My parents are here for Easter, and as with all families, that comes with its share of Stuff. My mom in particular brings up a lot of the emotional issues that I’m working to change in myself. She is very focused on doing things “the right way” – which just happens to be the same as “her way”. She has gotten better over the years, in that she’s more subtle in her approach, but the judgment and disapproval are the same.
Unfortunately, in contrast, I’m trying to learn to be less critical of myself, and to accept that there are many equally good ways to do something. Perhaps most importantly, I’m still learning that I can make different decisions from my mom, and have her disapprove, and that won’t be the end of the world.
Basically, Mom pushes the buttons that I’m teaching myself not to push. As a result, I feel like I’m under attack. I feel like I’m in a boxer’s stance all the time – constantly moving, shifting from one foot to the next, trying to anticipate the next direction of attack. Of course Mom doesn’t mean to attack, per se, but in a way her motivations don’t really matter.
I’m exhausted from the effort of defending myself and my decisions. I shouldn’t have to defend the fact that I use large eggs in my baking. (Mom uses extra large, which is what Barefoot Contessa always uses, so why would I choose to use large?) I shouldn’t feel bad that I’m not buying white patent leather shoes for my girls to wear on Easter Sunday – I feel okay with a nice pair of white sandals. These are just two examples of the two hundred subtle attacks I feel like I’ve fought off.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned recently, it’s that I need to have coping mechanisms in place for dealing with these situations. There’s a larger issue of how to deal with Mom herself, but I can’t tackle that at the moment. Right now it needs to be about reducing the stress and anxiety I feel – which is manifesting itself as a pile of hot rocks in my belly. That’s progress on the mind-body connection, yes? 🙂
And with that, I pull out my trusty toolbox and find some tools I can use.
- I’m going to go for a walk. It’s cold outside, but sunny and clear – a perfect day for a walk.
- I’m going to take some time to myself to read and relax.
- I’m going to step away from the bag of dark chocolate chips calling my name. (Even though dark chocolate is good for you… 🙂 )
- I’m going to set a reasonable bedtime for myself so that I get enough sleep.
Maybe by writing these down, I’ll be better about committing to them. At least I recognize that this is a time when I need to pull out as many tools as I can – please chime in if there are others I could use!