My parents are rockstars. I can’t imagine life without mom and dad.
Starting with with Marc. Let’s get one thing straight. My dad, is the funniest, GOOFIEST, most light-hearted person you will EVER meet. The type of goofy where he STILL gives wedgies, wet willies, and will walk into Walmart with high-water pants (up to his chest, lookin’ RIDIC) just to make me laugh. You can’t be around my dad without laughing. My dad taught me that you have one life to live, don’t waste it chasing after success or things that are fleeting, but enjoy every big and small moment because that’s all we have.
My mom on the other hand, well… she is more like me. Us Austin ladies, we LOVE to work. My mom loves a challenge. Anna Marie gets a thrill from seeing growth and NOTHING holds Mama Austin back. My mom’s first email address says it all, BusyBeingBusy@aol.com. (LOL to the old AOL days). She’s completely self-made and is one of the strongest women you’ll ever encounter. She has had like, 100 different jobs…met my dad as a model, hosted a national TV show, went Pro level at Tennis at some point, and now runs and manages her own jewelry business. My mom is insanely savvy and HAS A HUGE heart. She is constantly calling me, “Dani, how can I help you? Dani, can I come over to take your instagram pics? Dani, what do you need?” She is one heck of a mom and makes sacrifices all day long for her kiddos.
SO HOW WAS THERE EVER CONFLICT? Aside from the fact that my parents are freaking awesome, I’d say their biggest downfall is that they are human, and humans can’t be perfect. So I write this blog post NOT to bash on my parents, but to share with you what I have learned from maintaining and caring about our relationship, at all stages of my life.
MY PARENTS ARE NOT PERFECT !? **MIND BLOWN!** Right?! My parents are not perfect but they would do ANYTHING for me. They love me and my brother more than anything. Growing up, it was really difficult to remember this. With age and maturity, I am able to understand how much they really do care about me and why they made some of the decisions they did.
I used to try to change the way my parents thought or acted when we encountered conflict. I was set on fixing them or changing their minds rather than respecting their opinions. Sometimes I was right and sometimes I was wrong but that’s not what it’s about because at the end of the day, I had to also consider what can I do to make peace? It’s not always what your parents say but how you RESPOND that adds to a conflict. Speaking calmly, thinking about what you say before you say it, and biting your tongue – goes a long way toward smoothing things over.
Of course, some things never change — Mom might still offer her unsolicited opinions on your career and wardrobe, and Dad might still only start a conversation if it has to do with your car. The key is to try to understand their perspective, love the best parts of your parents, and accept the rest.
APPROACH CONFLICT LIKE A TEAMMATE. I want what is best for me. My parents want what is best for me. At the end of the day, we are all on the SAME team working towards the same goal! Put the issue
CHANGE THE SUBJECT. This one was HUGE for me! Stop taking the bait. If your parents bring up an annoying subject you KNOW you are going to disagree on, listen politely, then change the subject. You’re not likely to change each other’s minds, but you can navigate these minefields by controlling your reactions and setting boundaries about what you talk about. When mom brings up how I should run my business, I listen, thank her for the advice (whether I asked for it or not), take a minute to appreciate the fact that she even cares, and then change the subject ASAP! We were born in totally different generations and I know for a fact we wont see eye-to-eye on some things so I’ve set boundaries in what we talk about to avoid fights.
KEEP OPEN COMMUNICATION. I saw a HUGE difference in our relationship when I started to consistently communicate with my dad. Just sending him daily selfies of what I was doing in college or what I was studying, brought us a lot closer. I called my mom on the way to class daily for a quick run-down of my day. Staying connected with small updates made my parents feel so much closer and appreciated. After all, my parents sacrificed SO much of their lives to make me happy. The least I can do is answer their calls and keep them close in my life.
Try adding your parents on snapchat or instagram! It can be a REALLY fun way to connect. Plus, parents say (and send) the darndest things.
SHOW APPRECIATION. I have realized that I work as hard as I do because somestimes I feel guilt for receiving so much from my parents when I didn’t deserve it. And then let’s get real, sometimes, I am flat out selfish and totally neglect how much they have done for me. My parents worked their hardest to provide for our family. If you are like me and talking about your feelings (especially to your parents) is kind of difficult, try writing your feelings down in a letter or text message.
TELL YOUR PARENTS WHAT BOTHERS YOU. If you love your mom and dad but they drive you batty, your resentment can eat away at your relationship. So don’t seethe silently. Communicate, with gentleness and respect. For instance, if your mom keeps calling you at work, tell her that your boss is starting to notice and, while you love talking to her during the day, it’s beginning to affect your job performance. Arrange a call you can both count on at a mutually convenient time.
GROW UP. If you want your parents to stop treating you like a child, make sure you never give them an excuse by acting like one. That means no yelling or whining, no matter how much they aggravate you. Start handling issues with more maturity and logic rather than letting your emotions run wild.