Generally speaking, my extended family on my husband’s side (AKA in-laws) are a wonderful bunch of people that we don’t see nearly enough. Because we live clear across the country, we’ve grown accustomed to our own way of doing things so getting together involves friction. Every time. Yes, I’m a big ‘ol control freak. And when I’m on their turf, I’m not the boss of anything. Usually, a few days into the visit, I’m shedding tears because I don’t get to make any decisions.
In the ongoing quest to lower the bar and have happier holidays, I reached out to the professional happy people for tips. As a personal goal, I’m hoping to get through a cross-country in-law visit without crying every day — or maybe not at all! — but there I go raising the bar again.
Gretchen Rubin, the best-selling author of The Happiness Project, responded right away. We’re not BFF’s or anything, but she probably recognized this task as something she could clear out of her in-box in less than a minute.
Reflecting on my goal of less family drama at the holidays, Gretchen sent me these posts:
- 7 tips for getting along with your difficult relatives over the holidays: My favorite is #1 to spend a few minutes in advance thinking about how I want to behave. I can do this! I think I can; I think I can.
- 9 tips for lifting yourself out of the holiday blues: When she writes, “’Tis the season to celebrate ”“ and also the season to feel overwhelmed, lonely, angry, irritated, and rushed,” I know she gets me. From this set of lessons, I resolve to pack my running shoes (among other deeper things like remembering the love).
- 10 tips for getting along with your mother-in-law: I might need to reread this one during the visit or copy down the key points on a tiny piece of paper I keep in my pocket. Clearly, I ought to remember my own values, but allow for grandparent privilege. Yeah, totally.
I also want to give a nod to Meagan Francis fromÂ the Happiest MomÂ (author of The Happiest Mom). She is the happy mom of five children who prioritizes her own happiness and celebrates imperfection. If I can handle a few more great suggestions, she gives a couple:
- 4 helpful tips for moms dealing with critics: Does everyone else around the room have an opinion about your parenting? I love these tips for shaking off the critics. I could have used this last year.
- If I struggle or falter with my happiness during the chaotic travels of the coming week, I will remember that the relationship is always more important than being RIGHT. I will remember the great advice she gives in happy marriage advice from a previously divorced mom. Anyway, I’ll try.
And I will roll with it. Tears or not.