Sunday, December 1, 2013
It is the final night of a four day "vacation" for a lot of us. Are you laughing like a movie character in an insane asylum, in the running for an Oscar??? Are you dreading the final dash to New Years Day, thinking "Oh, dear Lord, how will I ever make it???..."How will I ever get it all done???" ..."When am I going to sleep, eat, & heaven forbid; take care of ME???"? Well let me help you out with that!
Notice the common pronoun in all of those questions in the paragraph above? Yep, "I"! Well "I"; I am about to rock your world. YOU do NOT have to do it all!!!!!!! I am not sure when the "to do" list got put mostly on "I's" plate, but it is time to change. Holidays are meant to be SHARED! Not just the fun par,t but ALL of it.
Make a list of the things that need to be done (tree, cleaning, decorating, presents, cookies, cooking, holiday parties...etc.) Call the family together and ask what everyone wants to do to help. No seriously stop laughing. Oh, they don't want to help. NO PROBLEM. Cross it off your list. If they don't want to help, then it is not that important to them. Of course this does not apply to very small children, but if they are in grade school they can follow simple directions and they can help! Oh it won't be "perfect", you pout. Well you have two choices; you can do it yourself, have it "perfect" and be too tired and stressed to enjoy it, or you can let them do it, which gives them life skills, a sense of accomplishment, and you a few extra minutes to breath, sleep, or do something for "I".
If you are thinking I am out of my ever loving mind, I am not, but I was at the end of my rope and stressed to the point I was....well let's just say, less than pleasant. One of my boys said to me, "If it makes you this unhappy and stressed then why do you do it???" Well out of the mouths of babes! And I had no answer for my child. I just kept thinking "Why do "I" do it?" It was tradition, I needed to be a good mom and provide the "perfect" experiences for my children. But what I realized was that I was not doing what was right for me or my family. I was stressed, cranky, unhappy, snapping at everyone, and in a nut shell ruining those "perfect" experiences I was striving so hard to make. It was time for things to change!
So we sat down with the "to do" list as a family and took a long hard look at it. Fully decorating the house, I live with all males, not important. However, the tree was. Holiday parties, again all guys, they confessed there were some they dreaded attending. This one was especially hard but a simple "I am so sorry, we love you very much, but will not be able to attend." was given. Cookies, I used to bake tons of different kinds, starting often in October. My family only really cared for a few, so now everyone gets to pick 2 varieties and I am done. Yes, there are lots of people that no longer get cookies from the Withrow's for Christmas, as sad as that is, the reward is more family time and ultimately a happier mom. The list goes on but you get the idea. I am not saying it was easy and it was definitely a process. However, the entire family is so much happier and content during the holiday season and no longer look at it as a list of things we really do not want to do.
Please remember just because you have always done it, does not mean you must continue. If you all/most want to do it and they are willing to pitch in, by all means continue. You may find that after not doing some things, they may miss them, and then be willing to help out. My experience was the less we crammed in, the less we felt we needed to do. This has led to lots of time for pajama days, family movies and games, and putting the focus back where it needs to be on family and most importantly Christ! Holidays were meant to be shared and enjoyed. By sharing ALL of the holiday, you give your family the freedom to actually grow together, learn to support each other, and most importantly you will teach your children how to truly have happy holidays when they grown and become the "I". We now have the time and energy to open our home, hearts, and wallets and really make a difference, not only in our lives but in the lives of others as well. After all Jesus is the reason for season, and how can you do Him justice if you are miserable and ugly?
Wishing you a carefree and Merry Christmas!
Crystal K. Withrow