Here are some thoughts to remember when things aren't exactly the way you wish at Christmas time -
- Remember that it's not all about you. There are going to be some years that are easier than others. Your children will reflect your attitude about the season so give them the gift of a positive spirit, of knowing you'll be okay while they spend time with their other parent. They certainly don't need to feel responsible for your Christmas cheer.
- Remember all the loads of laundry you have folded and put away while the children were tucked in bed? Rember the meals for which you shopped, cooked and cleaned? the lunchs packed every. single. night? the ever-cluttered floors, the crumbs all over the tile, the toothpaste encrusted counters? Remember when you longed for a few hours when the world stopped and you could just catch up? This is it! When you vacuum, it will be clean for a few days. The hampers will stay empty and the dishwasher won't be needed. I know you need break, even if you don't want to admit it. Look for the blessing, even when it comes at a cost.
- No need to compete. It's hard to avoid the materialism of this time of year. Yet more than ever I see how my children are learning to love giving and experiences together more than things. Keep your traditions and add new ones for new ages and interests. Time together will be remembered more than anything under the tree. If the other parent is getting them an amazing gift, be glad, but don't try to outdo it. This is hard, but it is important.
- Reach out - you won't be the only one doing Christmas differently this year. Have some friends over, go to the mall, visit a museum, attend the Christmas Eve service, embrace other family members. It's alright to just be sad, but try not to let that define your holiday.