I was just sitting here reminiscing about my past when I suddenly remembered the chaotic nature in which I was raised. Vividly I remember that whenever I was about to leave out of the house my mother would stop me dead in my tracks and give me the third degree. She fired question after question at me until I was blue in the face. Sometimes I would even forget what I was going to do.
Then when it was time to go home I would prolong the agony… find something however ridiculous to do until time got away from me. Then, “damn,” I’d say, “I am late… what the hell.”
I would have blown my curfew… yet again. But honestly who would want to go back home knowing that when I hit the door all hell is going to break loose. I was looking at world war three." When I grew up I must admit my guilt; fortunately I put my kids through the same-o-same-o. It was years before I did a reality check. I figured out that the problem lay within me. It was my anxiety at separation that made the hellos and goodbyes so unpleasant.
After many years of reflecting I have finally come up with a new habit to practice...
When the door opens and a familiar face enters; greet that family members warmly each and every time they enter your home. Genuinely; when they are about to leave out the door… remind them that you love them. Wish them with a sincere heart safe travels and a good day.
When my daughter didn’t do her chores before she left home (again!)or was late arriving home it was very tempting to greet her with the "world war three."
I try and stop myself now however and remember that I love her and want her always to look forward to coming home. Now I wait and bring up these kinds of issues much later when rapport has been built and she is much more likely to take note of my displeasure.
I have practiced this for some time now and even though I am often greeted with a grunt I try not to take it personally. After all she is her own person and shit happens. I can ask the grunting family member if maybe they had a tough day.
It has paid off. My family likes being here and my daughter actually said a few weeks ago, “I feel lucky to have you as a mom. One thing she mentioned in particular is that her friend's parents don't even look up from their computers or greet their kids (except to remind them of chores) when they come in. She told me that she would hate that and that she felt really sorry for them.
This can sometimes be a very sad and lonely world and I believe there is nothing better than being welcomed and validated as someone your family loves when you come home.
I know this can be very difficult if there are hard feelings between partners but I also believe it is one of the fastest ways to thaw a deep freeze in family relationships. It takes an unassuming nature, mercy and guts to attempt this endeavor. It is also important that you do not have too much expectation of instant results or you may end up resented for being manipulative.
When your family comes home they need time to adjust and settle in. The more comfortable you are with yourself and the more you work on your own habits the less time you have to brood over minor things. If your time is filled with personal goals and you have activities to keep yourself busy you will be a much happier person and likely find that people like being around you.