How many times have you had high holiday expectations to only find yourself feeling lonely, disappointed or angry?
Maybe you had a glamorous vision of your family gathered by the fireplace, reading Christmas stories while Silent Night plays quietly in the background. However, after you finally got everyone together by the fireplace to read the kids couldn’t sit still through the first 4 pages of the book! The baby was screaming, Johnny was in Susie’s “space” and after the crying and screaming Silent Night couldn’t be heard over the commotion! Instead of a beautiful Christmas memory it was more of a holiday nightmare!
Or because you’re an intentional mom, you loaded up the family in the minivan with their jammies and hot chocolate ready to make family memories as you view the neighborhood Christmas lights. Before getting out of the driveway, the Susie is in tears because Johnny gave her “the mean look”, Billy wants to watch a DVD, Dad’s getting very impatient and you wonder why you even bothered to try a new tradition in the first place!
Have you scraped for months to buy your kids Christmas presents and as soon as they ripped through the packages, all they could say is, “That’s it?” As you try not to lose your temper or cry from the shame of not being able to please your family, you begin to wonder what would it have taken to make Bobby happy.
Nobody wants a disappointed child on Christmas morning (which is why as parents we do scrape to make it the best we can for our kids). Christmas is supposed to be a magical day with endless smiles and instead it turns into a sad, angry, or disappointed child and parent who may also be feeling disappointed (or angry at their entitlement, or sad…there are many emotions that this can lead to but none of them are positive).
Unreasonable expectations can kill any chance of happiness when it comes to the holidays.
For anyone whose parents have divorced, holidays after divorce are not the same as before. If your expectations are that your entire family (including your divorced parents) are going to get along magnificently under one roof, more than likely you will be disappointed. (I realize there are exceptions here but not in my situation).
When my parents divorced (and I was already an adult with children of my own) those first holidays were weird and uncomfortable. Everything was different. There were divisions in our family other than just my parents.
Don’t expect everything to be as it was, your unrealistic expectations will leave you with a lot of heartache.
This is also true when someone in your family passes away. Holidays are not going to be the same. That person’s special pumpkin pie, laughter, and gifts will not be there. And it’s ok to not feel merry and bright.
When I expected my kids to not be tired and cranky when driving around to look at lights at 8 P.M. (which is their bedtime) I had unreasonable behavior expectations! We all know when kids are tired, their behavior shows it! Expecting very small children to sit still and quietly while I read a story without giving them something to play with quietly is also unreasonable. They are not developmentally ready to do that when they are very young.
If we tell our kids to be good so your elf can tell Santa they deserve toys and to add every toy they see onto their Christmas list, who is setting these kids up for disappointment? (I’ve been guilty of this, too!)
When we own up to life’s realities (even if they are hard such as not being able to afford the great toy our child wants) before the holidays happen, be honest with ourselves about our feelings, and have reasonable expectations we will be happier in the long run.
By being honest with our kids before it’s time to rip open the gifts, they will not be as disappointed, either. Talk less about gifts and more about family. Talk about the miracle of Christmas. Experience joy as a family because healthy expectations have been set. By doing so you might just eliminate some of those disappointments. You might even be surprised that things go better than you had expected them to!
Have you enjoyed what you read here today? Do you have friends or other women you know that could benefit from this resource? If so, please do me a favor! I have included the links below to share with other intentional women! They’ll be glad you did!