Explaining death to children

While I typically try to keep my blog topics light, this week’s topic sits heavy on heart. My grandmother (my children’s great grandmother) was diagnosed with incurable leukemia a few months ago and only has a matter of months left to live. Of course, this news has been very hard on me and my dad, but I also have to think about how it will affect my children. My son is likely too young to understand, but my daughter will certainly feel the effects. We have been talking about great grandma going to heaven, but I felt I needed more to help break it down in an age appropriate way so that she can express her feelings.

My grandmother pictured with my daughter when she was a newborn.

I was so happy to find another mommy blogger that recommended some wonderful books that will help us explain this better to our children. 

Death of a loved one is certainly a difficult topic. If you have any advice, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments. 

Do kids ever stop talking?

Seriously, my children never stop talking. Even my two-year-old is babbling a lot. My five-year-old takes it to a whole new level most days because she is also loud. Combined with her never ending talking, I often find it very difficult to get a word in with them. While I don’t want to squash their creativity and their outlet to express their feelings, sometimes I also just want five minutes of no talking. My mom swears this is payback because I apparently was also a very chatty child. 

Free meme from meme creator.

I often get frustrated that I can’t speak and when I do, neither of them listen. I found a very helpful blog that gives me seven steps to try to get my children to listen without nagging or yelling. I am looking forward to trying these steps to see if it improves the communication with them. Have you been through this same situation? If so, feel free to leave a comment on how I can improve. 

Sick all the time…

This past fall was rough in our house. We were all getting sick. Everything from sinus infections to strep throat, my household was taken over by illness. Of course, this makes it very difficult as a working parent. Who takes off from work each day when you have a sick child? The struggle is real, especially since I am also in graduate school at the moment. I have argued about this with my husband more times than I care to admit but it is a serious issue.

We have found that taking turns seems to be the best resolution. On the days we are both busy, we try to split the day evenly so that we can both get work done. On days where extra help is available, I have even paid a babysitter to help me at home so that I can get work done during the day. 

Last time he was sick this fall he took a nap while eating lunch!

While I have taken the opposite advice than this Working Mother blog, I am trying to find the balance in at all.

How do you handle your children’s illnesses when you are working? 

Not Overscheduling Children

One item I have been struggling with lately is children’s activities. Do I have my kids in enough activities or too many? My daughter participates in two to three activities each year and normally a few camps each summer. I am really happy with this number, but I have other friends whose children are in an activity each day after school. I wonder if I am not doing enough for my daughter. My poor son isn’t really in any activities yet but given his age, I don’t feel as bad about that. 

My son playing football in the yard.

In doing some research on this topic, I came across a great post from Kristen Cherry on the Nashville Mom’s Blog. She had for great tips that really helped me realize that I need to do what is best for my children and not feel the social pressure to do more. Also, I really like her tip on making free time actually free. This is a concept that I have always done with my kids. No tablets, no video games, no TV for a period of time can really help with creative play.

For other mom’s in this same situation, what have you done to make sure your children are not overscheduled? 

Stressful Holidays

Holidays can be stressful on families with small children. Having to travel with kids and their gear in tow isn’t always easy. For us, we have to travel during the holidays to visit my husband’s side of the family. While it isn’t an 8-hour drive, it is still a significant time in the car for little kids. I pack tons of snacks, the iPad, and other toys for entertainment but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. 

More toys!

Once we arrive at her house and unload all of the gear, we just need a break but we all know there is no break at the holidays. Also, our kids don’t sleep very good out of town so the next day, we are always zombies. I know there are other parents who travel for holidays with young kids. In looking for advice, I found his blog post. I am going to try incorporate some of these tips next holiday season. If you have advice on how to make the holidays less stressful traveling with children, please leave a comment. 


I would not know what to do without my parents and my mother in law. They are so helpful when it comes to watching our kids and loving on them. Seriously, I am so blessed to that my kids have three very loving grandparents. That said, I do struggle sometimes with them not following my directions. After all, they all raised kids and we survived, right? Throw the bedtime out the window, give them all the chocolate, and cut their hair without my permission. You see the hair cutting is where I lost my mind. This past fall, I was sick in bed when my dad came home with my son. As soon as I saw him I instantly knew he had cut his hair. Instead of losing my mind right then, I waited until he left only to find out later he cut the hair with kitchen scissors. 

As you can see from the picture, it was rather awful and required a trip to the barber shop. What made me so mad was that I had been telling my dad I planned to take him to get his haircut soon but he took matters into his own hands. I felt he crossed the line but my dad doesn’t feel he did anything wrong. Now that my anger has settled, I am able to joke about it with him but he better never cut it again.

The awful haircut!

How do you discuss disagreements with your children’s grandparents? I am sure this won’t be the last so please add your advice in the comments. 

About me

Hi, I am Mallorie Mendence, APR, a working public relations and special events professional at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I live in Maryville, TN, with my husband, two young children, and three cats. If life were not already chaotic enough between working full time and raising two children under the age of five, I decided to throw getting my master’s degree into the mix. Why be boring, right? Amid diapers, papers, work, endless amounts of laundry, and daily stresses, life is a chaotic mess and certainly never calm. In Mom Before the Storm, I will cover the daily parenting struggles that all parents experience but might be reluctant to share. I hope my chaotic life experiences inspire others to see that being present over perfect really is attainable even with you see no light at the end of the tunnel. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy but fun ride!