Over 50 & Thriving Series Over 50s Lifestyle

Over 50 and Thriving: Protecting Your Time

May 25, 2018
Over 50 and Thriving: Protecting Your Time

How do you feel about being a grandparent and how much time to spend with your grandchildren?  This can be a problem for many of us who are fortunate to live near our grandchildren.  We feel that we want to help out but also realise that this is our time to enjoy life after raising our families.  It can certainly be a guilt trip if we allow it, and most of the time the guilt is self-imposed because our children want us to enjoy ‘our time’.

My next guest in the Over 50 & Thriving Guest Series, is Cathy Lawdanski, from My Side of 50.  Cathy and I have known each other since we started blogging about 3 years ago, and met through a Facebook Blogging Group.  Cathy is a grandmother but is also an individual and she writes today about the need to not feel guilty about protecting our time.

She shares her experiences and also provides some valuable tips for those of us who might be struggling to find the balance between helping out with family and having time for ourselves.  Please make sure you check out Cathy’s website and connect with her on social media. You can find her details at the end of her article.

Over 50 and Thriving: Protecting Your Time

Over 50 and Thriving: Protecting Your Time

In the midlife “space” where I publish the blog, My Side of 50, there is lots of talk about women pursuing new interests after the kids leave home or they retire. That period of time can be filled with a lot of angst and confusion as women figure what they want to do in this new season of life.

But eventually they hit their stride as they step out, try new things and discover a whole world of possibilities. They begin filling their time with things that bring them joy. Trying things they always wanted to do and never had time for. It could be a hobby. Or taking the time to exercise.  Or perhaps a embarking on a different career path.

Then, this happens. Grandchildren are born. Parents get old and need help. Husbands retire.  Friends and family members assume you have a lot of time on your hands and are free to help them out whenever they call. Before you know it, there is no time left for you to pursue that thing you have found that gives you a reason to get up in the morning.

While family and helping others are an important part of life, if you’re not careful, everyone else and THEIR needs can take over and you have no time left for YOU.  And if you don’t protect your time, you will not THRIVE!

My Story

After raising my kids, leaving my job in the non-profit sector and caring for both of my parents before they died, I discovered blogging. I love it. It is so different than anything I have ever done before. What was once just a hobby has now become a part time business. It’s work for sure, but the writing and creativity and relationships that are part of the blogging world fill my soul. I find that if I don’t get to blog, I get grumpy.

I am also blessed that both of my adult daughters and 3 grandchildren live close to me and I get to see them all the time. I love my girls and the grandkids. I would do anything for them.

But I recently discovered that if I wasn’t careful, I could be taking care of the grandkids or going to kids activities every night of the week. And that was infringing on the time that I blog and do things to take care of myself like exercise, cook healthy meals and rest.

I must offer this disclaimer. My daughters are wonderful. They always ask if I can help with the kids. They never assume that I am available. If they ask and I say no, it doesn’t make them mad. We’ve talked a lot about the fact that I have raised my kids and am Gaga now. The fun one, not the parent. The back-up – not the one who is responsible. They totally get it.  They also know that they all get the best of me when I take care of myself and have a life of my own besides them. I have friends whose adult children are NOT as gracious as mine and feel absolutely entitled to their mother’s time! UGH!

But grandchild care issues don’t have to be the thing that eats away at your time.

  • Maybe your spouse has retired and wants your attention 24/7. Or wants you to stop whatever you’re doing to do something with them. Or be home to fix them lunch every day.
  • Maybe your parents or other family members call and want you to come at the drop of a hat (when there is not an emergency).
  • Maybe people from your church or other organizations assume that you can fill in or take on a lot of other responsibilities because you are retired or an empty nester.

Or sometimes it’s not OTHERS that sabotage your time.  It’s YOU!

  • Do you drop everything to help out with your kids or grandkids even if they don’t ask? Maybe because you feel guilty and you feel like you SHOULD? After all you are just doing ________.
  • Do you assume that because your husband is retired, it’s now your job to make sure you have 3 meals on the table every day, even if he can take care of himself, doesn’t ask you to and is perfectly capable of making a sandwich?
  • Do you feel guilty spending the time to pursue your own interests and passions, so you volunteer all over the place because you feel like you SHOULD, always putting your need for fulfillment last?

Don’t let any of that happen! In order to THRIVE, you need to protect your time.


Instead, try this:

  • Communicate! Talk to friends and family members about what you are doing, why it’s important to you and why you are scheduling time to do it. Ask for their support. I did this with my daughters and received nothing but cooperation and understanding from them.
  • Schedule the time that you need to do whatever YOU are doing first. For example, I workout every day at 4:30. Sunday afternoon is my time to read and rest. I go out to dinner with my girlfriends once a month. I work on my blog every day from 8-4.  Whatever it is that you do for you –  get it on the calendar and let everyone know.
  • Decide in advance what you are willing to do for others and be pro-active in scheduling that time. If someone gets their feelings hurt because they think you setting some boundaries means you don’t care for them, say something like, “I’m sorry I won’t always be available when you call, but because you are important to me,  I’d like to schedule this time __________ to do________”.

Here’s how I worked out my schedule:

  • Kept two eldest grandkids 2 nights a week while Daughter #1 had some important appointments and no other childcare options.
  • Eldest Grandson had 2 baseball practices and 2 games a week. I said that I would attend one baseball event a week.
  • Daughter #2 and husband attend a church group one night a week. I said I would keep their baby every other week, alternating with another family member.

Does that mean I never waiver from the schedule? No!

Or that if there is a real emergency or need that I don’t jump into help? Absolutely not!

Or that I don’t sometimes drop everything to take my daughters to lunch or just hang out with the grandkids? No way. I love all of those things.

My point is, it’s important to find the things that fulfill you and make them a priority. If the thing that brings you joy is babysitting the grandkids every day while their parents work – do it!

If you find great fulfillment pursuing interests and activities with your retired husband – do it!

If just having the time to “be there” for friends and family when they need you, by all means – give yourself permission to do it.

None of us is the same. It’s not an all or nothing or one size fits all proposition.  In order to Thrive after 50 – protect your time to pursue your passions.


Meet Cathy

Over 50 and Thriving: Protect Your Time

Cathy Lawdanski is a 50-something wife, mother, and grandmother who is embracing all the new challenges and adventures this season of life brings. Her motto is “BE BRAVE”.  On her blog, My Side of 50, she blogs about fashion, family, travel and health.

Connect with Cathy

Website:   https://www.mysideof50.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/mysideof50/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mysideof50
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mysideof50/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mysideof50/pins/

Click here to catch up on my previous guests in Over 50 & Thriving Series

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  • Reply Sue Loncaric May 25, 2018 at 07:14

    Thanks so much for being my guest Cathy and I totally agree that although we love our children and grandchildren, we do have a life as well.

  • Reply Debbie Harris May 25, 2018 at 19:37

    As someone becoming a grandparent for the first time soon, this was a very interesting read. I can see the issues involved and will take note of Cathy’s suggestions for clear communication. Thanks Sue and Cathy for this valuable insight!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 26, 2018 at 13:44

      I thought Cathy had a very measured approach. It isn’t that we don’t want to be with our grandchildren but setting the boundaries also lets us enjoy life. You have a wonderful time ahead of you Deb – loving a grandchild is a love like no other. xx

      • Reply Debbie Harris May 27, 2018 at 08:26

        Yes I know it’s all ahead of me and I’m looking forward to it. All the best to you this week as your new little one is born.

  • Reply Michele Morin May 25, 2018 at 21:58

    Cathy, you are one smart woman.
    Thanks for this well-reasoned discussion of what you’re doing that’s working. I don’t want to end up resenting the time I spend with my grandchildren or the things I do for my grown up kids. I’m still homeschooling #4 and we are FAR from retired, but even so, I see how the universe conspires to fill up our time with everything except what we’ve planned to do!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 26, 2018 at 13:46

      Cathy has some great advice, doesn’t she Michele. It is so easy to want to do everything to help your children, especially when grandchildren arrive, however we also need to set the boundaries so we can enjoy our life. xx

  • Reply Eveliina (@confessionsofparenting) May 26, 2018 at 02:42

    I have two grandchildren with two more on the way and I love spending time with them, but I also love time with my husband and time to do me things. I love the advice of “protect your time to pursue your passions.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 26, 2018 at 13:50

      Hello Eveliina and it sounds like you have your life well sorted. We do need to spend time with our husbands and also doing things we want to do. Our grandchildren are part of that but it is easy to fall into the trap of doing everything with and for them with no time for ourselves. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend. xx

  • Reply Cathy Lawdanski May 26, 2018 at 07:57

    Sue – thanks so much for including me in this series!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 26, 2018 at 13:53

      It is my pleasure Cathy and such good advice. I know many grandmothers, including myself certainly agree with your comments. Have a great weekend. xx

  • Reply Cathy Lawdanski May 26, 2018 at 07:58

    Debbie – being up front with everyone and clearly communicating your needs is KEY!

  • Reply Retirement Reflections May 26, 2018 at 08:42

    Hi, Cathy and Sue – Thank you for sharing this very insightful post. I agree that ‘Deciding,’ ‘Communicating,’ and ‘Scheduling You Time’ are all essential in retirement. My children and family now understand and respect how active my husband and I are in retirement. It took deciding, communicating and scheduling to get us to this ‘sweet spot’ of understanding.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 26, 2018 at 13:55

      That’s great Donna and I can see you and your husband are enjoying your retirement. It is hard sometimes for me to hold back from being there all the time, especially as my grandson Ethan and I have such a special relationship. Fortunately, my daughter, Rachel doesn’t take me for granted and wants me to enjoy my life. xx

  • Reply Elizabeth May 28, 2018 at 03:22

    Hi Cathy & Sue,

    Wow, lots of great advice here.

    It makes me a little sad as my daughter, son-in-law and only granddaughter moved to Denmark for a temporary 2 year stay. We really miss our granddaughter who is only 4. But they’ll be back soon enough 🙂

    Even with them gone, time can be lost so quickly. My husband and I started our own business a few years ago and time for our own interests and passions can easily get lost. But we do try to make time for those things, it’s often an effort but as you said Cathy, in order to thrive, we have to protect our time 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 28, 2018 at 09:04

      Oh that must be hard Elizabeth to be so far away. I’m sure the time will pass quickly though and it sounds like you are pretty busy anyway! Have a great week and thanks for stopping by to comment 🙂

  • Reply Christie Hawkes May 28, 2018 at 03:40

    This is great advice, Cathy. My husband and I are blessed to have 10 grandchildren (ages 8-18) all living within 20 miles and both of our mothers close by. In addition, we are both still working. That means we could easily be occupied with career and family activities around the clock. Scheduling time for ourselves and each other is crucial to thriving.

    Thanks, Sue, for another insightful guest post.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 28, 2018 at 09:05

      Wow Christie! I didn’t realise you had that many grandchildren. How lucky that you both still have your mothers as well. Such a lovely large family for you to enjoy. It is very important though to schedule time with just the two of you isn’t it? Have a great week!

  • Reply Jennifer Jones May 28, 2018 at 20:52

    I kbow many grandparents who are resentful of the time they are expected to spend with grandchildren. Reading your post, what occurs to me is the importance

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2018 at 09:37

      Hi Jennifer, I think Cathy makes some very valid points. I offered to mind Ethan one day per week when he went to kindy and his other grandparents and I pitch in to help when Rachel travels with her job. I don’t feel like I’ve been taken advantage of because I want to help and we work it out so it doesn’t impact our own life too much. It is a win/win for me and Ethan and I have such a loving relationship now.

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au May 28, 2018 at 20:54

    This was well worth thinking about Cathy – I think we all become aware of the extra time we’ve gained in Midlife, but it is really easy to have it all sucked away into a million things that may not actually engage our hearts. I’ve been wanting to start a couple of new activities and can’t find the time to do it – I think it’s time to de-clutter my diary and find some “me” time!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 29, 2018 at 09:38

      Leanne you do need to follow what you write about LOL:) Me too! We both have to realise that whilst we can advise others about living a better life in Midlife & Beyond, we also need to take our own advice as well. Have a great day!

  • Reply Nina May 29, 2018 at 21:09

    What a great post! As a blogger, and one who ran a.business from home while her daughter was growing, my time management is, a huge mess a lot of the time. Because I don’t have a specific “job” everyone assumes I’m avaiable, and if I don’t watch out, I am pulled in all sorts of directions! Thank you for showing me that I’m not the only one and for the great tips on how to do both. Warmly, Nina

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 30, 2018 at 09:53

      Hi Nina and welcome! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on protecting your time and it is very easy to fall into the trap of ‘being on call’ just because you work from home. You certainly aren’t the only one and glad you enjoyed the post. Have a lovely day and I hope you visit again.

  • Reply Deborah Weber June 6, 2018 at 00:41

    What a helpful perspective Cathy. I absolutely believe healthy boundaries are important, and often one of the hardest things for people to establish. I celebrate your understanding of this, and happily remind you that you’re also setting a good example for your daughters and your grandkids. Yay!

    Thanks for this introduction Sue.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 6, 2018 at 07:16

      I totally agree Deborah and Cathy made such a good point. We obviously would love to do anything for our families especially our grandchildren, but we also have our own lives to live and it is important to set the boundaries from the start so that everyone is happy. Thanks so much for stopping by Deborah have a great day!

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