“I don’t need a holiday or a feast to feel grateful for my children, the sun, the moon, the roof over my head, music, and laughter, but I like to take this time to take the path of thanks less traveled.” Anonymous
“The Holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings, and seek out ways to make life better for those around us.” Terri Marshal
The holidays are coming and you can already feel the anxiety. We all have it yet think we are the only ones sensing the stress. Some of us hide our fear better than others but without a doubt none of us like being criticized or gossipped about when the occassion is over. In truth our reality differs from what another experiences. None of us comprehend the total meaning behind words actions or gifts and we fret about our own situation unaware of the bombs we drop on others.
Attempt to experience a good time without negative thinking before it begins. Don’t poison your holiday with negative expectations. Setting yourself up for a lousy time will already define your experience. Remember that as much as you want a good time so does the rest of the family. Hurting your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law creates a disastrous happening for the son or husband. It takes only one person to make or break the happiness. It is your choice so choose wisely. It reflects on all of us. Every Holiday is different and can’t really be repeated. Love can always be present and repeated time and again. Following are a few hints derived from my books and my thoughts on the subject and others feelings about it.
AFTER THE DIVORCE, DON’T THROW THE FAMILY OUT WITH THE EX-HUSBAND
1. Take control of the situation at the beginning. Trashing your MIL in front of the kids will fuel distrust in your kids. If you stopped loving dad and grandma you just might stop loving them one day.
2. When your marriage has ended, the kids are dislodged and dealing with many changes. The grandparent relationship becomes more significant to them, offering some stability.
3. Put aside fear, doubts, anger and especially revenge. It only leads to dumping more hurt upon yourself and your kids.
4. Talk to your MIL and explain to her how much your kids value her. Allow her to continue her relationship with them. In this way you avoid revenge which is a contagious disease that infects everyone
5. Your child’s happiness is more important than convincing your MIL she is wrong. There are no winners or losers in any confrontation. Kids suffer defeat every time a family member is absent from their lives.
6. Generating bonds of respect with your MIL will keep your ex-husband more involved with the kids. Bonds of love are always more difficult to break.
7. Your MIL loves her grandchildren and she will treat you with respect if it means her connection to her grandchildren will continue.
8. Be patient and give your MIL time to heal. Being non-judgmental allows you to heal and have some support from your MIL. The MIL, DIL relationship is like any other. It requires time and effort.
9. With tolerance and acceptance, the barriers both women have constructed will break down. We can’t fight with someone who is just not taking the bait and fighting back.
10. In the end it is wise to remember you, your ex-husband, MIL, and children are part of a large quilt which includes all of you. Your kids have roots that are tangled with each family member. Damaging any parts of their roots destroys pieces of their foundation. Keep kids healthy and strong in mind and body. Do what it takes and strive for peace.
Kids can be jealous of step kids and especially half siblings. Kids resent step parents disciplining them and one must question fairness when their own kids are involved. Kids exhibit more anger due to numerous stresses of mixed homes, many parents and disciplinarians and more kids to compete with. Be consistent, don’t compare, attempt to be on the same page, and always give respect time and love. Don’t fight in front of kids and never talk about the other parent or allow the step parent to do this as it will only hurt the child. Instill rules with meaningful consequences and provide choices. Willingly accept support from extended family members; You don’t want to cut your kids roots and thus destroy the plant. Kids are sensing a loss of family otherwise.
Reflections for Mothers-in-Law
Remember your daughter-in-law has a family, too. She cherishes spending time with them holiday central, and be thankful to share it with people you love.
Your daughter-in-law may anticipate visiting her family on the holidays. She might be more anxious to see them if they live at a distance. Try to give of yourself. When all is said and done, we remember who did what for us quicker than who gave what to us. It is fun to visit with someone throughout the year. The holidays are only a short period of time. It is the people who make the holiday special.You cannot compete with your daughter-in-law‟s mother. You can become a significant ally to your daughter-in-law. Promote your own relationship of family love with her.
Each holiday is unique in itself. It is not possible or necessary to repeat a holiday experience. Embrace each holiday. They have their own distinct moments. Give unconditionally, and you will not be disappointed. Equating the gifts from your daughter-in-law or mother-in-law to the value she places on your worth is a mistake. Most of us choose a gift we would prefer for ourselves and one we can afford. Holiday traditions change, and are a part of life. When a child starts school it is change and when a child marries it is change. Bear with each other regarding the changes. Join in the festivities.
Reflections for Daughters-in-Law
Lend a helping hand when possible, and remember to value the person who donates his or her time and effort for you. Make an effort to visit with your mother-in-law at other times during the year. This is especially important if you do not get to spend the holi-days with her.
Remember to cherish your mother-in-law‟s traditions. They were developed over numerous years and possess profuse memories. Be fair in dividing your time and your husband‟s with your respective families. Your mother-in-law deserves equal attention. Invite your mother-in-law for a holiday as you would your own mother. She is your husband‟s mother.
Do not equate your mother-in-law‟s or daughter-in-law’s gifts to how she cherishes you.
Do not anticipate quantity from your holidays or from your gifts. Search for quality.
Accept your mother-in-law‟s invitations to holiday meals whenever you are able.
Your family‟s traditions and your husband‟s family traditions will differ. Accept and enjoy these differences. Have faith that love is shared and celebrated every day, not just on a holiday.
“Having somewhere to go is HOPE, Having someone to love is FAMILY, having both is a BLESSING.” Anonymous
“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” Bob Hope
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it”s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home
“Don’t spoil Christmas Day by anticipating how it will be. Let is unfold as it does, and be grateful for whatever comes.” Toni Sorenson
“The spirit of Christmas is found when we lift the load of others.” Toni Sorenson