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Parenting Stress Management

Thoughts on the Holiday Season

Getting Real with Dynisha Smith

Guess what’s coming up? The best and worst part of the year – the holiday season. For ANY parent this can be a time of mixed emotions. I won’t speak on yours, but mine include joy, warmth, envy, guilt, embarrassment, and alcohol. Yes I am aware that alcohol is not an emotion but it could be if we had time for semantics. 

Navigating Family

There are so many different family systems out there. Pre-Kayree, I always wondered and worried about what it would be like to merge two families together for the holidays. Each family unit has their own traditions, their own way of doing things, and their own expectations on the holidays. Fortunately I got lucky(ish) about that – I still only have to worry about one family. The catch is, Kayree and I are our own family unit as well. So as much as I love spending time with my parents and siblings and cousins etc., I also want to start some traditions of our own. Cue guilt. It’s okay to decide that some of the specialness that happens over the holidays is JUST for your family unit, however that is configured. 

Navigating Envy  – I Mean, Gifts

So this might just be me, but I don’t think I knew what other parents were talking about when they talked about present envy during the holiday season. I thought they meant like that next week when all the kids when back to school and were comparing notes, but they really mean this unspoken competition between parents on what kids get. Yo, I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but I bet there are some of you reading right now that can think ‘have I ever felt even a little envious when my friend told me they were getting XYZ for their child?’. I have. There are so many things that I want my daughter to experience that honestly, I just can’t afford, or we don’t have space for, or that don’t make sense for her developmentally. I would love for her to have the full Barbie Dreamhouse complete with pool, water slide, and closet. I mean who wouldn’t? Add in the Easy Bake Oven, a full library of books, and a sweet play structure in the backyard. Sometimes our own hopes and dreams can lead to just a little bit of – you guessed it, envy. That’s fine and normal to feel. I feel it every year. But I also feel joy and love, and happy to see everyone’s positive experiences over the holidays; those feelings far outweigh a little envy.

Navigating Self Care

Alright, so sometimes the holiday season brings its own flavor of stress. We can all think of different ways that this happens, from tense family relationships, to expensive family outings, to pure exhaustion from the last couple of months. Self-care is important. I have three pieces of advice for ya that I live by:

  1. Boundaries. Set some financial and emotional boundaries on your time and interactions for the holidays. Maybe that means suggesting the first couple of days are sleep days. Don’t leave your house and don’t put on pants. And stick to that. For me I always tell people you are welcome to hang out but I’m not hosting. We can watch TV and eat snacks on my couch.
  2. Stick to your budget. I learned this the hard way last year. I always want to do the most, and provide the most, and make a big fuss out of the holidays. But the emotions are there regardless of what we are doing! I don’t have to drop $100 on an activity when we could go on a free adventure and have just as much fun.
  3. Be intentional. You know what recharges your batteries, so set an intention that you get some of that recharging time and juice. Maybe you need a couple hours of time outside. Or alone. Or a trip to the bookstore. Whatever it is – intend to do it, and intend to be refreshed.

We are gonna make it out alive people, and we are gonna make it out renewed!