The Post I Didn’t Intend to Write Today

Nancy with her four children and their father.

Jennifer Shoer at The Scrappy Genealogist is running a great series right now called How She Does It: Secrets from the Geneamommybloggers. Today’s entry features our own Family Tree University Dean, Kerry Scott!

In the interest of full disclosure, let me just say up front that my four children are now grown and mostly on their own. In fact, since I am now a grandmother (hey…a young one, ok?) you could call me a genea”Nana”blogger. My oldest son was born in 1979. My youngest daughter was born in 1992. If you do the math (which I try not to) that’s four kids over 13 years. I am probably the only woman you know whose childbearing spanned 3 decades…one baby in the 70’s, two in the 80’s and one in the 90’s. I was a stay at home mom with at least one preschooler for 18 consecutive years. The same week I took my oldest son to college, I also took my youngest daughter to kindergarten. Yes, they all had the same father…scary how I know what you’re thinking, right?

Anyway…when my older children were little, blogging didn’t exist. When my younger kids were little I was a single working mother who barely had time to breathe, let alone blog. But guess what? I learned a few things in the process. I know that all you young geneamommybloggers are not lacking in unsolicited advice (see I do remember!) but just humor me, OK? So here are:

Nancy’s Top 5 Tips for Geneamommybloggers:

  1. It is mathematical certainty that, when juggling, balls will be dropped. Its really not a question of “if” but “when”. The good news is that you have a choice about which ball to drop. For me, it was often the housework. When I had the money, I hired help. When I didn’t have the money, I just did the best I could. My grown kids don’t remember how clean the house was. They remember me and what I cared about. Sometimes what I cared about was griping about my messy house and yes, they remember that too.
  2. While you’re dropping balls, also drop some bread crumbs. When the kids are grown, you will want to find your way back to yourself. Or a remodeled version of yourself. Don’t lose yourself on the journey. Tell the Guilt Monster to go to hell and make time for the things that make you, You.
  3. Sometimes the Guilt Monster is right. If you are a conscientious (read perfectionist) mom like I was, the Guilt Monster is always lurking around. But very occasionally he has a valid point. Listen to it, evaluate the truth of it, do what you can, then let it go. That being said, most of the time the Guilt Monster is just full of it. And you know what “it” is.
  4. Document everything you can. Don’t forget to make your own contribution to the family story. Write things down. Take a picture of the fighting in the back seat. Record the whining on your iPhone. Even though right now duct tape is a tempting option (especially if your kids are middle-schoolers) prepare for the fact that you will miss them eventually. When the storm of parenting has passed you will want to remember ALL of it. Even the yucky “getting thrown up on in the middle of the night” stuff. Although you should probably skip taking pictures of that one.
  5. Don’t blink. This time in your life will be gone so fast, it will take your breath away. Yes, I know you’ve heard this before. You’ve heard it because its true. Plus, our culture moves so fast that it takes real effort to stay in the present moment. But try to do it anyway. As hard as it may be to believe sometimes, you will miss this. Treasure it.

Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University. Want to be our next Family Tree Firsts blogger? Enter our contest!


Polish up your genealogy skills with Family Tree University courses! Courses starting Oct. 24 include First Steps: Using Birth Records, Exploring City Directories, Time Management for Genealogists and more. View the course schedule and register here.

2 thoughts on “The Post I Didn’t Intend to Write Today

  1. Oh, I so got a good chuckle out of reading this.
    And your advice is well worth every word.
    You had 4 children spread apart; I had 4 children w/in 5 years and buried one.
    I was a stay at home Mom and basically raised 3 w/o a father in the picture.
    I was made a grandmother at the age of 39.
    Don’t tell me 40 is a trying age to deal with.
    The year I turned 39 my oldest turned 21, next in line graduated from high school, tuuned 18 and made me a grandma; next one turned 16 and got her temps to learn how to drive.
    40??? Piece of cake!!!
    I so enjoy having been a young grandma as I was able to do so much more with the grandchildren that my grandparents were able to do.

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