My Family Care asks Patricia: The Holidays take an extra toll on our time and energy as we have more visitors, the kids are off school, less people are in the office... But life still goes on. What added pressures are there around the holiday season and how do you manage your work life balance during this period? What suggestions would you give to other working parents?
Christmas can be daunting...
Christmas and the holidays can be daunting as a mother and just the thought of it is exhausting, I agree! Except that it shouldn't be. It really, really, shouldn't. Christmas is a time for family, for walks in the park, hot chocolates and card games! And we tend to forget this with all the lights from the high street and the media glittering away at us.
Shake things up!
At home, we try to put less emphasis on presents, at least for the grown-ups, and more on long lunches and dinners with the family. There is never a shortage of wine! Having a large family means that everybody gets involved, and it becomes something enjoyable, memorable and less stressful!
Every Christmas is different! And so it should be! Some good advice to any parent is to keep it different each year! Try something new! Take a risk with the menu, with the format, or the decorations!
Create a new game for the children; there are thousands of websites that offer plenty of advice! And start early, early, early! This means November... when the children are still at school! That way you're able to choose properly, think properly and enjoy the experience!
Keep them busy!
For children's activities and events, the web is a minefield of sites with ideas for keeping the kids busy. If you live in London, I find a great source of information is www.KidsInChelsea.com as it offers lots of local and seasonal ideas! It is a great source for parents and I would not live without it! It's updated regularly so the information is fresh and current, and it means that I can book events before they sell out. There is also a great section on Holiday Activities for those parents who need a helping hand.
One more piece of advice - remember to keep it simple, especially in this time of economic crisis! It's a great time to remind yourself what Christmas is really all about. And remember to pass this knowledge on to your children, who, at their young age, will only be thinking of Santa, his reindeers, the Christmas tree and the presents... spend more time together, go to a Carol concert or Ice-Skating at the Natural History Museum and invite friends.
This is what Christmas is all about.
Patricia Milesi, Website Designer, and Mother of twins