Lucy Fisk is a wife and mother of two who blogs at Tired From Whitstable. The Christmas juggle is an issue for many families each year, here is her take on it….
I have been discussing with friends about how some of us are having real issues arranging and prioritising Christmas particularly when children and in-law families are concerned, how do you please everyone, strike the right balance and have a merry Christmas without causing family arguments in the new year?
Christmas is fast approaching, the season of goodwill and spending time with the people you love. But what if you are struggling to juggle all the people you love or some of your relationships with family or friends are making you dread this festive season?
I have been speaking to some friends in recent weeks about this very issue. Sadly this year has seen for a number of my friends the breakdown of relationships with family members from mothers in law, sisters and brothers and also more extended family. This has caused significant anguish as so often we feel that we should be spending time with family at Christmas. For as long as I can remember my mum had a routine over Christmas which meant that every family member was seen at some point. We would rush up and down the motorway doing the parcel run on Christmas Eve and then get a take away very late on the way home. My poor Mum would then stay up till silly o clock getting everything ready for my sister and I on Christmas morning. By this time she was often exhausted and I always worried that by putting everyone before herself she didn’t feel the magic of Christmas.
The Christmas balance
Fast forward to me having my own family and we have for many years done the same, spent Christmas Day with one side of the family and Boxing Day with the other and alternating each year so each set of parents felt they were treated fairly. We have since having children never really been able to relax for much of these days because we have been on a schedule of where we are meant to be and when and how much time we could spend at each place. We have an amazing time of course but I do wonder sometimes how to get the balance right.
So how do you please everyone and deal with conflict at Christmas? Well the honest answer is you probably can’t. You are a family unit of your own and as much as you want to please others what is best for you and your children should be paramount. If that means spending one of the main days of Christmas at home in your pyjamas with the children playing with their new toys so what? Your family and friends who love you will understand that you are your own people with your own lives. As long as you make time for them on your own terms there really isn’t anything to feel bad about.
This could be arranging to visit for supper, inviting people to your home instead of feeling pressured to going to them, organising a family walk out at some point where toys and the tv won’t be a distraction and setting realistic timescales in advance such as, ‘We won’t be there until midday as the children will want to play with their presents once they have unwrapped them.’ No one can criticise you for this and it takes the heat off for rushing to get to places at an unrealistic time.
Letting go of guilt
What about people who you have lost touch with or had a relationship breakdown with over the last year? Be true to yourself, it might well be hard but if you have no intention of seeing certain family members at any other time of the year why change this at Christmas? As a family it should be about what is best for you and if that isn’t having an overbearing in-law moaning about your poor cooking or family members tutting at how your children behave then that’s okay. We simply can’t always get on with everyone and there’s no point beating yourself up about it.
Ultimately what we all want is to create happy memories with our loved ones at Christmas. The years our little people are small and seeing all the magic Christmas has to offer fly by so why make life hard on yourself by enduring Great Aunt Edna and her sarcasm or Cousin Bill who drinks too much and causes an argument over the table? You can still see these people should you wish by popping in for a cuppa and a mince pie but that doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day with them.
No one would choose to have issues with members of their families and it is all about making the best of it. Prioritise what is important to you and spend your time with those who deserve it, not people who will make you feel bad. Talk to your friends and I bet that you won’t be the only person in a similar situation this year. As Charles Dickens wrote, ‘’Family not only need consist of merely those whom we share blood, but also for those whom we’d give blood.’
Lucy is a mum of two, blogger home-maker, wife, volunteer youth mentor, runner and wearer of many hats who lives in Whitstable, Kent. Catch Lucy at her blog Tired From Whitstable, her Facebook page or on Instagram.
Can you relate to Lucy’s story? How do you manage your time to see the extended family at Christmas? Or do you do your own thing? Let us know your story in the comments!
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