I’m excited for my adult children to come home for the holidays but it usually ends up being the parade of eggshells. Meaning, each one of my kids walks into the house and then proceeds to lay down dozens upon dozens of eggshells that I’m suppose to walk on for the duration of their time at home! I love them but I cannot endure the awkwardness and moodiness in the house when it’s meant to be a time of celebration. The bottom line is, I understand that young adult life is difficult but I don’t want them taking their stress out on me or their father. How can I get this sentiment across without causing a huge blow up?
— Loving Mom who is fed up
Dear Loving Mom,
That’s the worst.
I’d try ignoring the bad behavior and refusing to participate in this eggshell parade.
I know when I go home, I can sometimes slip into teenage type behavior — i.e. asking what’s for dinner instead of helping make it, arguing with my siblings over the remote, not putting gas in the car, etc., — and this "being moody all the time" thing sounds like your kid’s version of teenage life 2.0.
So, say something to them before they come home, and it can be something like “I know you’re life is stressful and I want you to be able to relax while you’re at home we look forward to having you here whenever you can find time to come, but I don’t want you to use your time at home as a dumping ground.” Then explain the specific behavior that’s a problem and allow him/her to share what's going on in his/her life. You probably already have a good idea of what that is.
Once you decide for yourself that you’re not going to be emotionally bullied in your own home and have these sensitive but relationship building conversations, you'll start to feel better.
Lots of young adults don’t have comfy parental houses to go home to, it’s a privilege and we should all be treating it as such.
Reader questions: Are you moody or revert to teenage behavior when you go home for the holidays? Why? What types of things make you feel better?