Parents, all I can say is “Wow, now I get it.”

Palmer here. 

If you’re a parent who keeps your family’s holiday ship afloat I want to make sure you hear this: THANK YOU ❤️

My wife and I were talking about how we only now have realized how much work it took for our parents to make the holidays happen.

You parents somehow find a way to balance activities, logistics, kids’ plays and recitals, cooking, travel plans, and all the overtime hours that go into making the holiday season special and it is incredible to me. I truly don’t understand how you do it all.

I could have never given my parents the thanks they deserved when I was growing up. If you are feeling under appreciated and maybe a little overwhelmed, please know that the sacrifices you make and the work you put in are making moments and memories that will stick with your kids forever. They are lucky to have you.

Kerry here. ????

Truth is, I used to drive myself quite crazy in December. I dreaded the month because of all the work it entailed. Yes, there was joy. But there was also a lot of stress.

Here are the two shifts I learned to make that increased my “Ho Ho Ho” and decreased my “Bah, Humbug.

#1 Partner up on traditions

Instead of hours of baking and feeling stressed because my kids were done helping and just wanted my attention, I started having a baking day with my best friend. She brought her kids over and they all played while we happily baked together. It brought joy to the tradition of holiday baking. It’s still our favorite tradition even though we are now empty nesters.

Instead of late nights wrapping gifts by myself, I used to team up with a girlfriend while our kids were at school. One of us would lug gifts and wrapping supplies to the other’s house and we spread out on the dining room table, happily wrapping and chatting. It brought joy to the tradition of wrapping gifts.

#2 Check in annually about traditions

A tradition does not have to be done every single year in order for it to be memorable. The pressure to do “all the things” every year is what used to overwhelm me, especially as I added more children to the family and traditions to the list. What works so much better is to do an annual review of your own tasks as well as family traditions. Decide what is meaningful to you. Talk with your family about what traditions they love. It feels amazing to check in with myself, asking “Do I FEEL like sending holiday cards this year?” “Would it be FUN to make my hot fudge ice cream sauce and deliver it to the neighbors?” If the answer is no, I skip it. Or I figure out how to get help doing it (like making hot fudge with a girlfriend or the kids).

Letting go of the silly rules that a younger version of me made up about all the things that were required of me every December gave my kids a happier, more relaxed, and more present mom.

And to my kids: if you’re reading this, don’t worry… I will never stop making party mix or peanut butter/Hershey kiss cookies. I understand that those traditions are non-optional as long as I’m able-bodied. ????

Wishing you a joyful holiday season,

Kerry and Palmer

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Palmer Skudneski
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