Keeping Yourself Happy
Sometimes you just need to lighten up, explains family reunion frequenter Lisa Cohn, author of One Family, Two Family, New Family: Stories and Advice for Stepfamilies. "Parenting styles can be very different," recalls Cohn of her family's reunions. "Sometimes you just have to let things go unless you think your kid is in danger." Cohn still recalls when her mother questioned whether her son really had food allergies. "She became offended that I wouldn't let my son eat milk products." To alleviate the frustration, Cohn carries rice or soymilk along with other snacks until she has a chance to sneak off to the store.
Plan on receiving helpful advice on all sorts of topics—from pacifiers, diapers, and nursing to potty training and schooling. Try not to take things too personally, and be grateful that someone cares.
Take time for yourself and take up relatives on their offers to care for your little one. "It's nice when people, not parents, can step in and be surrogates and give parents a rest," says Dr. Vargus. "I mean that's why you're there—to support each other."
- Lighten up and let things go.
- Remember that not everyone, even family, will share the same parenting values as you.
- Plan on receiving lots of advice.
- Let relatives share your burden and care for your baby so you can have a break.
Family reunions will become more and more important as your child grows older. Start the tradition now and take time this summer to gather with your family and introduce your baby or child to the people who love him.