We all have an image in our heads of what we think the perfect Christmas should look like. Full of traditions, happy and smiling children, no arguing – you know, very jolly, merry and bright. The truth is I very much doubt that’s the case in any household, no matter the circumstances. But when you’re walking in our shoes, the pressure can be tenfold because we tend to be extra hard on ourselves.
Here are 5 ways to make it through the festive period.
- Create your own traditions and do whatever works
This. All of this. Do whatever works for your family and create your own traditions. Maybe that’s an untraditional Christmas dinner. Maybe that’s the iPad featuring a lot throughout the day. Maybe that’s Christmas Day in the safety and reassurance of your own home. Go with it, do what works for you and don’t worry about what others are doing. It’s so important.
- Be honest with family and friends
Yes, it would be nice if they just *got it* but let’s face it unless you’re walking a similar path, chances are you don’t. So let family and friends know what works for you. Accept help when offered. The ones that listen to and stick around to support you are the ones that matter.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself to go to festive events
Perhaps visiting Santa’s grotto isn’t something your child would enjoy, or a festive outdoor event would be too busy or loud for them. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do these things just because you feel you should. They don’t matter. What does is your sanity and your child’s happiness.
- There is no shame in doing some things separately as a family instead of all together
I often take my daughter to things that I can’t take her brother to for a variety of reasons – access, sensory issues, their different needs. This means that sometimes we split up to do things as a family Yes, it isn’t the ideal scenario, but we must do what’s best for both of our children and think about both of their needs. And I don’t feel any shame for that (although of course there is always a side of mum guilt because it comes with the territory).
- Be kind to yourself
BE KIND TO YOURSELF – I’m raising my voice for those of you at the back. This path we’re walking isn’t always easy and the journey is a long one. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You can only ever try your best. One step at a time.