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As we all know everyone’s life is not perfect. Everyone’s family is not perfect. Regardless of what they post online or what you see online. Everyone’s life is not that picture of the whole family, spanning 4 generations, all genuinely smiling. 

This weekend we went to my hometown. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED growing up in a small town but I always wanted more than the small town life. However going back has never been normal. My parents got divorced when I graduated college and when my brother graduated high school. Which I know we aren’t abnormal by any means, but this means my childhood home is no longer there. My parents are happy and remarried and life goes on. But going home for me has never been the warm and fuzzy.

You know the pictures you see on Christmas morning when everyone gathers around the tree, grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters and all the grandchildren. That wonderful warm, fuzzy feeling. I’m afraid I will never have that when we go to my hometown.

We stay at a hotel. Hotels in Vincennes are nice but they are no 5-star resort. So when we travel to my hometown is usually to visit family but now even that is hindered by difficult members of my family and difficult situations. We try to make time for everyone but there is always that one person that gets left out due to scheduling conflicts, work, etc.

So what I have learned in this transition in becoming a mom myself, is something that may help someone else out there dealing with difficult family members or difficult family situations. I try to be real with all my friends and readers that follow along and this is as real as it gets.

As we all know everyone’s life is not perfect. Everyone’s family is not perfect regardless of what they post online or what you see online. Everyone’s life is not that picture of the whole family, spanning 4 generations, all genuinely smiling.

Dealing with difficult people and situations

Whenever I look out my window and I can’t see a skyscraper, I feel anxious. Whether that be in Fishers or Vincennes, I’m not a fan. So whenever I felt myself getting anxious, frustrated by someone or a situation I slowed and deepen my breathing.

Take several long, slow exhales, this hopefully will lower your heart rate and blood pressure. I figured this helps me in yoga so why not give it a try in this situation too.

Accept the person fully.

When I accept that someone is difficult or challenging, I always remind myself to let go of the resistance that builds the tension or stress. A wise woman in my life once told me to always look at a person with kindness and compassion. This comes into my mind often.  It always helps me to say to myself, “I see you, and I see that you are angry and insecure. I accept that you are anxious and scared, even if I don’t understand why. I respect you and your right to have those feelings. I accept that you are making all of us anxious, too. I accept that this trouble has become my trouble for the time being.”  Once I accepted and dropped the fantasy of how I THOUGHT things ought to be, it made things a little easier for me.

I give myself permission to take care of my family/my needs first.

The first year of D3’s life I felt so guilty if certain family members spent more time with him rather than others. I always wanted to make plans with certain people JUST because I wanted them to spend time with him. I had to learn the hard way you can’t make people spend time with you no matter how hard you want them to or try to get them to. Once I realized that I needed to take care of myself and my little family and stop worrying about others, I felt a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders.  If someone wants to be in your life, part of your little family they will and if they dont, they won’t. Well, they are the ones missing out.

The most important thing…

The most important thing I have learned in dealing with difficult family members and difficult situations.  Don’t take the bait. I seriously feel like its the job of the difficult people or situation in your life to provoke you and incite. Family members know you and know how to push your buttons. Instead of engaging, see jabs and barbs as a cry for attention and connection. After a lot of research and talking with much wiser than myself, I have come to the conclusion, for a lot of people, conflict is born from an unfilled desire to feel useful and to be a part of something larger than themselves. 

We are all just looking for love, connection, and family. 

After all, we may have the tools to deal with a difficult person or situation, but if that difficult person(s) is one more to love your sweet baby that isn’t that what matters the most?

So for me going home isn’t really going home it’s more going back to a place where I once lived and visiting with family members that you don’t see very often. Hopefully going back to this small town every now and then will hold some wonderful memories for D3. I know this weekend we made some pretty great ones.

We only had to play the Duck game 10,000 times.

Not a fan of bounce houses.

Always breaking the rules

Shark! Shark! Shark!

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