Dads like to stay busy, but they often miss out on a lot of things. Ball practice, field trips, and those special moments right after school or daycare just to name a few. This is the sacrifice men make in many homes because he and his wife decided purposefully, or just by how their work schedules played out, that she would be the one to do most of what many call, “running around with the kids.”
I love this time of year, particularly when it snows and you get some hot chocolate and you sit and watch your favorite Christmas movie with your family. I hope you are blessed to enjoy these times. They are what make up the moments that you will cherish the next day, month, and long into old age. Don’t regret the lack of time you spent with your family. Make it happen.
- Don’t do everything: There will be plenty of things to do from now until the new year. Lay out a schedule, plan and follow step two.
- Do what is most important to you: Pick and choose because nothing can bring about more stress than making sausage balls half a dozen times to be at events where you know you’re going to be miserable. Say no to things and don’t feel guilty because the most important people you must please are your family and yourself. If your family is happy and so are you then you’re doing something right.
- If there are family members that make occasions particularly difficult, you must learn to apply appropriate boundaries. Only speak about those things you can agree on, or don’t speak at all. There are other people you can converse with. This is a time of thanksgiving and celebration. Don’t use it as a time to air grievances. That’s what Festivus is for.
- Make time to exercise: Nothing can make the wintry blues worse quite like overeating and feeling bad about oneself. I say enjoy the abundance of delectable delights that are out there, but exercise to balance the extra calories you’ll be taking in. Also, the exercising will help boost endorphins and you’ll feel better emotionally.
- Enjoy the season and what it has to offer: Too many of us complain and if there’s nothing to complain about, we’ll find something. You must learn to appreciate things for what they are. There is a Chinese philosophy known as Taoism that says, “Unpleasant experiences need not be avoided or expunged, but can be enjoyed as an integral part of the flow of the world.” Traffic, long shopping lines, and people who think their ugly Christmas sweater is a good fashion statement are as much a part of Christmas traditions as anything else. Learn to deal.
- Budget woes got you down? If you are already experiencing credit card remorse, pay them off as quickly as possible during the start of 2012 and start a Christmas account for the following season. Have it auto drafted and forget about it until November. Nothing can bring more joy to the giving than giving out of your abundance.
- Lost that Christmas spirit? This is particularly true of families with older children. Ask them if they recall what they got last year for Christmas. They probably won’t. The kids just don’t have that sparkle in their eye anymore because they know about the Xbox game under the tree. They put it in the buggy when you bought it, remember? Start a new tradition and plan a trip using the Christmas money you would normally spend. Coastal rentals are particularly cheap this time of year and Christmas can still be enjoyed with homemade gifts or by a name exchange ON THE BEACH! It’s the memories that will last.
Of course this shouldn’t be done with really serious situations that require discussion and deep understanding.
Thanks to lots of prayer, hard work, and some great support, I will begin my private practice February 15. This has been a dream of mine ever since I began the program at WKU. I would like to thank all of those who have encouraged me in so many ways; especially my wife, Malita.
- Assign tasks before you go. My sister loves to prepare breakfast. She buys the food and ensures that all eleven of us get fed. Don’t force someone into a job. They should enjoy doing it a little bit, but it must also be understood that it is up to everyone to make sure that a good time is had by all. Everyone needs to pull their respective weight.
- Food can be one of the trickier issues because tastes and price vary so much. It’s a good idea to have a general idea of what is going to be done while on the trip. Plan to eat fast food two of the nights and go to a nice place the last night. Some type of plan for breakfast and lunch are also good.
- If you want it, you better bring it, or don’t complain that it’s not there. Planning who brings what can and must be done, but don’t assume that your mother-in-law knows that you like Cherry Vanilla Caffeine Free Diet Dr. Pepper in 8oz cans.
- If you plan on staying, plan on paying. Cabins and anything that holds large groups can be very expensive, but as it is divided up, the cost per family is not much more than a normal hotel stay. Resentment will permeate the trip if Aunt “Whats Her Face” goes free of charge and has the money to chip in.
- Go solo for part of the trip. Especially in places like the Smoky Mountains, there’s a lot to do, but maybe grandma doesn’t want to play Lazer Tag. Talk to everyone and have a certain day or time that people can do what they want. This makes sure that there’s plenty of time to come back together. My niece and I went skiing while we were there because when and where will we have the chance again?
- Try something different. Humans are generally reluctant to try anything new. Especially when they are in a different place, they work to hold on to the familiar. However, by trying something new, you get to know one another better through the experience and maybe you develop a new interest.
- Don’t complain. Nothing can ruin a trip more than someone who has a bad time and ensures that everyone else does too with their Eeyore mentality. Being out of your normal routine takes some talent in adaptation. You’re in a different place so accept it and deal with it. If you forget something, there’s sure to be a Wal-Mart in the area. Flexibility is crucial.
- Compromise on group stuff. If you don’t get to go to your favorite restaurant the first night, suggest that you all go later because they have the best pizza or whatever it is that draws you there. Make sure there’s variety though. Don’t go to a seafood restaurant without ensuring that there are some non-seafood alternatives. I know it’s strange, but not everyone likes seafood.