There is holiday magic, to be sure. But magical thinking probably won’t serve you as well.
Tip 3 is Embrace Reality. We all have fantasies of what would be wonderful. And, it’s important to be grounded in reality so you can create plans that actually work. With the people you actually live with.
It often feels like I’m the one who has to embrace reality (I mean, really, why can’t everyone else just get with the program?!) That is often not a helpful path to travel down, as you’ve probably experienced.
Embracing reality might look like …
Age appropriate expectations. Yes, it would be nice to have an uninterrupted meal (but not likely if you have a pre-schooler).
Remembering that kids don’t share the same priorities as adults. (Despite the fact that you’ve been trying to persuade your kids to pick up their dirty clothes for eons).
Saying “No.” And sticking with it.
Asking for what you want or need – rather than expecting your family members to read your mind. If they’re not the people to meet your needs, find someone else (another reason it’s so important to maintain your own adult friendships)!
Letting go of the idea that you can do back to back to back activities and not live to regret it.
One reality check for me is that when I take on a task/errand for my kids or husband, my own to do list is often put on the back burner. That’s OK from time to time, but when I start to feel resentful, I know I’ve let my boundaries slip too far, and I need to take action to get back on track.
“Sorry, that’s not a priority for me right now. I could do it ___ (day/time) instead.”
Or, “I can do that when I finish ____.”
Or, “Sorry, something else needs to come off the list first. Do we need to talk about it?”
These are critical skills in family life. (As is the wisdom to know when to put someone else’s needs first). They’re actually skills that kids need to learn, too. (A plug for giving kids the freedom to say “no” sometimes.)
These require flexibility, courage, taking personal responsibility for getting your own needs met, and the ability to say “yes” and “no”.
Embracing reality will help you stay in action on the things that are most important to you, while working within the constraints of the situation. If you really want a reality check, give someone you trust permission to let you know when you’ve entered the land of magical thinking.
Just because you opened the door to fantasy land, doesn’t mean you have to walk through it.