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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

The 5 Love Languages: Quality Time

Updated: Jan 28

If you have not taken the The Enneagram evaluation, I strongly suggest you do. It is very revealing regarding how we are wired. Knowing how those in your life interpret actions and words can help you communicate with them in a way that speaks to their heart.

If you are a Type 9 with a one-on-one subtype, chances are you speak the love language of quality time. If you are married to someone who ranks high for quality time, then what they most want from you is…wait for it…your time! Thirty minutes here or there, dinner together each night, and a weekend away will speak volumes to this person.

Notice the language is called “quality” time. Your attention requires the right kind of focus. Put your phone away and be fully present to meet the needs of the other person. When you are interacting, maintain eye contact and pay attention to emotional fluctuations. Listen with the intent to understand and clarify by reflecting what you have heard by asking questions.

A quality time person wants assurances that you are “with them” and they are not alone. Whatever the struggle or victory in life, they want to share it with you. If you are emotionally unavailable, whether it be because of fatigue or stress, tell them. But follow up by saying, “I would like to set up a time to listen and connect.”

The quality time person will look forward to and treasure the scheduled event if your intentions are sincere. Just like a quality time person wants you to know them by hearing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions, they are usually just as interested in learning about you and your perspectives. They need the conversations to be two-sided. If opening up does not come easily to you, learn from your quality time partner what it looks like to be vulnerable. Humans connect in deep and meaningful ways when we share our hearts, and this comes naturally to those who speak the love language of quality time.

Another aspect of this language is shared activities. Activities can range from visiting National Parks together, cleaning the garage, hosting a dinner party, or taking a walk as long as the intent of the activity is to be together and strengthen the relationship. This will tell your loved one you care for them. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, says one of the by-products of quality time activities is they provide a memory bank from which to draw in the years ahead. You will remember the experience when you wall papered the nursery together or took a stroll along the seaside. Quality time is not meant to be one-sided. You need to be present to fully show your love for the person in your life whose top language is quality time. Embrace it!

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

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