It's that time of year when parents lament about everything. There is the balancing act of splitting your time between the families you grew up with, sometimes former spouses or partners who are still involved in our children's lives, and your very own, the-one-that-you-created family. There is the nagging feeling that you are giving your children too much, strangely coupled with the fact that you are not giving them enough. Most people also struggle with countless gift-giving dilemmas with family, friends, coworkers, along with trying to recognize the many people who serve us all year long. Many of us struggle with middle or upper class guilt at this time of year, and try to volunteer, donate food or gifts, and generally try to live up to the "spirit" of the season. Now pile on all of what we usually call obligations. We feel obliged to attend parties, events, and multiple celebrations with coworkers, friends, our children's schools, social clubs, etc. The result for many of us is incredible stress and exhaustion. I am here to tell you that you can change this. It is really pretty simple. You must prioritize your kids and yourself, in that order. Think about what will make this season the most peaceful, meaningful, and fun for your kids. Where do they want to go? What do they want to do? Who would they like to include on their gift list? What do they really want and need for themselves? Plan your calendar and your shopping accordingly. Then do the same for yourself, fitting your needs in between and after your kids' needs. Forget about everything else. You are obligated to the family you created and nobody else. Enjoy the season - every minute of it. Life is way too short for anything less.
Janine Walker Caffrey writes about reading, education and a few other topics related to happiness and life in general.