My Family Doesn’t Do That – And That’s OK!

Recently, my Mom decided that my family needed to change its ways. She didn’t want to change the fact that our dogs sit on the couch with us (I know she doesn’t approve). She wasn’t interested in the fact that my house needs countless repairs (it does!) or that the kids and I tend to do our own thing in the evening instead of sit as a family and watch tv (which is how I was brought up).

No. She decided to start small in her war in making my little family “more traditional”. She wanted to change the way we eat!! Gasp!

First off, let me bring you up to speed on my Mom. She is a wonderful lady who was recently widowed. She and my dad were married 43 years and had a great life together. I grew up in the most traditional of families and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. My Mom and Dad were the best parents I could have asked for and I credit a lot of who I am today to them.

Because my Mom lives 5 hours away from me, my sister and my Grandma, my Mom drives to my house and stays with me for about 1 week out of the month. My Mom has been doing this for the past year since my Dad passed and it has been a great experience for the kids and I.

OK. So getting back to the present story. It frustrates my Mom to no end that the kids and I don’t eat a family meal together. I use Rule #1 here and I DO WHAT WORKS FOR MY FAMILY. My 13-year-old daughter is a vegetarian, I need to watch my calories, and my 16 year-old son is a picky eater; therefore, we all prepare our own meals which means we like what we eat, I don’t waste money on food that doesn’t get eaten, and (most importantly) we are still alive. This dinner method works for my family, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to other families.

So, when my Mom came over last week, she offered to make dinner. She texted me that she would like to make tacos. I didn’t want to waste her time or money, so I was honest with her and told her the kids and I don’t eat beef (nothing against beef – we just for some reason don’t eat a lot of it unless it in hamburger form). I then told Mom why don’t we just walk to the little Mexican place or just make salads for dinner. But, no, she was determined. Her next idea was to make a fettucini-like for us.

I came home from work after a long day, and sure enough Mom had made a fettucini dish. I actually insisted my kids eat it – and they did – but my Mom was a little disappointed when we were not converted to the family dinner idea. This is where I had to be ok with being “different” as a family. I had to hold my ground when I did not seem to meet my Mom’s expectations – which was hard to do! I love my Mom and do not want to disappoint her, but it is also important to me to do what works for my family over giving in to others’ expectations of my family.

It is times like this that I have to remind myself that my little modern family works! We are happy, the kids do extremely well in school, and we have good relationships with our family and friends. We have somehow found the pieces to our family puzzle and, when put together, they make the perfect family for the kids and me!

The take home message here is that I encourage you to be brave and do what works for your family – even when it does not meet the expectations of those around you! I would love to hear how your family deals with “being different”. Do you ever feel like you “should” be more traditional, even when you know your family works best being a little unusual?

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