Top 5 Things You NEED To Know – Living Life in the Middle of a Sandwich

Love them or hate them, Listicles are informative and frankly quite in fashion for quick consumption reading. I first noticed this phemon four or five years ago after a conversation with a work colleague during which we were brainstorming ideas for an article. It was then that we discovered what we were trying to describe actually had a label! And so my fondness for Listicles began. Now, I see one at least 10x a day on FB, Twitter, news reports etc..

Professionally, Listicles changed a lot for the way we communicate to our audience. For those of you who may not know, I am in the business of internal communications. Generally, we – people – have lost patience and prefer not to spend a lot of time reading up on something we want to learn about quickly. Where I work is no exception. And so listicles serve a purpose. Some call it lowbrow but I say whatever to that – it serves a purpose in the technology driven digital world in which we live.

So here goes – I’m sharing my Listicle on the top 5 things you need to know about living life in the middle of a sandwich.

  1. Stay true to your convictions – My parents’ generation has a particular way of thinking and living. Some may call it old-fashion, I call it traditional. My mother-in-law, Irene – is somewhat of an exception. She’s quite liberal and open minded in her thinking. BUT she also has traditional values to which she holds tightly. Similar to my parents, she is a staunch Catholic and they go to church every Sunday. While Franklin and I are not atheists, we no longer subscribe to organized religion. We were married in the Catholic Church (post-ceremony photo below), baptized the boys, supported them while they received their first communion and confirmation – all to appease our parents. Feeling like we fulfilled our obligation, we no longer participate and feel better for it. We believe in a higher being and believe that being kind, considerate, loving, and forgiving to all people, animals and the environment is our ticket to a peaceful afterlife. We also know that it’s better to avoid conversation about religion with our parents. There’s no changing their way of thinking and they’ve now resigned to the fact that there’s no changing ours.

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    Left to right: Irene (Franklin’s Mom, Franklin, me, Lawrie (Franklin’s late father) on our wedding day October 13, 1990
  2. Find common ground – not all of the tips in this listicle are as heavy as the topic of region! With my mother-in-law our common ground is love for family and food! We share recipes and often try to outdo each other’s cooking! Let’s be honest, what kind of Indian daughter-in-law would I be if I didn’t try to replicate my MILs recipes? With Jacob and Thomas the common ground is music. We all love music – most genres – and often have debates on whether Heavy D is the best rapper of all time compared to Eminem or Future or Lil’Wayne. The one thing we all agree on is that Prince is the greatest artist of all time. Hey – this is my blog so I win the argument 😉
  3. Take cover! – There’s no way to sugar coat it – it’s challenging when three generations live under one roof. Everyone needs their own space and time away from everyone who lives under the same roof. Be it a week away for a vacation or an overnight stay somewhere else or simply a few hours being somewhere other than where everyone else in the household is. Taking the time to be by yourself is how you’ll keep your sanity.

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    Franklin and I, taking cover on our 25th wedding anniversary at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto 
  4. Know your boundaries – Our kids don’t want to be parented anymore and my mother-in-law doesn’t know how not to parent everyone and I mean EVERYONE. She makes it a point to make everyone feel like she has a stake in their life – this includes our friends and extended family. She treats everyone the same. I admire this quality but it doesn’t work for everyone.  Her way has taught us that we need to back-off our sons now that they are in the 20s. We’ve done our job and instilled values in them that will help them do what’s right (we hope) in life.  Now it’s up to them.  They are still learning their boundaries as they still believe everything from our car, money, and their father’s clothing and more is common property!

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    Frank and the boys in a scuffle over a t-shirt or something or other 🙂
  5. Do your part! – Everyone should pitch into the household chores one way or another. This is our greatest source of frustration! Remember I said that our boys want to be treated like adults? Well this is where that boundary gets a bit blurry. Unless asked, they will not proactively do ANYTHING around the house. On the daily – I trip over a giant pair of runners because it’s simply too much trouble to not take them off mid-stride. At the front door. Shoes on a shoe rack  – literally 12 inches from the front door (it’s true I measured)? You must be crazy – that’s waaaaay too much trouble. Not leaving a pile of clothes on the bathroom floor is also out of the question. We all know – the maid will be around shortly to pick up after us. NOT. Well, unless their maid’s name is Franklin or Irene (I stand my ground on this one and refuse to 1. use the same bathroom as the boys and 2. pick up after them. I will phone, text or holler at them to do it themselves).  We don’t charge them rent or take money for anything other than their cell phone bills, so the least they can do pick up after themselves and once in a while proactively pick up a vacuum. Right?
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