HOLIDAY STRESS – Help, the family is coming!

For many of us it is a constant repeat… you have the best intentions and then the holiday season approaches and you fall into the same pattern as last year. Is there a solution? Or is it just the way it is?

Lets begin with just the superficial part of the season. I am a great organizer and  I try every year to give everybody in the family responsibilities, but somehow I am the one that is always in charge. I buy or make the presents, come up with the decorations, filling Christmas Calendars, baking cookies, preparing meals, making schedules and everything else that comes with each new day. Therefor I am always the one telling my husband and kids what to do and when, and for the most part I have to remind them over and over again.

Also, deep inside, I would really like someone else being in charge, BUT I don’t know if I could let go, because it wouldn’t be done my way… So, you see who is the problem? And then again, no- not true, because everybody longs for this special time of the year. They wouldn’t want to miss any of it, but don’t want to run the show, they’d rather sit, eat and enjoy.

Now, lets add to the superficial part of organizing the attached family to this fest of joy. Suddenly the stress factor rises quickly to its maximum just thinking of that annoying relative you would rather not see. Again, it is the season of love and it would be very rude to not pretend that you like them. How could you do the splits anyway- invite the brother but not the annoying sister with her brood? You just do it and pretend?

Well, I am the annoying sister with her brood and we have not been welcome in years for Christmas, birthdays or weddings. Actually, it is just me that is not welcome, my husband and kids would be fine. What I recommend to all that are thinking about not inviting certain members this years, is gentle honesty. If you don’t have the guts to deal with it openly and with compassion, you have to invite them, otherwise you are adding to the complication. Secrets and lies are never a solution- it back fires with certainty. In our family there is a painful underlying problem that has not been dealt with. I live almost 6000 miles away from them, but every time I show up it wakes up painful memories in some of the family members. With my fathers death everything shifted and with a weakened mother the whole family structure is being remodeled, in my case, without me.

I don’t want to go to deep into the family structures, but if you have severe problems within your family you should deal with it. Otherwise patterns and suffering will be past on and repeat itself in the generations to follow; not just hereditary disease, but also  addictions and mental illnesses. So, maybe take this holiday season a step further and try to do good.

Families fit together in a certain way. It is like a puzzle, pieces come and go with birth and death, taking on different courses and destinations. 

That said, it gives you something to think about. Be honest with yourself and what you can handle. By dealing with it beforehand and thinking about possible solutions, you should be able to find ways to make this season and the many more to become pleasant ones. You are not obligated to run the show and are not responsible of its outcome!

Prepare, organize and give everybody duties- even your mother in law if she is invited! And let go.

Since I dislike the fact that I have to keep reminding people to act upon their chores, I am passing this job on to my spouse. He will be in charge to make sure that everybody is on schedule.

I understand that all our families come with a package, some small and some too large to bear. I am wishing you someone special for this holiday season to share the moment and the load of things that need to be dealt with.

Cheers, Karin

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