Monday, September 21, 2009

What relatives and fish have in common

My father in law has a saying. (Stop me if you've heard this one.) Relatives are like fish. After a day, they start to stink. And my husband and I jokingly refer to our longstanding 24 hour rule. It's simply this: We always have more fun if we keep our visits to a day's length.

You get all the fun of seeing your fam with none of the baggage.


The first time you serve that elaborate meal or pick up the wet towels in the bathroom, you're still filled with that warm glow that comes from serving others. "They're family," you think. "And don't they just think I'm the best hostess ever?"

Three days later you're doing well if everyone's on speaking terms.

Now every family's different, it's true. I just think we have problems when we put all this pressure and all of these expectations on family events. Then when they fall apart, disaster.

That's why it's more important than ever to focus on rewarding yourself as you serve others. I might be hosting family this week, but I'm still making time for my three gifts to myself:

1. writing time
2. restoration time (painting toenails, doing my hair and makeup, etc.)
3. reading time

Family visits are much more fun when you respect your own needs.

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