We got ahead of ourselves yesterday, so let’s back up. For the Sandwich Generation, long before the Thanksgiving meal, there’s a lot riding on family. This can create pressure for everyone. With blended families, there’s the challenge of logistics – accommodating the needs of others and still not compromising your own too much. And when family members live in different cities it’s hard to determine which is easier, going back home or having visitors on your turf. Of course, there are all the memories of holidays past coupled with the expectations of today – sometimes unrealistic and often unfulfilled.
Realize that what you are experiencing is normal and stress is common at this time of year. Here are a few ways to restore balance:
If you’re traveling home, remember to pack your patience. Internalized memories or old family dynamics are bound to surface. Unfinished business – like sibling rivalry and the fight for mom’s attention – is baggage that is often too large to fit in the overhead compartment. So make a decision this year to try and leave it behind.
Explore the possibility of the out of town guests staying in a hotel. It’s more difficult to have others around while preparing the meal and uncomfortable for the guests. Making a decision to house visitors elsewhere could be a relief for all of you – and the beginning of a new family tradition.
Identify your core values. A core value is about being, not about doing. For example, you may set a goal of being more relaxed rather than trying to make everything perfect. Decide to live up to these standards. Begin to take action as you create a more congruent way of life.