A little more irritable over the holidays?
Today I have a short note that I hope inspires you, especially if you find that the holiday season tries your patience. (You’ll need to read right to the end for the inspiration).
It’s a busy time of year for many, and a time when parents sometimes have a little less time to “resource” by having time alone–either for self care, or even just to get the basic everyday chores done without demands of family. Kids are often home from school, routines are off, and there can be lots of challenges in a time where we feel as if we’re supposed to be happy and create warm memories for our kids.
It can be helpful to plan less activities and try not to overbook–and I’ve written about that before. But some stresses seem unavoidable.
Maybe you have lots of warm memories of Christmas–and if so, great! However the opposite is more common. Many of you might have painful memories or mixed good/bad memories that are sparked at this time of year. Add to that the combination of spending time with extended family who may not be supportive (or regulated), maybe a little less sleep or down time, and less time to yourself–it can be daunting for any parent.
If you find yourself feeling irritable–and then feeling guilty about it, I encourage you to give yourself lots of grace.
First of all, you don’t have to be happy all the time. (Plus, that’s impossible.)
And secondly, it’s normal to lose your patience or get angry when you don’t have enough time to resource, or if you have other stresses in your life. In those moments, I hope you can forgive yourself and remember that this happens to everyone sometimes.
I was recently reminded of this quote by Gabor Maté (and made a video on it here):
“Children don’t get traumatized because they get hurt. They get traumatized because they are alone in the hurt”.
So when you notice yourself tipping over the edge 👉🏻👉🏻 coming back to the present moment, feeling into your body, soothing yourself (what do you need?), and then being present with your child and repairing them–that’s what matters. That is healing.
There is no perfect.
When we repair with our kids–they reconnect with us, they learn that it’s okay to make mistakes and then repair, and they learn the process of how to repair through your role modeling.
If you want a little more detail on these practices, here’s some videos I’ve made in the past:
And here’s what I hope you find inspiring. My son is 20yo now. This morning I was impatient and rather short with him. I apologized a bit later, and you know what he said?
“That’s okay, I understand.” His eyes and his voice were soft. He meant it. He does understand.
I feel teary just writing it.
And just in case you think I’ve been doing these practices since he was little–I haven’t. I learned about nervous system regulation when he was 13yo. I really struggled to connect with him (and with my own irritability) when he was younger.
I’ve messed up over and over and over, and repaired over and over and over. So it’s never too late to make changes.
When we practice gentleness with our own mistakes, and repair with our kids–they learn those relationship skills and offer them back to you and to others in their life.
It doesn’t need to be perfect. You are enough as you are.
May you go gently with yourself over the holidays.
**Image Credit: Paje Victoria, Unsplash