Learn the 5 ways to get through the holidays in midlife with adult kids!
Hey there Beautiful!
I have started to sense the unease in the air.
Subtle invisible battle lines are beginning to be drawn.
Tension is thickening the air.
Covert operations are being unleashed to gain critical intelligence of what each opposing side will be doing to attract their prey.
Tactical plans are being created to entice the unknowing prey to come over and join their group.
After the battle has been won, each side will try and claim victory while the prey is exhausted, stressed, and about to burst from overindulgence.
Can you sense it too?
I speak of the holiday festivities that are about to commence in a few weeks.
Mothers are beginning to plan and strategize for their perfect holiday vision.
How can we avoid the stress of the holidays in midlife and beyond?
So how do we avoid all of the stress that we put ourselves and our families, especially our adult children through, trying to coordinate the flawless, low drama holiday experience.
I’ve come up with five things to remember while strategizing but also to remember that the holidays don’t just revolve around you.
There are so many feelings, factors, and opinions to sort through that I wanted to let you know that it's okay if your perfect holiday vision never materializes.
Ready for some tough love?
. . . Here we go!
The 5 ways to get thorough the holidays with adult kids.
1. Don’t make your children feel guilty.
I know in episode 25 that I said the only person that can give you a guilt trip is yourself.
BUT, I do know that it is very easy to use certain words, looks, tone of voice, and even blackmail to guilt your child into doing what you want them to do.
DON’T DO THIS!
Do not make your adult child feel in any way sad, guilty, or the worst son or daughter on the planet if they are unable to make it to your house for the holidays.
Or God forbid that they willingly choose not to go home for the holidays and spend it with their girlfriend’s family on a skiing holiday that you would never be able to afford.
It is your child’s choice where they want to spend their time.
Give them options.
Tell them that you would love to see them but you understand if they choose to do something else.
I know a young woman whose parents are divorced.
She is EXPECTED to attend her Mother’s Thanksgiving, her grandparents Thanksgiving, her boyfriend’s Thanksgiving, AND her Dad’s Thanksgiving.
She doesn’t want to let anyone down and says yes to them all.
She will run around in one day and spend a little bit of time at each, not truly being at each one since she knows she has to rush off to the next one.
She knows she has to eat a little at each to not insult the person cooking all day. Each family will try and guilt her into staying longer.
No one wins that day.
Imagine if just one of her relatives realized the pressure that they all were putting her under and told her it’s okay to miss their Thanksgiving.
2. Start new traditions.
So the kids have all decided not to come home for Christmas.
It’s just going to be you and your spouse.
What to do, what to do…?
Ok snap out of the pity party that your throwing yourself and look at the situation in a new way.
Think of some new traditions that just you and your husband could create.
Order Christmas dinner from a local restaurant or supermarket so you don’t have to cook.
Line up a movie marathon like all the Harry Potter movies back to back or Star Wars movies.
Go to the movie theater on Christmas Day.
Travel to a hotel and spend the night there just because you can.
Or travel to a new city and explore since it’s just the two of you.
Don’t focus on what you don’t have: the kids not being there.
Focus on how lucky you are to choose what you want to do for the holiday and not having to cater to everyone else’s wishes.
You have a choice in how you will react if no one comes home.
Will you choose to wallow in why is this happening to me or will you choose to decide to be happy and create new memories and traditions?
3. Find a way to give back.
Look this is not a cliché.
By giving to others you will realize how lucky you truly are. There’s nothing like getting slapped in the face by the realization that you do have more than enough.
Your life is not a disaster compared to those that have less.
Find a local charity that is supplying gifts or a holiday meal to those who can’t afford it and give what you can.
Purchase someone’s groceries in front of you in line if you feel that it’s the right thing to do.
Look at your neighbors or friends that might not have family near them and invite them to join you for dinner to celebrate the holiday.
Change up how you have been celebrating the holidays to discover that the world doesn't solely revolve around you.
4. Be flexible!
I was so appreciative of my mom when my children were very young.
She decided to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner the Friday after Thanksgiving because she saw how much stress it was for me to shuttle the kids in between two Thanksgiving meals on the same day.
Typically, my husband and I would attend my mom and dad’s house first and have a late lunch. We would always eat just a little bit because we knew in four hours time we would be at his parent’s house eating Thanksgiving dinner again.
So be flexible.
Figure out how to adjust the schedule so everyone doesn’t feel rushed and can relax. Have everyone over on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day.
Or even have them over the day after Christmas if that works better. Celebrate with a holiday breakfast instead of dinner.
There is no rule book out there that you have to adhere to in order to celebrate the holidays.
Okay there probably is but that is definitely a book I would chuck out the window and you know how much I LOVE books.
Be creatively flexible and even if plans change at the last minute, roll with it.
5. It’s just a day!
Yes it’s that simple.
A holiday is just another day like the day before or the day after it.
We decided to make it mean something to us.
You can choose to celebrate Christmas Day on the 25th of December OR you could choose to celebrate it on the 28th of December instead.
I was speaking to a store cashier about how the holiday decorations keep getting pushed up closer and closer to other holidays.
Now Halloween decorations come out at the beginning of September or Christmas decorations are on store shelves at the beginning of November.
We got to discussing celebrating the holidays and she mentioned that her husband was in the military. She and her two children never got to celebrate a holiday on the day of the actual holiday with her husband. They celebrated whenever he was going to be home. He came home on leave during one December and they celebrated Christmas Day on the 2nd of December since he would be away on the 25th. They made the best of the situation because all that mattered was that they were together while he was home.
If all of your family can’t make it home until the middle of March, who says that you can’t cook a traditional turkey dinner and celebrate Thanksgiving on March 12th!
It’s just another day like all the others.
Please don’t look at the holidays as a time to be inflexible and demand things of your family just to make yourself happy.
View every situation from all sides and then make a well informed decision.
Don’t be jealous if your son decides to visit his in-laws house this year.
Don’t be petty and lay the guilt on thick if your daughter wants to go on a trip with her girlfriends to a warm tropical beach.
I love it when all of my family is celebrating at the holidays but I also love it when it’s just me and my husband.
I don’t have to get dressed up, put on makeup, do my hair, and brave the holiday traffic.
The holiday season can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be.
Yes you may have a good cry for one day but that’s it.
I’m not allowing you to be a mopey mess for the rest of the time.
I’ll talk to you later, Beautiful!