Step Monsters

15 Dec

"and how are you today?"

We are a rich and diverse mix of people coming from a variety of social, spiritual and economic backgrounds.. and that’s just in our own families.  In fact, some of our family gatherings have come to resemble small-town get-togethers; what with all the step family members, half sisters and brothers, chosen family, adopted loved ones and best friends.  Family portraits can look like a wild bunch of people who don’t seem to have a thing in common.

One of my cousin’s said it best,  “Our family has nothing to do with genetics.”

These days, that describes most families.

While all these people move in and out of our lives, we can appreciate each one for their unique individuality.  Still, some are a little easier to relate to and get along with than others.

Even genetically related “first-families” struggle with expectations during the holidays.  This pressure amplifies when we are gathering with new family members we have yet to meet or don’t know very well.  All that tension can turn step mothers into step monsters and in-laws into out-laws.

It’s common to feel overwhelmed by the holiday schedule, let-alone the apprehension about what others will say and how they will act when we get together.  It’s helpful to let go of the expectation that certain family members will act (up) just as they did last year.  We all deserve to be seen as we are today and not judged on one of our bad days from the past.  Believe me, we all have bad days and unfortunately with the stress of the holidays they can show up at the absolute worst time.

Ultimately, we all want to belong.  Compassion is the pathway to connection and a genuine sense of belonging.  Letting others know that we care and we are there for them are the greatest gifts anyone can give or receive.  Compassion is all about doing something good without expectations.  Bonding occurs naturally when we realize that the other person is just like us.  We are equally important.

So, my advice is to give up these 3 family myths, as soon as possible.

1.  Blending.  None of us are designed to fit into any family just-so.  Accept each other as they are.  Allow others to connect as they are naturally inclined to.  This will happen or not but trying to force it doesn’t usually turn out very well.

2.  Perfection.  Not possible.  And by the way, perfection sounds really boring.  You might not like what Uncle George says over the Christmas turkey but most likely you’ll  have a giggle later.  People being “human” is most preferable to being neurotic over trying to control that which is impossible to control.

3.  Guilt.  Each person is 100% responsible for themselves.  Just because a step child has a blow-up with his new sibling or you squabble with your partner does not spell doom and gloom for your family.  Accept now that disagreements will arise and it is not all your fault that family tensions exist.

Remember, there are endless ways of doing things and seeing things.  You don’t have to agree with someone elses perspective to appreciate them.  Life is full of vivid colorful personalities and a multitude of opportunities to connect.  Now’s your chance!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: