Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas and family disagreements

Leigh reminded me that not everyone has it as easy as I do with regard to families and disagreements over holiday issues like Santa:

Sigh. I let my mother bully me into doing Santa (dh really didn't care one way or another.). I completely regret it now, but I don't want to burst the bubble right here at Christmas time, kwim? When my oldest found out that Santa wasn't real, she was five...she just figured it out herself, and I confirmed it. My mom told her behind my back that I was wrong, and that Santa really was real...that I just didn't know what I was talking about. How's that for family controversy? LOL

Sometimes our families disagree with our decisions. I guess even when my kids are adults I will think they should do things the way I do.

My mother really blessed me (and released me from guilt) when I was getting married. She told me to start making new traditions with my new family. She said I didn't have to do everything the way she had, just the things I really liked. She advised me to take some traditions from my husband's family and incorporate them into our family. She told me that there would be Christmases when I would be away from her, and she might be alone, and that was OK. She told me that if I had kids, I would be their mother, not her, and she would try not to interfere.

I was 39 when she was telling me this, and she was 79. She only had 7 years to interfere in my married life. But she was true to her word!

My mother-in-law doesn't interfere either. Oh, I can think of a few times I might have annoyed her by doing something in a way she didn't like. But other people have voiced their (negative) opinions and occasionally tried to undermine our parenting. My husband and I always had unity of thought and confidence in what we were doing. So even in the face of criticism we were able to say "thanks, but we're doing it this way." And when we are confident and united, I think we will get more respect.

Now there will always be people who that won't work with, I guess. We have to do our best to love them anyway, and minimize their impact on our kids. Sometimes I guess we might have to be firm. We might have to contradict our parents when they tell our kids some things, and we might have to hurt their feelings. Around the holidays, that's harder than ever. So sometimes we might just have to let them win. Sometimes we have to pick our battles. When it's a minor issue, like Santa or no Santa, we can afford to be gracious.

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