Mar 7, 2019

Dealing With Different Personalities in Your Family

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

Hi, everyone! Sorry, you have to hear from me again, everyone else is off in sunny California for Expo West! I hope you got to go and run into our team, they are great people!

Today my thoughts are on dealing with conflicting personalities. See, I am taking my first vacation in five years with my family. I am an over-preparer in general, mostly because I am a nervous person. So it doesn't surprise me that when my family (Boomer parents, my 2 brothers, my sister and her nuclear family with 5 kids) decided to go on a cruise, somehow I ended up being the one that researched, picked, and booked the cruise. I handled all of the finances, ensured everyone knew what travel documents to bring, combed through port activities, and set up my mom's birthday surprise.

 Stereotypically the youngest isn't the responsible one, but honestly, I think everyone is pretty happy to not have to deal with the details, and I feel more comfortable knowing what is going on and that everything is taken care of. Because I am terrified of ending up on a ship and realizing I forgot, say, extra binky's (disastrous), and because I am actually pretty scatterbrained, I start planning early. I watch video blogs, I've pretty much read the entire website, and I keep a packing list going daily so that when my brain flits across a detail, I don't forget it later. I figure over a three week period my brain will probably cover everything, but if I leave it to the last minute, something will slip my mind. 

So this morning I called my sister with one of these fleeting thoughts (snorkeling equipment for my niece). She had said that she thought they had snorkeling gear, but she wasn't sure and had needed to check. So I was following up so I would have plenty of time to order it online if necessary. I about got my head ripped off! I guess I had been pestering my laid-back sister a little too much with my over-planning. She snapped that she wasn't even going to think about the cruise until two days beforehand when she was going to get all the laundry done and then start to think about packing. 

This is something that I absolutely cannot fathom. Only two days of planning for a family of seven? OMG! What if she doesn't have something they absolutely need readily on hand? How would she even find anything in her house so jam-packed with junk (another personality difference - I stick to minimalism)? What if it took her much longer than expected to find some necessity, leaving her stressed and crunched for time later? DO THEY EVEN HAVE LUGGAGE TAGS???

Considering how different our styles are, I'm honestly surprised it has taken this long for me to get on her nerves. But when it comes to family, the only way to survive it is to accept other people as they are, and not as you would want them to be. I think my sister and I are both pretty good at that, and about recognizing that while we are extremely different, that doesn't mean that one of us has the higher moral ground or the right to look down on the other. We just are the way we are. Not right, not wrong, just different. I can't fathom the chaos of five children (1 with autism) and I can't stand the noise of her house for very long. But she can't fathom raising a kid as a single parent working 50 hours a week. 

So bottom line, being a family is more important than what makes us different. We (at least I do) recognize the merits of different personalities, and don't get stuck in a trap of thinking one way is necessarily better than another. And when it comes to family, sometimes that is the only way to not kill each other!