I have just returned home from visiting both my children. I had a fabulous time and am so thankful to know my children are fine. My sons are both adults and both live near the west coast. As I live in Atlanta, I don’t see them very often. One of my sons lives near San Francisco and has a family. Since I am now a Grandmother, I am making a point to visit him and his family more often so that I get to know my granddaughter.
My other son lives on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. I am not a fan of snow or cold weather. Which is the reason I only plan a visit to him in the summer.
This year I decided to plan a longer visit to the west coast. I flew into San Francisco and stayed with that son and his family over a long weekend. On the following Monday, I rented a car and drove to Lake Tahoe to visit my other son.
He lives in a tiny one room loft condo and doesn’t have room for visitors, so I stayed nearby in a hotel.
All these details are to let you know these tips are great to follow whether you are physically staying with your child or if you are just visiting and staying nearby. You can also apply these tips if you are staying with friends.
Offer Advice When Asked
I have lots and lots of helpful tips that I offer on a regular basis to my clients. It’s like the saying ‘see something, say something’. These tips just pour out of me as I’m working with a client on a project. If I see something that I can tweak for my client, I offer the advice.
I have learned that my children are not always so receptive.
I remember that I’m not there as a professional organizer. I am there as mom. If my children ask for help with something specific, then I offer advice.
The same holds true for my clients. I offer advice only as it pertains to that which we are focusing our attention. If I see something that can be tweaked in a different area, I hold the thought until we are focusing our energy in that spot.
Give Advice but Do Not Lecture
Remember the children are adults. I am a former teacher and can sometimes say more than I need to on a given topic. I taught kindergarten and first grade. It was often helpful to say the same thing in different ways so the children would get the message. Can’t you just hear it now?
I have learned that my children are not my students and to give my advice succinctly. If they want more information or details, they will ask.
Offer Help but Do Not Insist
As a guest in my son’s house I have from time to time offered to do laundry, cook a meal, wash the dishes and so on. Sometimes my offer is accepted and sometimes it is not.
I have learned that when my offer to help is not accepted there are reasons to which I am not privy.
Silence is Golden
As a grandmother, I have said (numerous times) ‘when you were a baby, I…’ I am learning that this is not always helpful. Times have changed. Methods have changed. My mother had things to say about the way I did things when my boys were babies. After a while, she stopped sharing. Now, I’m learning to keep some (not all) of my thoughts to myself.
I’m finding that asking my children how they would like to do something is best. Even for my single son, if I ask him when he would like to meet up or how he would like to do xxx it’s a win for both of us.
Asking permission is polite. Think about how you would feel if someone (even someone you know well and love) goes opening drawers, closets, cupboards. It can feel like an invasion of privacy even if the person is trying to do you a favor by putting laundry away.
I always ask clients if I may open a drawer, a cupboard, or a door. Asking permission gives the client control.
Asking my children also gives them control, which is appropriate since they are now adults living on their own.
Keeping these few tips in mind let me have a wonderful visit with my children. I have come away with great photos and happy memories of the time spent together. I know they feel the same way. I hope these tips help you have a happy visit with your adult children.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer, Residential Organizing Specialist, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, ICD Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC, based in Atlanta, Georgia. An accomplished speaker and author of four books she teaches professionals and working parents how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their busy lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing in metropolitan Atlanta and in working with people challenged by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization.