One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as we started our own family was deciding how to spend time with our extended family over the holidays.
Being the keepers of the cutest family member comes with lot of pressure. Sometimes that pressure comes from our extended family, and sometimes it comes from within.
There have been times when the multitude of social obligations has left us exhausted — and our daughter on the brink of a total meltdown. I realized that I was the one who got us into that mess – because I couldn’t say no for fear of disappointing someone.
The best plan of attack for our holidays is for me and Aaron to communicate a lot ahead of time: first with each other, then with our family, and then again with each other. It takes a great deal of planning to avoid holiday burnout with a toddler, who can only take so much activity before her head starts to spin off.
I have needed to reframe the way I think about family and the holidays. If we begin with making time for our own, nuclear family traditions, it’s easier to figure out what we can handle with our extended family.
Creating and experiencing holiday traditions for our own new little family fills my heart with a sense of contentment and peace. When we prioritize those things it’s easier for me to give time and space for our extended family, rather than trying to squeeze our lives into the excess.
We are very thankful that our family has been supportive of our need to step back and do our own thing. At times when I don’t feel understood, I try to remember that their desire to see us might make them act out, and I try to reiterate how much we love them.
Sometimes the communication process has led to creating new traditions that can incorporate more things that excite our family, and that is always a great outcome. The past few years we’ve hosted Aaron’s family at our house Christmas morning, and it feels both relaxing for us to be in our home and we still get to spend time with them. It doesn’t hurt that my husband is a master breakfast maker, so I think we all win with this one.
Change is not always easy but sometimes it can be very good.
This post is in collaboration with these rad real moms!