This year on Mother’s Day I was a bit nostalgic and brought out a few family albums to reminisce about when the kids (Kyle, 21 and Zach, 16) were younger and so darn cute. It’s pretty amazing to see how much things have stayed the same. They most definitely have maintained their enthusiasm for life, a sweet disposition and a heck of a lot of charm. However, they’ve changed too. They are much wiser, enjoy spending time with the opposite sex and are very independent. When you first become parents, you realize how much responsibility you have bringing these lives into the world. Parenting isn’t for the weak of mind or body. Can I get an amen?! Over the years, I’ve found it interesting to see the distinct differences between how my husband and I are raising our kids and how my parents raised me. I think both sets of parents believed that their jobs were to raise responsible members of society who are healthy, happy and can support themselves in this crazy world. My dad worked hard. When I was young, he spent weeks at a time on the road as a truck driver and struggled, like any dad, to be as present as possible when he was there. Although, I’m sure it probably took him days to get caught up on all the family drama and the “wait till your dad gets home” scenarios. I am his only daughter and as the oldest was subject to a split existence. I needed to be mature enough to help with my brothers but was not considered mature enough to stay out late with my friends. It was hard for my dad to watch us grow up and he definitely tried to keep me his little girl for longer than I was prepared to do so. As I rebelled against my strict upbringing — that at the time I was sure was geared at ruining my life — he would not give in or back down no matter how many tears I produced. I would sit in my room and write in my diary about how mean and unreasonable my dad was. Although he could be difficult, I knew he loved me and always wanted what was best for me even though he and I had different versions. On some of our tougher days, he would often remind me that I had promised to be daddy’s girl forever. Well, even though I’m much older, married and have children of my own, I’ll always consider myself his girl. Now, my husband and I didn’t have a daughter. I’m not sure he could’ve managed it if his heart palpitations over my two nieces are any indication. However, raising two boys has its own challenges. My husband takes his job very seriously and it probably isn’t too surprising that I count on him to be the disciplinarian. I have to give balance to the punishment because he tends to hold a grudge and I’m a firm believer of the punishment fitting the crime. Either way, I really appreciate my husband as a father and believe that my boys turned out so well because he has been there for them with love, respect and discipline. Even though the way we raise families are different, it doesn’t make them wrong or less effective. My parents had to deal with totally different issues than we do. The digital age hadn’t developed and they didn’t have to explain that what goes online stays online like we do. I love our story with Jim Murray and his doting relationship with his two sons. They are a loving family and it is apparent that Jim is enjoying each stage of his sons’ growth. Having a big job and sharing the parenting between two households can have its challenges, but if both parents have the children’s best interests at heart — it works. I hope you enjoy this issue of our magazine totally devoted to the men in our lives. I know that I have such love and respect for all of the men in mine. I hope you get in some time at BBQs, golf games or whatever you and dad want to do this summer. I do know that you shouldn’t put it off. There is no time like the present to let people know how much they mean to you. Prioritize relationships over everything else. You won’t regret it. Have a great start to your summer, Tiffany Dowling
Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.