How to Deal with Difficult Family at the Holidays

How to Deal with Difficult Family at the Holidays | Baby Chick

How to Deal with Difficult Family at the Holidays

People often say that the holidays lose their magic as we get older, and while some credit is to knowing what’s behind the scenes of all that magic, (i.e., we become Santa and lose that sense of wonder) I often think we feel this way because of heightened family tensions. I grew up in a family that spent time together at the holidays–no matter what. It did not matter if there was family turmoil or stress; we were still together. That anger and hurt was palpable as a child, and noting those awkward silences into my teenage years had me wanting to do things differently as an adult.

Now that I have a daughter, though, I am at a crossroads between wanting her to see her family and wanting to spend Christmas at home: away from the judgment, questioning, and old wounds reopening. If I have any hope to survive the holidays with my family and sanity intact, I’ve had to become creative.

How to Deal with Difficult Family at the Holidays

Create Opportunities to Get Some Space

If you’re coming in from out-of-town, finding space in the hustle and bustle of gathering family at the holidays can prove to be rather difficult. There are always opportunities, though: be the one who volunteers to go to the grocery store if there’s a last minute ingredient left off the list. Bonus points if that grocery store happens to be next to a coffee shop, liquor store, or other place of refuge that extends your foray into the wilds of holiday shoppers in lieu of going back to the ones who make you want to drink in the first place. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all: if you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed or bothered with family at the holidays, that’s the ideal time to head out and give everyone a moment to calm down and process their emotions.

What About Their Point of View?

The least exciting prospect of all the things that weigh a family down is to consider their point of view. After all, you have hard feelings for a reason. Barring certain things, though, there could be other perspectives to consider: maybe there was a miscommunication that led to the disagreement you had? Many conflicts are a direct result of miscommunication or a misunderstanding. Perhaps having a frank discussion about the way you’re feeling and looking for ways to be the bigger person would be healing for all parties involved. Oftentimes, waiting for others to make the first move means you may never get to find peace and healing from the situation. Take charge, address and confront the problem, and consider if you may have played a part in the situation–then use this opportunity to fix it.  

Don’t Allow Others to Belittle You

Just because you’re looking to be peaceful this holiday season does not mean you have to tolerate verbal abuse. Some family members do not have a filter or do not know what boundaries are: not only do you not have to listen to this, but you are totally entitled to put them in their place. Kill them with kindness or sarcasm, and let them know you (nor your spouse or children) are cannon fodder for banter or rude comments. This means rocking the boat a bit, but hopefully it might allow that person to reflect on being more empathetic. Also, the unfortunate reality we all deal with is that some family members are just assholes: ignore them completely if this is the case.

Have an Ally

Everyone needs an ally during get-togethers with family at the holidays: whether it’s your spouse, your favorite cousin, or an especially sarcastic or witty grandparent. This has been a Godsend for me through multiple heated family gatherings: from finding out I got a tattoo to announcing I’d be moving across the world (twice), I found strength in my sanity-saving partner every time. Having someone else around to lighten the mood or to diffuse tensions when things do get heavy is truly invaluable: but you could probably pay them back in the form of a drink or two.

I want there to be peace on earth and goodwill to all, and that includes my family. One of the hardest things to accept about growing older is that everyone doesn’t always get along–but that this is also okay. When you’re tempted to be drawn into family drama, to succumb to negative comments, or to allow someone to make your holidays anything less than bright, remember these tips–and remember it’s okay to give yourself the gift of silence and peace by leaving any situation that doesn’t get better.

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About the Author /

Old mom to a chocolate lab and new mom to a baby girl, former teacher and current higher education professional.

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Instagram post 18074272528164523 @debiandbebi wrote these words when she was a new mom and struggled with #postpartumdepression. She hopes to remind everyone that it is okay to struggle with being a new mom and that does not mean you don't love your baby. ❤️⁠
(quote by @debiandbebi)⁠
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Instagram post 17863413055589017 When they wake up in the morning and give you that big grin . . . 😍 There is nothing sweeter.⁠
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Instagram post 17848203934772065 Her comes Amazon, here comes Amazon, right down my driveway! 🎶📦🤣⁠
📷: @cmon.mama⁠
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Instagram post 17862171103601373 All of these things make me happy. What would you add to your self care toolbox?⁠
I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17974795027288980 Was he dreaming he was riding a bike last night escaping from wild animals?! OUCH! 🤕🚲⁠
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Instagram post 18081610903134401 Praying that your toddler let's you get to sleep this weekend. 🙏💤⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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Instagram post 17866776847554303 Above all else, let us teach them to be kind. 💗⁠
(quote: @mommywinetime)⁠
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Instagram post 17853200368708392 SURPRISE! A little shocked, a little tired, and a LOT BLESSED. Congrats, @sarah_lit! ❤️⁠
📷: @sarah_lit⁠
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Instagram post 17864808397574241 Pregnant and hungry all the time? Here are some great ideas to keep in the fridge when the hunger pains kick in! 🤰👍⁠
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Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
📷: @lawrenrosephotography⁠
Informative post and words by @bundleborn⁠
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Instagram post 17852665306696124 With the holiday season upon us and moms trying to make everything magical for their families, remember to stop and take a moment to take care of you. ❤️ Have a hot cup of coffee, a long warm shower and some alone time. Communicate this with your partner not as a wish but as a necessity. We must take the time to take care of ourselves to better take care of them. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 18095239591099259 After holiday feasting . . . this baby gets me.⁠ 🤣
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Instagram post 17844162355818683 I think I had a little too much turkey . . . and pie. 😬🍗🥧 #leggingsforlife⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
📷: @madiford2 via Twitter⁠
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Instagram post 18094211479105476 I spy with my little eye the cutest turkey ever. 😍 Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope it's filled with love, laughter, and cuteness like this. ❤️⁠
📷: @emilyshapaka⁠
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Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Repost: words and 📷 by @psychedmommy⁠
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Instagram post 17862516742586656 Pass the rolls. Baby rolls, bread rolls, all the rolls.⁠ 😍🍞👶 #thanksgivingjokes 😜⁠
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Instagram post 17867282176536875 ⁠For the week of Thanksgiving (and longer if you can!) let's focus on what we DO have instead of what we lack. The more we express gratitude and appreciate our blessings the more we recognize all of our blessings and everything we should be thankful for. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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