The one thing I hear over and over from my clients is that their lives are very busy. No matter what age their children are.
As a parent, you are "ON" 24/7. Each stage of your children's lives requires different amounts of time and investment from you, and as they get older, that time looks different. You may not need to get up in the middle of the night to pick up an unhappy baby, but you might need to stay up and wait until your teenager gets home from work. You might not need to strap them into car seats anymore, but you are driving them all over to piano lessons, sport practices and school.
Now add the month of December. Christmas and holiday shopping, concerts, recitals, relatives staying with you, and all the extras that are added give you NO margin for taking a breath of fresh air. It is as if you are being suffocated.
Years ago, I read a book called Margin. Basically, it addresses this issue of busyness and how we are like a piece of paper-except we have no margins. If you look at a piece of ruled paper, you see lines on the sides that are margins. They keep your writing inside the lines. Like boundaries. What happens when we go over those lines?
We fill the page and there is no room to breathe.
So, how do we keep those margins or boundaries in our lives? Especially at the holiday season?
Here are some thoughts for you as you approach this season of joy!
CALL A FAMILY MEETING.
Everyone will have different expectations for this holiday season, so if you call a family meeting (provided your children are old enough to participate), ask each person to list his or her favorite holiday activities. What would make for a special time for the family? Then, ask for three things that you can do without. This will help you find some time to enjoy each other's company by doing activities on everyone's list.
LIMIT OPTIONAL EVENTS
There will be things that are "must dos". Such as your children's concerts or school events. But, do you have to attend everyone's holiday parties and/or family gatherings? Especially when they are all grouped together right before Christmas?
I remember when my children were young and we had many parties and family events open to us. We were the only ones with small children and going to three places on Christmas without being able to establish our own traditions became very taxing. We realized soon on that our children were tired, grumpy, and could not even enjoy being with family members because all we did was rush back and forth. So, we started getting together with family after Christmas and began creating our own holiday traditions at home. Our children were happier and so were we.
And, yes. We did receive some disappointment from family members, but we really needed to do what was best for our family. And, we still got to see them. Just not on Christmas Day.
GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME
When my children were young, I gave family members the gift of "time." Yep. I wanted my children to spend time with their aunts, uncles and grandparents, so I gifted them special outings and ways to spend time with my kids all paid by me. For example, I gifted "an outing to Chuck E Cheese". I paid for a craft kit that they could put together and included hot chocolate and candy. Be creative! There are so many ways to spend time together and it does not have to be in the form of a tangible thing like a scarf, or slippers.
AFTER ALL, ISN'T THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE HOLIDAYS? SPENDING TIME TOGETHER?
I know it is challenging to implement different life practices, but truly, you and your family will be happier and enjoy the holidays so much more if you are able to implement a few of these ideas.
No one ever regretted not working more, or buying more gifts. The regrets are usually about not spending time with family and loved ones in a quality way and getting to know them more.
We at Songs of Life Photography Studio believe that family is everything. We believe that the love that exists is often overlooked because of the busyness of life. We believe that every family should truly know they are loved, valued, and important, and that is why we do what we do.
If you want us to show you how much love your family has, give us a call or send us an email and ask. And, in the meantime, we hope you can have a beautiful, memorable, holiday season without all the stress!