As we approach the holiday season, some of us just can’t wait to reconnect with family and friends. But that’s not all of us, though. Some of us are planning our escape routes because we dread the stress and drama that comes with the holidays.
Although this should be a peaceful, joyous time of the year, we all know it doesn’t always go down like that. Sometimes, the holidays bring up bad memories about people who are no longer with us. Sometimes, the holidays remind us of things we don’t care to discuss. And, sometimes, we are dealing with our own personal issues like financial stress and depression—issues that can leave us too depleted to deal with anyone else’s mess.
And I wish I could say that the holiday drama is nothing to worry about, but often that just isn’t true depending on who the drama is with. Sure, maybe drama with an old friend or a cousin is easy to brush under the rug or maybe even resolve, but drama with your mama? We all know that drama is often way more complicated.
So how do you avoid drama with your mama and make this holiday season more peaceful and enjoyable? Here are a few tips that may help.
1. Be the bigger person
Easier said than done, but it sure does make a huge difference. A few years ago, I was in a tough place with my mom. We argued frequently and had a hard time getting along if we were around each other for too long.
I decided that the drama would never come to an end unless I decided to be the bigger person and just ignore certain things. I began to walk away or change the subject when I felt an argument coming on, and our relationship began to improve. I know the desire to prove your point is strong, but if you value peace of mind more than being right, be the bigger person.
2. Focus on the positive
Instead of dreading the possible stress ahead, focus on the positive things. Maybe your mama loves drama, but think about catching up with the family members that don’t. Or if you know the drama is usually about a certain topic, stay clear of that topic as much as you can and focus on the things about your mama that you like or value. Your mama may be far from perfect, but so are you. Shift your focus, and it will make all the difference.
3. Adjust your expectations
I firmly believe that most of the pain we experience in life is the result of expecting the people in our lives to be someone other than who they truly are. You know who your mama is, and chances are, she isn’t changing.
If your mom is too critical, stop letting her criticism get under your skin. I know you are expecting her to realize that it hurts you, but she may never get there. You have to expect people to be who they are and behave accordingly. It’s hard to do, but it does reduce the amount of pain you experience and how much energy you spend engaging in the drama.
4. Relinquish some control
You want to be right. Your mama wants to be right, too. But being right is often not worth the drama that comes with it. If your mama likes to take control, let her do it. If you have a problem with her taking over in your home, suggest that dinners take place at her home.
If you prefer to have things at your house, minimize how much she can truly control by making your own decisions and being clear about where you stand. She may not like it, but as an adult it’s your right.
5. Count your blessings
The holidays are about gratitude. That said, put the drama to the side and focus on all your blessings. When we focus on the good in our lives and do things to improve the lives of others, we are less inclined to worry about what someone else is going to do to bring us down.
Learn how to forgive your mama and yourself. Drama is typically the result of unresolved pain and anger. Maybe your mama did you wrong, and you just can’t move forward. Or maybe you did her wrong, and you still feel guilty about it. Whatever the case is, let it go and forgive whoever needs to be forgiven. And remember that forgiveness isn’t about the other person; it’s about you.
Some people just won’t let go and move on unless you cleverly redirect them. You probably know your mama well enough to know what triggers the drama and what doesn’t. If you see drama on the horizon, try to redirect her attention to something that you know changes her mood. Sometimes that’s the best we can do to minimize drama with the people we love most.
BMWK family, what do you do to avoid drama with your mama during the holidays?