As parents, many of us struggle with “the management” of all that we have to do on a daily basis (myself included). Scrambling to all of the kids’ activities, managing a myriad of household responsibilities and juggling multiple roles – all while attempting to maintain some semblance of sanity!
This is especially true during the holiday season!
Know that you are certainly not alone and that the whirlwind of modern day family life is completely normal. According to recent studies released by the American Psychological Association, 65% of Americans polled reported that “family responsibilities” are a top source of stress. This stress is even more heightened around this time of year.
So, the question then becomes, how do we find some calm within the chaos that is the holiday season and successfully manage our family’s time? Well, there is one simple answer to this, and it’s not the one you might be looking for. But, I think it’s something we all need to hear. The answer is:
Different Strokes for Different Folks.
We’ve all heard this saying before. It’s passed down through the generations for so long because it holds a lot of truth! Just like individuals, every family is unique. This simply means, don’t compare your family to other families. It will only add to your stress and make your family feel rushed and overwhelmed as you try to keep up with what everyone else is doing.
I know it isn’t easy (believe me), but try to take a step back and mentally remove yourself from the other families in your inner (and outer) circles to gauge what is truly the right balance for your family. This is where your true power lies to fight against the stress.
Our culture subtly, or not-so-subtly, impresses the need to keep up with everyone around us. What we do, or don’t do, seems to carry an intrinsic “tracking system” within it. This underlying belief sends the message that if we miss a beat, we (or our children), might fall behind and be left at a disadvantage.
But that will only happen if you allow yourself to fall prey to the temptation of keeping up with other families. Instead, figure out what you believe is most important for your family, and then do your best to create it.
As parents, we have been given an opportunity to provide our family with a foundation from which standards are set, priorities are established and values are instilled. Take a moment (or more) and find out exactly what it is you want to teach your children and how you want to structure your family for the holidays — despite what everyone else is doing.
You will find much more peace of mind and calm this holiday season to be present and enjoy your family’s time together if you can stop worrying about keeping up with what other families are doing! After all, isn’t quality time what we want most for our family, especially this time of year?
My best wishes to you and your family,