Jennifer Pearce

Hi there! My name is Jennifer and I am one of the newest members to MomTalk and JustKiddin'. I am a 40-year-old mother who works outside the home. I live with my husband of eleven years and our two young daughters. After being a stay-at-home-mother for six years, I re-entered the workforce when my husband was briefly unemployed. When he returned to work, I chose to keep working due to economics and the age of my daughters at the time. I now work as the advertising manager of a community newspaper and appreciate how working has gotten me much more involved in my community. However, I often miss the opportunity to spend more time with my daughters, or to volunteer more time with their school and activities. My older daughter is a 10-year-old fourth grader, and my younger daughter is a 6-year-old kindergartener. Their many activities and my husband’s complicated work schedule make scheduling our number one family challenge. He works a rotating shift in a retail store that includes many nights and weekends. We struggle to preserve our time together as a family and make the most of it, while still finding time to accomplish our individual goals and pursue our favorite interests. My interests include reading, writing and photography. I love taking family photos and completed a Project 365 in 2010, taking a photo a day for the year. It was a wonderful experience to document our life for a year and appreciate all the little pieces of it. I am currently working to put the 365 pictures into a scrapbook…if I can just find the time. I look forward to sharing our journey with you here on JustKiddin'!

kristen-paulsen

Creating Family Bonds through Distance

As I have mentioned before, we are a military family, removed from both sides of extended family by significant distances. When we do make trips to visit family they are often spread out with time. On this most recent trip, we had the opportunity to meet two new cousins and let everyone meet our youngest (who is 2). The limited amount of time we find ourselves having with our family often creates a “rush” to bond as family as we try to establish or re-establish bonds.

Thankfully, kids are kids and can usually quickly adapt to the immediate family and pick up as if time hadn’t past. There are similarities in mannerisms and how we look. There are similarities in personalities, sense of humor, tastes. etc.

However, we were worried that since the majority of family live close to each other, that our children wouldn’t be as readily accepted or perhaps unintentionally left out. My oldest was fine, as there are girls her age. My son, on the other hand, is very social but intense and often found himself with hurt feelings; he was trying so hard to be accepted that he was almost obnoxious which was causing some tension with the cousins his age.

We quickly learned that space is still necessary for everyone to enjoy themselves and that it isn’t necessarily better to spend every moment together. We learned to take the space as a family, in small groups and individually so that everyone still left happy and not annoyed. We had to talk with our children every night and focus on the good stuff and the the good memories.

As parents we want our children to be loved, respected and treated fairly with family and not alike. We want them to get along with everyone. However, they may not and that is OK. It’s important to learn to love their family and understand them and where they are from. This helps as we visit their homes and environments.  We hope that everyone in our family will experience our kids on their home turf as well as they are more relaxed and themselves in their own home.

What are ways your family “bonds” with extended family?

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