When my older kids were young, I would stress so much during the holidays. So much “holiday stuff” to do, as well as be a Mom, homeschooler, run a consulting business etc….As they grew up, I got them to help me more, but I still stressed. Peyton was quite young when I separated from their father. I became a single mom of four. I tried to even make the holidays better, as they were now from a “divided family”. I wanted the Holidays to be a special time and for them to have special memories. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized it isn’t about all the “stuff” it’s about being a family unit.
My kids are the world to me, and I love each one the same, just in different ways. They are all so different, I am amazed how each one is so unique. I was one of those moms who wanted each child to enjoy the holidays to the fullest. My daughter loves Thanksgiving, my boys were more about Christmas. Of course one liked Christmas Eve and the others Christmas morning! So I felt pressured, (mind you it was my own pressure not theirs), but it was pressure to make all of it perfect! The last three and half years have seen some awesome changes, the biggest being their stepdad. He stepped into a very different life than he had. He has been awesome and has in many ways changed the way I look at the holidays. The first year we were together I was in my typical stress mode to make everything perfect. I explained to him all of “our family” traditions and what we needed to do. He politely and very sweetly reminded me that we were a “new” family and maybe things could and should be different! I begrudgingly agreed and knew I needed to inform my kids. I was stressed about telling them and expected a “blow back”. I approached my daughter first and I figured if I got her on my side it would help. She has the strongest personality of all my kids and is the most strong-willed. If she went along then the others would too. I practiced a speech in my head and talked myself into having the discussion. I called her and started with my speech, she interrupted half way through and said..”Mom, we are going to start new traditions?” I quietly said yes……..and braced for an argument….her response? “Cool! Sounds good just so happy we are all going to be together! Love you!!” I was stunned! As I reflected on this and still continue to reflect, I realized no one asked me to make it perfect, no one demanded these stringent “traditions” all they cared about was we were together and happy.
My older kids are scattered in different states and in relationships etc…so coming “home” isn’t always possible. I have come to really cherish what time I have with them. The Holidays are so often a time of stress, and they don’t need to be. I have learned to let go of so many other self-imposed stressed “traditions” since having Peyton. Peyton has taught me that so many things are silly to worry about. I see him struggling every day just to learn things many of us take for granted. I have approached The holidays this year as a “team” effort and not worried about what we did before. Peyton told me that he thinks this will be the “best Christmas ever” that is all the “tradition” I need!