For Thanksgiving 2018, the American Automobile Association expects 54 million U.S. residents to travel at least 50 miles from home – the highest number since 2005. While sometimes easier to push away Un-cope-able Parents’ and other aging relatives’ temper tantrums at summer’s sunny height, you’re about to be smacked with full-blown holiday madness. In this first of two parts, let’s get ahead of the stressful curve. Shall we?
Why Are You Doing This Again?
Ironically, I start with what could be an unhelpful question. Why do you put yourself through the annual nuttiness? Duh, you’re thinking… It’s expected. It’s what we’ve always done. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the ordeal of tangled traffic, overflowing airports and harried folks everywhere. It’s too late to change November plans anyway. Agreed. But do you really want a rinse-and-repeat of the grating family drama at Christmas and beyond?
Identify Your Triggers
Or, are you ready for a change? If so, I’m going to pose the same thought-provoking question a coaching client asked me. What are your parental triggers? With my Mom, it was her oblivious and dithery nature. For my Dad, it was his constant boastful and narcissistic dialogue. I request you to spend time you feel you don’t have to identify what your annoying elders say or do that has you want to pull out your hair by the roots. Believe me, it’s worth your consideration.
Plan Your Boundaries
If you’re staying in your Un-cope-able Parents’ home, it’s likely layered with unhappy memories. Plan to bring along comforting items that remind of your healthy life. Keep Mom and Dad out of your ‘safe’ space! If they’re staying with you, protect your day to ensure moments for yourself. If traveling to a third location, share meals. Then go off for ‘solo’ periods to recharge. Naturally, your folks will protest. Do these things anyway!
Stay Tuned for Holiday Survival Strategies
Again, why am I spending an entire blog appearing to question your plans for this frenzied upcoming period when we’re pretty much into it? Well, if no one stops the patterns long enough to reflect, nothing shifts. Isn’t it Einstein who said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”?
Stay tuned for part two where I address three typical Un-cope-able Parent triggers and what caregivers can do about them.