Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Single Parenting Strength

My mother-in-law is one of the strongest people I know and one of the people I look up to the most in my life. She single-handedly raised six children almost on her own - yup, six! Dad left when Aaron, the oldest of the brood, was a Senior in High School. But, as she will tell you in this post, she really didn't do it completely on her own. Following is some sound advice from someone who knows, and has been there.

Guest Writer: MJ Smout

Families can be strong even though there is only one parent.  Support may be drawn from the extended family.  Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents are a part of our families that can help us all become closer together.  When my children were young and my parents lived about a two hour drive away, we often spent the weekend with them.  This gave us time away from home without spending beyond our budget.  It also afforded me time with other adults and my parents’ time with their grandchildren.  It is remarkable how a Grandfather can invent fun things for children to do while the adults talk.

When we visited my parents for the weekend there would usually be an outing involved.  In the summer it might be swimming or a trip to a park with an open field.  At the park, Grandpa would bring out a kite for each of the kids and they would spend hours seeing who could keep their kite flying the longest or highest.  The adults could sit on a nearby bench and talk while keeping an eye on them.

If it was a cold or wet day, the outing may involve a trip to a small Shopping Mall nearby.  Once at the Mall, Grandpa would give each child a silver dollar and let them spend it in any way they wished.  It can be surprising how long children will walk around looking for something that costs only one dollar.  When they found what they wanted, each child would come back to where the adults were sitting on a bench and make sure they could buy the item.

Often I asked if this was really how they wanted to spend their money.  This made them think about how much they wanted the item and kept them from making a purchase and then deciding they wanted something else.  They knew they wouldn’t get more money just because they made a bad purchase.  Also, it was seldom that the dollar was spent just for candy.
Other outings we enjoyed were to a fun park or carnival where the kids could go on rides or play games; or to a nearby historical site or small town with something of interest for them to see.


  1. I remember getting many silver dollars from Grandpa. I don't have any of the any more...I spent them all.

    But...I do still have something I bought with one of them. In fact, I think I'll do this week's Man Cave post about it!

  2. Is that bottom picture Kristina and I? I can't even tell! It is funny that Mom took us to Grandma and Grandpa's house for this reason because in my journal right after Grandpa died I wrote about how important he was to our family and especially the support that he gave to Mom. I can't believe that it has been 12 years since he passed and I still miss him so much!

  3. Kristina and Weldon.

    Grandpa was a huge part of our family when our kids were little too. they have many fond memories of wandering through the dollar store with their dollars ;o)

  4. actually, my bad. Upon further examination, it is Kristina and you. I don't think Weldon would wear a strappy one piece - at least I hope not - lol