I’m not sure what set it off but I’m thinking about the many, many times that Moms (and a few Dads) have shared this guilty confession with me:
“I can’t wait for school vacation to end.”
Family members, friends, neighbors and many, many clients. Strangers in the grocery store and the airport. People tell me things. Parents who feel overwhelmed by school vacation have a lot in common. They often think they’re alone with that thought; many of them feel guilty for even having it.
I don’t blame them a bit. In the face of almost two months of 24/7 messages about perfect families and holiday cheer it’s easy to think that ours are the only families in which children argue, grandparents over-step their boundaries and people forget to say “thank you.” Custody and visitation “stuff” can leave everyone involved feeling a bit lonelier and angrier and more stressed than they’d like. Unfinished business bubbles to the surface and suddenly our beloved children seem like ill-mannered, greedy strangers. The gaps between what we WANT and what we actually HAVE…. between what we TRY and what actually HAPPENS…. can hurt.
As much as we try to avoid it, pain is not necessarily the enemy. It’s a warning. And while what you’re seeing and feeling may be completely “normal” — if something is causing you distress it may be time to change it. Especially where our children and our grandchildren are concerned.
While it may not really be possible to make New Year’s Resolutions for others, the changes we make in our own behavior impacts the people close to us. It’s not too late to embrace a parenting style that helps our kids learn to be more independent and self sufficient… to appreciate the work involved with running a household. But they can’t do that if you don’t let them partcipate.
The New Year is a good time to help get our entire family back on track, to develop the skills and live the values that will carry them through … to build a foundation that will leave them on their feet no matter what life throws their way.
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