Mother Matters: For happy holidays, stay happy
This is the first edition of “Mother Matters,” in which Loyla Louvis will provide parenting tips. Parenting and life coach Loyla Louvis, AACC, is dedicated to eliminating frustration in
the parenting journey by customizing solutions to fit the uniqueness of each family. She is a mother of four children, experienced with single parenting, remarriage, home education, mentoring and teaching. Louvis runs Mothers in Training, LLC, and is a certified professional parenting consultant/coach. More info can be found at coachloyla.com.
Dazzling displays of rich autumn splendor and cool north winds of the night gently remind us that holiday preparations are underway. The children have likely settled into their school year routine, and life has taken on the familiar hum of schedules, commitments and household chores.
With just a breath of time between the harrowing days of school preparation and the holiday rush, there’s a precious pause to which few parents are attuned. It’s in this magical space that a momma’s dreams for her family’s holiday happiness will either be realized or lost.
As a mom of four children who have been successfully raised and homeschooled 18+ yrs, I can confidently say that a mother’s sanity and peace of mind set the tone for everything else that happens in the house, and her family’s happiness is no exception.
Although it may seem like a heavy burden to have such an impact on the family’s state of mind, it also means that paying attention to inner signals at this time of year pays huge dividends.
Creating an environment that is conducive to one’s own well-being ultimately benefits everyone if it means that you will have the mental and physical stamina to embrace the holiday season with genuine anticipation.
Let’s explore some practical ideas you can implement to make this a reality for the upcoming festivities:
- Acknowledge your limitations of time, energy, and funds. There is no such thing as an endless supply. It’s safe to say that if you don’t establish limits, nobody else will recognize them for you. For example, a single mother on a strict budget without the help of family and friends might do herself a world of good to dial back on planning a four-course holiday meal when a simple dinner accompanied by laughter and good conversation can achieve the same end goal of creating happy moments and memories without extending herself beyond the existing limitations of time, energy and financial resources.
- Don’t waste resources where it won’t be appreciated. Ask the family what matters most to each of them before you begin holiday planning. If stockings hanging from the fireplace filled with trinkets are not meaningful to the kids, redirect your efforts to pursue things that will bring delight to the family and a greater sense of satisfaction to you in your efforts to please them.
- Incorporate meaningful themes into the holiday preparations before the twinkling lights and bustling sounds of the season begin. Include traditions and customs which hold special meaning to you. Examples include making baked goods using old family recipes passed down through the generations, or telling childhood stories that were meaningful to you as a little one. Pursuits of this nature have the potential to bond you with loved ones in a deeper way as they learn what is special to you at this time of year.
- Get everybody involved in behind-the-scene projects. Even unpopular tasks such as digging through boxes in search of seasonal decorations or undertaking extra house-cleaning are ways in which the family can work together and connect. The longings of the heart for connection are unexpectedly achieved when all family members are doing the same thing at the same time for the same reason, regardless of what the actual project is.
- Take time to celebrate one another with beautiful words of affirmation, acknowledging what each person brings to the table, and celebrate your family’s identity, no matter what may be going on in your current season of life. Statements such as, “Jennifer, you are so artistic and creative. I love your special touch. Would you be willing to decorate the front door for the holidays?” accentuates the honor, value and purpose your child possesses and reinforces the special qualities that make up your family’s identity.
This quiet time of contemplation and preparation is easily overlooked as the current season rolls out and the next one rolls in. But for those who will seize this precious opportunity to pause, prepare and plan, the days leading up to the holidays will likely unfold with greater family connection that only happens when one is intentional. The reward is well worth the pause as there awaits an opportunity to cultivate a satisfied household and a happy holiday for all to enjoy.