Knock, Knock: It’s Your Mother-in-Law
It’s not fair to pick on mothers-in-law, but since I’m not one yet I’ll use them here to illustrate my point. Having out-of-town family and friends stay with you in the days before and after a big holiday can be helpful if they pitch in and offer constructive help in a non-judgmental way. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Whether it’s your in-laws who come with their yippy dog in tow or your adult children home from college, having extra people in your home while you’re doing all the holiday preparations can be stressful. There are extra mouths to feed, more demands on the water heater, and … how is the toilet paper roll empty again?!
Holidays are emotional landmines in some families. It may not just be the comings and goings of extra people in your house, but the relationships themselves that cause strain. It doesn’t matter how successful you are at work, how long you’ve been paying your own taxes or even that you remember to floss every day, when your mother shows up on your doorstep you may find yourself right back in that parent-child relationship that is loaded with emotional baggage.
When adult children come home they leave their dishes around like they’re 14 again (this never happens at my house, ahem). Suddenly you’re care-taking again for people who shouldn’t require it.
One word: boundaries, baby!
Boundaries are how you establish ground rules for what you will and won’t tolerate in your home. Dr. Phil has a knack for catchy phrases and one of his best is “you teach people how to treat you.”
You need a clear game plan with regard to your responsibilities as host and those of your guests. If you’re a guest in someone else’s home this can be trickier because you must play by their rules, but in your own home you make the rules. Be kind but firm about what you expect of others when they come to stay. Let them prepare dinner or take you out. Show them where the washing machine is and how the vacuum cleaner works.
Maybe the biggest challenge of all is not letting these dear people, with all of their well-intentioned comments and advice, get under your skin. It’s your house; you know best.
Healthy eating and fitness are just a part of the healthy living equation. You’re entitled to enjoy a relaxing holiday whether you’re a guest or you’re hosting a house full of people. To accomplish emotional balance you may have to look hard at the way you allow the behavior and opinions of others affect you. Enjoy their company and the time together, but establish boundaries for how this is gonna go down.
If losing weight were just a matter of eating X, Y & Z, it would be easy, wouldn’t it?! It’s not. It’s much harder than that. But it gets easier. And you’re so worth it!
Let’s go get it!