coach, I meet many moms who are trying their best to be a decent mother-in-law. Their intention is not to cause harm or conflict, but to “help.” The next generation sometimes interprets this intention as “interference.” 

Is this your case? What needs to happen to re-align everyone’s honest intention for the relationship to be reconciled and flourish?

[Tweet “#Farm #Moms: Here’s why it’s important to rekindle the relationship between you and your #children.”]

The path to reconnecting.

When conflict is avoided or left unattended, the small irritants can bubble under the surface until a “little thing” becomes huge. 

I encourage you to start the path of re-connecting by embracing an attitude of curiosity. 

Start with a conversation with your adult child to explore what they want from you as a parent. Ask where you have made mistakes or caused offense. Let them know that your intent is not to be a curse or to blame their parenting style, but that you want to be a “present” parent, who is a blessing to them and their children.

Tried that Elaine, it didn’t work.

I hear you. 

You might just want to see if you can have access to the grandkids on neutral turf, like a vacation spot for a few days. Can you write them emails or chat with them on Skype? If you are totally blocked off from connecting, how about doing some work with a counselor about nurturing yourself in different ways. Pray for a breakthrough. Write letters of love that you keep for the future.

A lasting legacy.

Use your creativity to think of ways to leave a lasting legacy for your family.

Utilize these tips for how to be present with your family. 

  • Be a woman of strong character who stands up for what is right, and is true to her cherished beliefs.
  • Document what characteristics and wishes you desire to have carried on to the next generation.
  • Create intimate friendships and connections with folks who truly care about your well-being.
  • Nurture yourself and “to thine own self be true.”
  • Read Extreme Grandparenting and find ways to spoil (in healthy ways) your grand-kids who you can connect with.
  • Take out that role sheet and plan for better ways of self-care, marriage care, and friendships with family, friends, and community. Ask yourself what you might be neglecting.

You matter.

I’ve read books about women who were highly independent then brought to their knees with a brain injury. They encourage me to pay attention to the hurriedness of my life, and consciously slow down before a crash. I have a coaching friend in New Zealand who was kicked in the head by her horse. She now lives a very different life, treating her brain with care, and resting often.

Now, I don’t want you to feel like you’ve been kicked in the head. Especially not when you think about your need to matter and the reality of rejection from those you love. Instead, I encourage you to evaluate the problem and seek a solution. Be kind to yourself in the process.

Gather emotional support from those who care about you. Seek out professional resources to counsel and guide healing in the relationship.

In August 1998, my mother’s asthma attack left her in a coma for two weeks until she died. I miss her. Ultimately, reflecting on her life reminds me of how having a present mother is a special gift.

Whatever field of activity you find yourself in, I wish you deep joy in knowing that your legacy of love matters as a woman who sees the importance of being present for her family. Focus on the strengths, character, and skills you possess. This will help you become a better, more present mother to those who appreciate your “grandness.”

You matter.

Next steps.

Would you like help with farm succession planning and handling farm transitions? Contact me today to learn about my farm succession planning and farm family coaching!

If you enjoyed this article and you’d like to dive deeper, don’t miss these posts:

The 5 Ways of Dealing With Conflict on the Farm

How to Communicate To the Different Generations on the Farm

10 Things Millennial Farmers Want

This article was originally published on July 5, 2016, and has been updated. 

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.

$15

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

Book Elaine
for your next event

Contact Elaine to start the conversation.

+1-204-534-7466 | elaine(at)elainefroese.com

Contact Elaine