The Best Gift...EVER

compassion, emotions, empathy, expectations, friends, gifts, gratitude, keeping calm, meltdowns, overwhelm, parenting -

The Best Gift...EVER

Holidays can be a hard time for almost everyone.

It's hard not to get caught up in the gift giving frenzy, the decorating, the cooking, or the planning of a special event.  The expectations are overwhelming. If you aren't in an income producing job, you might have trouble asking for money or gifts because you don't feel worthy.  Or, you may resent that you are back at work and can't have a picture perfect holiday, because you are just too tired. Or you may have family that is difficult to be around - critical, argumentative and judgmental.

Holidays remind us to reconnect with the important people in our lives.

Each holiday brings another opportunity to connect and most families make some attempt. Even though they may end in fights, most families keep trying. Most families set some rules on gift-giving, length of stays, and what you can talk about, and more importantly, what you can't. 

But in the end when everyone is upset, especially you, you may wonder why your family falls so short of the Norman Rockwell American vision and why your child is lying on the floor kicking and screaming.

I am going to ask you to put your expectations on hold for a minute or two.

Most families are not like Norman Rockwell paintings. Martha Stewart has staff and Photoshop rules the day.

You are normal in all of it's humanity!

When things feel overwhelming, stop what you are doing and take a few moments. Pull your baby or child into your lap. Look into their eyes, smell the top of their head, Take a deep beath. Let it out. Smile at your child (even if it feels fake at first!).

  • Remember that your child only wants your love and attention. They may ask for the other stuff too, but it's nothing without your love and attention.
  • Your partner only wants your love and attention.
  • Your parents only want your love and attention.

And, you can't give them your love and attention if you are wallowing in overwhelm.

Instead of wondering why the people around you are the way they are, give them your love and attention with gifts of attention.

A phone call, a real letter with a picture of the baby, a shopping or lunch date, now, or in a few weeks, a visit, cooking a meal together, family game night, "a real date, in a real restaurant, with a real babysitter," or the classic three-in-one gift: a stay-at-home date for you and your partner with your kids sleeping at Grandma's...

Whatever... Get out your crayons or computer and start making gift certificates. And DO NOT MAKE the gift certificates PERFECT!

It takes courage. You will probably feel all kinds of discomfort at first. Stay with it. It will get more comfortable, I promise.

Your mother-in-law may not "get it".  You may still have to buy a flannel shirt for Uncle Joe because he's just too weird and everyone else will say:

"This is the best gift I have ever received."

My Love to you and your family,

Donna


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