Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Family Ties

I have this thing with family and how they should be when you are in a relationship – which generally speaking is seen but not heard. My family is great, we may not speak to each other every day but we have an equal respect of personal life and privacy. For example, my Mom doesn’t call me every time she has a make-up issue, or something of a not so-emergency context. She waits, asks my step dad or figures it out for herself. She doesn’t load on the guilt trip either. Maybe its how I was brought up, maybe its just my family and how understanding, realistic, and modern we are.

What I’m getting at is this…when you are in a relationship (that means there’s 2 of you), your significant other/husband/wife is first..then your family. Not your family then your SO/H/W. So for instance, your dad has a computer problem so he picks up the phone to call you because you are more techy savy than he, but this doesn’t happen once a month, it happens once a week, twice a week, and you continually drop everything to go to his rescue. In a perfect world, dad should have bought into the helpdesk feature when buying the computer or signed on with the Geek Squad, knowing that you have a life and can’t jump thru hoops every time there’s a semi disaster. There’s even schools locally that offer adult ‘computers for dummies’ courses that are pretty cheap. We’ve lived without computers before, we can sure as hell do it again. I think some of us are pretty self sufficient, we can put up a shelf, shovel snow, clean a sink drain, pull nails out of the wall, but if you are married/attached, who do you ask for help? Do you call your Mom or Dad or do you call your husband/significant other? I know I’d call on my H/SO first before anything else, even after I attempted it myself. I wouldn’t call family unless I really needed to and by then it wouldn’t be an emergency anymore, I could survive without it because its not the end of the world.

I find it amazing how many people jump thru hoops for their family when in turn their family won’t do the same for them. I understand the concept of ‘family’ but if you scratch their back, they should scratch yours, its not a one way blood line. Anyway, when you visit your parents, do you just walk right in? Do you just show up? Or do you respect their life and give them some notice or at least a phone call…because in the real world, you never know what you could be walking in on and they should do the same. I was brought up to always call first, not to just ‘stop in’ just because I was in the area or happened to be driving by. And for holidays are you told where to go? Or do you make your own itinerary? I know if it was up to me, I’d have all my friends over on Thanksgiving and go on vacation for Xmas, but so far that hasn’t happened yet. But I do decide where I’m going for the holidays and if they can’t accept where I’ve decided to go, then its too bad. To me holidays are just another day for dinner and traveling anyway, another blog I have yet to write.

I’m no expert, and definitely not a psychiatrist, but I’m also not pulling this out of the sky. If you don’t put your SO/H/W first, there could be major underlying problems because the family will never get the hint and they will continue to manipulate you and never respect your life for how it is now. They need to understand that you are a grown person, that you make your own decisions, that you have a life and that you can’t go running to their rescue all the time (especially if they are married then they have a spouse to take care of their problems and not you). You won’t cut them out of your life but you now have another one to live.

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