*In October we go to our favorite pumpkin patch to walk the hay maze, pick the pumpkins, go home and carve them.
*In December we head up into the woods to cut down our Christmas tree together. Now the kids can carry the tree to the car all by themselves. Times have changed! When we get home I string the lights, and the kids decorate it. Then we have hot cider and read our favorite Christmas books by the fire.
(We found the perfect tree!)
*Every night when I put the kids to bed I put scented lotion on their arms and pillow. It started one night when my son said he loved how I smelled. That night, 5 years ago, a tradition was born that all three kids love. A little bit of Mama before they close their eyes and go to sleep.
In the past, traditions drove me to...perfectionism. I wanted the next time to be just as fabulous as the time previous...and it usually wasn't. Then I felt angry that I put all that effort into something, and theeeeeeeey didn't appreciate it the way I wanted them to. Heck...I couldn't enjoy it either because I was so exhausted.
What our kids really enjoy is experiencing new things. If we tried to recreate a moment from the previous year, it was sure to fall short of our expectations. So, that's when I let go of finding life long traditions. During the year as moments present themselves I find easy ways to celebrate them. No big wind up, no weeks of planning, just spontaneous, simple fun. I think the kids like having a mommy that isn't stressed out by the "great time" we are trying to have!
Now, when I'm getting ready to do something special for my family I ask myself if I'm enjoying the preparation and the anticipated outcome. If the answer is no...I switch gears...simplify...and go about my work so much more joyfully.
I'm giving you permission today to think about the traditions that you put so much of your energy into during the year. Does it make YOU happy? Does it rob you or fill you with joy as you are creating the moment? Is it really that meaningful to them, or is it just expected? Is it time to try something new? Whatever the answer is for you and your family...I hope this post affirms your efforts, or bring clarity to help you build an even stronger bond with your loved ones.
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