How Not to Let Family Drama Poison Your Porridge

"The Three Bears", Arthur Rackham's ...
“The Three Bears”, Arthur Rackham’s illustration to English Fairy Tales, by Flora Annie Steel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone is familiar with the story, “The Three Bears.” History tells us how the story evolved from an intrusive, old woman to a little girl. It’s fun to re-write the old story and give it a modern twist, but in this case, I compare the arguing three bears to family drama.

Papa Bear is unhappy. They left to take an evening walk to wait for Mama Bear’s porridge to cool. When the family returns, each accuses the other of eating the other’s porridge, not serving enough porridge, and Baby Bear whines about someone sitting in his chair. Papa Bear accuses Mama Bear of spoiling their son. Mama Bear calls Papa Bear stupid. Papa Bear grumbles as the family eats their porridge. By then, it’s cold.

Mama Bear washes the dishes and yells at Papa Bear to take the trash out. The dish washer is still broken and Papa Bear forgot to get soap. Actually, Papa Bear didn’t forget. Mama Bear forgot to buy soap at the grocery store, but chooses to forget and blame Papa Bear. They get into a row.

Baby Bear crawls out of his seat with porridge ringing his mouth. He walks into the living room and rummages through his chest of toys. Papa Bear comes in with the evening paper and sits down, rustling it angrily. Mama Bear finishes cleaning the kitchen and wiping the table. She walks into the living room and stops. She accuses Papa Bear of sitting in her chair. Her favorite cushion is flat.

Papa Bear doesn’t respond, except to rustle the paper to passive-aggressively show his anger. Baby Bear walks over to his chair and calls over to Mama Bear to say his chair is broken.

Mama Bear soothes Baby Bear and says it was probably Aunt Charlotte who broke it. Everyone knows she’s 300 pounds and must have broke out the bottom of Baby Bear’s special chair during Aunt Charlotte’s visit yesterday when she came over for tea. Papa Bear defends his sister, but to no avail. Mama Bear continues to speak against Aunt Charlotte exclaiming with irritation how often she has had to tell Aunt Charlotte to sit in Papa Bear’s chair instead. The old grandfather clock dongs deeply from the hall and it’s time for bed.

Upstairs, Papa Bear accuses Mama Bear of not making their bed. Mama Bear shrugs her shoulders and carries Baby Bear over to his small bed in the corner.

“Papa,” Mama Bear whispers.

“What?” Papa Bear sits down on the master bed.

“Papa, Aunt Charlotte is in Baby Bear’s bed!”

There’s really no moral to the story except to illustrate family drama. To avoid family drama, simply do these three things:

  1. Recognize the games online and in person. Don’t respond to them. Don’t get into the petty arguments. Abstain from the conversation, or simply tell the person, “When you are more calm, call me back and we can talk.”
  2. Refrain from blaming your spouse. It’s important to listen to your spouse. There’s no reason for your spouse to lie about not buying soap or not making the bed. Trust your spouse. Your spouse isn’t out to get you. Stand up for your spouse and parent together.
  3. Duct Tape Works. Duct tapes solves everything as do land mines and electric fences to protect your property from intrusive relatives. Kidding aside, in every family there is always an Aunt Charlotte that opens her mouth and causes strife between relatives for some unknown agenda. Duct tape across the mouth works, or simply refer to rule number one. Recognize the games and don’t get drawn in.

Both Papa Bear and Mama Bear can love each other again by learning to listen instead of nag. Family drama exists everywhere and how we react can determine whether we allow it to poison our porridge.

Share your family drama stories here and how you handle it. Humor is welcome.


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