How to keep the house clean with little ones underfoot. I used to know how to do this. I have three daughters and my house before they all flew away was, for the most part, neat and tidy. Not so when grandkids now visit. Though it may be best I’ve forgotten the technique, for a clean house is a boring house. At least to little mess makers.


How to stick to a budget during the holidays. Once upon a time I set a limit on what I would spend for gifts for kiddos at Christmas. Not anymore. I haven’t since being blessed with grandchildren. Not that I spend, spend, spend until there’s no more to spend, but I definitely don’t quit when I should. All common sense goes out the window—or at least out of my mind—when I see yet another toy or book or craft activity or clothing item I just know my grandsons would be thrilled to have.


How much more kids under the age of five or so love the boxes gifts come in than they do the actual gift. Which makes No. 2 above a particularly distressing thing to have forgotten. Distressing for me once the gifts are opened and I see how much they were thrilled to have the box. Distressing for my bank account when I see how much I spent on those oh-so thrilling boxes.

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How to limit the number of photos taken during an event or special occasion. As I flip through the photo albums of the pre empty nest years, I have just a handful of photos from each special occasion, be it a holiday, a birthday party, a day during a vacation. Compare that to the last time my grandsons visited my house for a week, wherein I had—I swear, no exaggeration—2,393 pictures I uploaded from my digital camera to my computer. (Of course, that could say more about the fact I now have a digital camera instead of a camera requiring film that requires developing.)


How to take a shower while a toddler is awake. I don’t recall showering being a concern when my kids were young. Yet, when I’m the sole caretaker of my grandkids, if I’m not up and in the shower before the first one awakes—meaning, by about 5 a.m.—then I’m a goner as far as showering is concerned. Perhaps that’s why when I was young, the older folks all seemed such early risers; they had learned one must get the bathing out of the way before grandkids take over the day. (Or was it to guzzle as much coffee as they could before the grandkids rose and shone? That’s now my saving grace as well.)

What have you forgotten since becoming a grandparent or empty nester?


Lisa is a Colorado-based freelance writer. She publishes the Grandma's Briefs website, where she shares bits on life's second act and strives to smash the outdated "grandma" stereotype. Lisa has been married to the same man forever; together they have three adult daughters, one son-in-law and three adorable grandsons — children of the middle daughter and her husband. Lisa is easy to find online as she's known as GrandmasBriefs wherever she goes: Twitter (@grandmasbriefs), Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere.