I share some version of this every holiday season- for some reason holiday stress seems to be showing up early this year. Healthy attachment is at the core of my work. Attachment is how we want to raise our kids and how we want to be partnered and attachment is why the people we love make us freak out around the holidays. Nobody makes us crazy like the people we love. In-laws and siblings and steps and ex’s and the new ones and your mom and my dad… pick a holiday, any holiday and your family has expectations about it. In the early days of creating a new family, when we circle the wagons around our kids and begin to think about the traditions we choose for our “happily ever after” story, the pressure to hold onto old ways is strong. Some families hold tight to old ways and see change as threatening. Some families have painful pasts that they run from without a clear sense of where they are running to. Some families talk about everything and some families assume everything. Some yell and some seethe. As we move into the holiday season I challenge you to give some thoughts to your values- around food, and time, and stuff, and responsibility, and joy and tradition, and who you call family. Take a step back and think about the holidays that your children will look back on and be intentional this season.
Marriage Geek Assertive Bill of Rights for the Holidays
Adapted by Maureen Campion from Manuel J. Smith ‘When I say no, I feel guilty’
You have the right to decide just what works best for you and your family this holiday.
You have the right to decide how much attention to give your extended family’s holiday wishes.
You have the right to say no. Complete sentence.
You have the right to stall- to say “I don’t know yet” or “let me think about that” or “we’ll just have to see how the day goes”.
You have the right to change your mind. Things change. People are disappointed.
You have the right to come late or leave early or skip the parts that don’t work for your family.
You have the right to make choices that no else will understand.
You have the right to do less…or nothing.
You have the right to disagree.
You have the right to all your feelings (including anger) and to express them appropriately.
You have the right to ask questions and make requests.
You have the right to be treated with respect at all times.
You have the right to feel good about yourself, your actions, and your life. You have the right to exercise any and all of these rights without feeling guilty.