Sanity SaversTM and More...
February 2009


There are many moments during the day when we need to remember how to save our sanity. Day to day life can be challenging. Jobs are not as secure as they once were. Many of us are relying on extended family members and friends to create a helping community to do all that needs to be done.

In Getting Along With Your In-Laws I ask you to reflect on the relationship that you have with your in-law family and consider changing the way you see and interact with them as a way to improve the family dynamic and to feel better about yourself, your spouse, and the people in your family who are affected by the interactions.

In Stay At Home Fathers, I offer suggestions for those who have lost their jobs and who are shifting into the very important yet very different role of stay at home dads.

As you may know, Jumpstart is a national early education nonprofit organization that pairs caring adults with underserved preschoolers in year long one-to-one mentoring relationships. Visit www.jstart.org to learn more about Jumpstart.

Once again thank you for helping to get the word out about Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life.

Check my website, www.drdaleatkins. com for updates on my appearances related to my newest book, Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life. For those of you with wedding related questions, please see my column on WeddingChannel.com at: www.weddingchannel.com/ui/buildArticl e.action? assetUID=90252&s=84&t=71&p=106184112&c=9025 2&l=137006. And if you would like me to speak to your group or organization, please contact me directly at dale@drdaleatkins.com or contact the Speakers' Bureau at HarperCollins.

I appreciate you sharing this newsletter with your friends, loved ones and colleagues by clicking Send to a Friend button below.

Wishing you health, peace and balance.


In this issue
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
    In Bookstores!
  • Sanity SaversTM
    Getting Along with Your In-Laws
  • Happenings
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    Stay At Home Fathers:
    Tips For Saving Your Sanity
  • A Thought

  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
    In Bookstores!
    SS Book Cover

    SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to Live A Balanced Life is in bookstores and is filled with suggestions to save your sanity every day of the year.

    A must for any woman seeking to find her balance!

    Sanity SaversTM
    Getting Along with Your In-Laws

    Getting along with your in-laws isn't always easy, as many know. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, and sons-in-law are all relationships with potential challenges which can affect your life with your spouse and other extended family members. As we are settling into the new year, now is a perfect time to think about improving these relationships. There are many people who have wonderfully fulfilling and enriching relationships with their in-laws. They appreciate who their in-laws are and look forward to being together. In fact, I believe there are many opportunities to know yourself better by getting along well with your in-laws.

    To begin, take a step back. This is particularly important if your previous visit was less than good. Reflect on what happened. Don't blame. Let things percolate a bit so you can figure out how to handle a similar situation should it come up again. Consider changing your attitude and behavior which will then change the patterns in your relationships. Find and focus on something that reflects kindly on your in-laws and make a point of telling them with sincere appreciation. When you do this you are encouraged to focus on attributes of your spouse that you really do admire and value and reflect well on his or her family.

    It also helps to be realistic and reasonable. Enlist the help of your partner when trying to improve the relationship with reasonable expectations. When figuring out what sort of relationship would work, remember it will not be the same as your relationship with your family - be it a good or bad relationship. If your in-laws live far away and you don't get to see them very often, instead of "going to the mat" on every little thing, loosen up and allow. You do not have to engage in a "win or lose" situation. Remember that your partner chose to be with you, so for a few days a year you can take a backseat.

    Take the high road and communicate respect. This point is particularly important when dealing with a daughter/son-in-law. It could change the dynamic of the relationship and will likely improve it. By agreeing to respect the in-law, it doesn't mean you always have to agree. It's ok to agree to disagree and move on. The key is to respect the other person's opinion and beliefs whether you agree with them or not. If an in-law pushes your buttons, don't take the bait; instead, take a step back.

    Finally, take time for yourself. Whether you are with the in-laws on a regular basis or only once in a while, be sure to take time for yourself. Go for a walk or start the day with some stretches and quiet time (while still in bed if need be) so you gather your thoughts and focus on the things for which you feel grateful. Count those blessings before coming downstairs for the morning coffee. This will help buoy you during the time you are together. You want to make sure you have time to relax so you can be in a better place when you do interact with your in-laws.

    Bottom line: manage your expectations, don't bite all the bait that is thrown your way, and find time for yourself.


    TODAY Show (NBC)
    Feb. 2: 9:05 hour: Mothers taking on additional burdens at home.
    Feb. 7: Couples Who Live Apart for Financial Reasons

    Alzheimer's Foundation of America and Partners in Care: Solutions and Support for Alzheimer's Caregivers
    Feb. 28th: 10AM - 3PM, Speaker, Topic: Managing Difficult Behaviors in the Alzheimer's Population
    The Lighthouse Executive Conference Center, BV Hall 111 East 59th St., New York, NY.
    RSVP: www.bigeventregistration.com/alzheimers, or call 212-299-4292. Registration is free.

    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit

    Begin and End Your Day with a Smile

    Sometimes, when you wake up, you may feel overwhelmed. Not depressed, just tired from all you have to do. Maybe you used to be an optimist who bounded out of bed. Now you just can't seem to face the day.

    Before you get out of bed, instead of thinking of all the things waiting for you to do, take a moment as you lie there. Breathe deeply and think of two or three things that make you smile that you are grateful for.

    Before you go to bed, give yourself credit for what you did rather than worrying about what needs to be done tomorrow. Think of something pleasant, again that makes you smile, as you doze off to sleep.

    Allow the act of smiling to put you in a better frame of mind.

    Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    Stay At Home Fathers:
    Tips For Saving Your Sanity

    One of the more recent phenomena resulting from the increase in layoffs is that many more fathers are staying at home and assuming more child care responsibilities. Previously, men made the choice (often with the blessing of their partner) and they "prepared" and were "ready" to take on the demands and challenges and chose to do this with an open mind and heart. Often it was for a finite period of time.

    Now, we have many more men who lost their jobs and they have to adjust to the shock, disappointment, added stress of losing a job along with having to adjust to a whole new and different (AND DIFFICULT) role as stay at home father. Also, his partner's feelings factor into the equation. She may be angry about the change in their life style or needing to give over child care responsibilities, alter her "schedule," return to work or become the sole earner.

    This may not be what either of you "signed on for" but it is what you have NOW. It is no great challenge to be kind to each other when there are easy times. Commit yourself to helping each other during these trying times.

    Keep in mind that roles change and if you can detach from the need to have traditional gender roles, each of you will be more free to discover a different and enriched partnership. Replace compassion for criticism and appreciation for blame. Additionally these men have not previously seen themselves as stay at home fathers and may resist or feel uneasy about it. They may be more uncomfortable with the role (especially if they don't take to it well initially), and are still dealing with the mental and emotional issues related to losing their job.

    Here are some tips to help you adjust to changing roles:

    • Have Compassion - Have empathy and be encouraging as both of you are probably easing into new roles reluctantly and without a lot of confidence. A man's identity (tied strongly to his work world) may be shattered (or at the least, wounded) and he may not feel good about himself and question his value and worth. Help each other to avoid getting discouraged if there are initial doubts and uncertainties and if things don't go well right away.

    • Have Patience - You should both expect it to take time for everyone to get comfortable in the role and for a man to learn the day to day routine and to "get to know" the children better. Both partners need to have patience and a sense of humor, roll with the punches and learn from them. Dads need to develop their own parenting style and routine and get comfortable. Their partners need to value them in that role and appreciate their unique gifts that they bring to being a full time father.

    • Encourage Connections - Men need to connect with other stay at home fathers in person and on line. Isolation is a potential trouble area so ward against it. Working out at the local Y to connect with other men and volunteering at the children's school, PTA, clubs, or coaching a sport team keeps men involved with the world.

    • Have a Job-Search Routine - By establishing a specific time during each day to stay involved in the job world by networking, surfing the internet for job openings to send resumes, reading industry magazines and journals, attending conferences or meetings, stay at home fathers remain interesting and interested in the world of work. If a change in work considered, enrolling in a class on line or in a local college can help jump start the effort.

    • Value Your Partner's Role and Contribution - Realize that you do not have to justify yourself or your choices to anyone other than yourself, your partner and your children. Think of this as an opportunity for a father to get to know his children better, to spend precious time with them and to contribute to his famiy in a different and unique way. Many men "wish" their fathers were present with them as they were growing up. Develop the attitude that this time is a gift when a father can be with his children and be there for them in a way he would not have been able to had he not lost his job.

      Partners can look at the positive side of this situation by sharing the responsibility and decision making about family issues with their partners that they may not have had to opportunity to do so under different circumstances. This can be an amazing opportunity for children and fathers to bond, and to discover each other can bring enormous joy. What is possible is that fathers could actually become more positively integrated into the fabric of the day to day of their children's lives, and how could that be bad?

    A Thought

    We can be sure that the greatest hope for maintaining equilibrium in the face of any situation rests within ourselves.

    Francis J. Braceland

    DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, lecturer and commentator in the media who appears on the Today show.

    She has more than twenty- five years of experience and focuses on living a balanced life, parenting, aging well, managing stress, life & work transitions, family connections and healthy relationships.

    Dr. Atkins is the author and/or co-editor of several books including:

  • Sisters
  • From the Heart:
    Men and Women Write Their Private Thoughts about their Private Lives
  • Families and their Hearing-Impaired Children
  • I'm OK, You're My Parents
    How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that Works
  • Wedding Sanity Savers
    How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day.
  • And her new book . . .

  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • .

    Find out more....
    Quick Links...


    Dr. Dale's Sanity Savers for a Balanced Life

    Dr. Dale's Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Advice

    Dr. Dale's Wedding Advice

    Contact Us

    Website Developer

    I'm OK
    You're My Parents
    How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works

    Now in Paperback!

    Join our mailing list!