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Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family.

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.


1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

  • Patti Hatton

Q/A How To Motivate Yourself

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Q: How do you motivate yourself to do something you love to do, or have always wanted to do? I have a new sewing machine that has been sitting in the box for years. What is the best way to begin?

A: To motivate yourself to accomplish a task, you need to break it down into small, measurable goals. Using your example of the sewing machine, let’s dissect this. Start by scheduling 2-3 times a week to address your desire to sew. As a suggestion, on M, W, F from 4 to 4:30 pm, you devote 30 minutes to setting up the sewing machine. On Monday, you take it out of the box. On Wednesday, you accomplish the first part of the instructions to make the machine function, etc. Do not go past the 30 minutes allocated. On a scale from 1-10, rate yourself on how you feel before the 30-minute ritual begins. Repeat this process after the 30 minutes is completed. For example, it is 3:45 pm and you begin to focus on your goal to sew. Are you dreading this? If so, you might rate your feelings as a 2. At 4p.m. you begin to unpack the machine. By 4:30, you have unpacked the box and you stop. Now, rate yourself again. Using the same 1 to 10 scale, you might rank as a 7. Why? Before you began, you had not accomplished anything. You just felt like a big project was in front of you that you might not know how to tackle. But after the 30 minutes when you have successfully completed the task, you feel good. You accomplished the one goal you set for yourself that day. When a behavior produces positive emotions, we are more likely to continue with the thing that caused the good feeling, because we know there will be a high return on our investment. Small, measurable, and specific goals are the most likely to be completed because they are predictable and manageable. With any project you start, begin by breaking the entire scope of the idea into bite sized pieces. Write these down. When you see that your big goal is nothing more than a bunch of smaller goals, it does not feel so overwhelming. It is the staggering feeling of a huge project that keeps us from moving forward. If you rank yourself low on several occasions after your allotted 30-minute scheduled time, you should re-evaluate how important the goal is to you. You might dream of making a beautiful dress, but the time you will need to invest is not worth the trade-off. This will help you evaluate how important your goal really is. We all dream big, but that does not mean every dream is to become reality. It is fine to let a goal go. Donate the machine to someone that might not otherwise have this chance. You will have done a good thing. When you do what you love, time flies. But when every minute feels like an hour, you may not be experiencing something you love. Find your passion, and you will be motivated to persevere.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC