As “the Mom” I tend to think of family life and the things my kids do in the perspective of “how are they affecting me.” For example, I am quick to report when my kids are doing or saying things that stress me out, but I forget that I do things that stress them out too. There are then those really charged times when we all seem to be bouncing off each other and stressing EACH OTHER out…
My eldest daughter is graduating from high school in a matter of days. I have written before that her personality and my personality are rather different on some key issues—she is a big procrastinator and I am someone who likes to get things done early. As she is facing the final few days of her high school career, she still has unfinished business. Even though I have had more than 18 years to get used to her temperament, it still stresses me out to think of unfinished projects and last-minute requirements hanging over her head. After all, I ask her, am I going to her graduation ceremonies or not?!
Of course, her behaviors are stressing me out and my behaviors are stressing her out. She points out that this is “her thing” and I am trying to make it about me. The other kids weigh in and soon we have one of those fabulous family “pots” of stress, opinion, and frustration. We feed off of each other until the stress is so thick we could cut it with a knife.
The only cure that I know of is to take a break. Admit that you are all coming at things from a different perspective but that you are equally concerned and equally involved and then let it rest. Hammering away at stressful situations seldom makes it better and things have a way of working themselves out when we stop fussing over them. Even the closest family members will grate on each other’s nerves and we need to know when to walk away and take a break before we make things worse.