When I got married to my sweet husband six years ago, I had a revelation.
I noticed that my husband and I shared the responsibilities of household work pretty equally, like vacuuming, dishes and laundry. But when it came to maintaining family relationships in the form of kin work, my husband took little initiative and I did much of it alone. I started realizing that I felt responsible for thinking of Christmas presents, sending birthday cards, and even planning Father's Day and Mother's Day events—for his family and mine. This really got me thinking.
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It bothered me that, as a woman, the message I'm sent from society, my family and my network is that I can accomplish anything in my life. We encourage little girls and young women to choose career paths that are exciting and rewarding to them, and to shoot for the moon. But within the family, women often remain in the same roles they've played for decades. Career And Family: Can We Really Have Both?
This topic interested me so much that I decided to write about it in my doctoral dissertation. Through my own research, I discovered a couple things about us ladies, and the work we do around the holiday season especially. 1) Mothers feel responsible for creating happy holiday memories for their children, and while this is joyful at times, especially seeing children so happy, mothers also feel stuck in that role. 2) Mothers want their children to want to come home when they are grown up, so they feel the pressure to make the holiday season as perfect as possible. They feel torn about this role because it's a source of power in their lives. This is one area, in a world that still typically views men as more powerful, where women are experts in charge. But it's also a huge burden to bear.
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Does this sound like you? Do you feel the pressure to make Christmas completely perfect for your family? Does everyone expect you to make twelve dozen different types of cookies, set up two Christmas trees, and top each gift with a perfect little bow? Some women in my research reported feeling as though they had "created a monster" by making the holidays so darn magical. They felt stuck doing all the work, even though they would have liked to put less emphasis on the decorating and preparing, and more emphasis on simply "being present" during time with their families. 10 Ways To Have A Loving Holiday Season
If you're feeling the burden of the holidays, why not make things a little less magical and a little more enjoyable this year? If you fall into the category of "overwhelmed to the max" as we enter this wonderful season, you've come to the right place. I've gathered a few tips that might make a difference, and even allow you to create lasting change within your family so the work is finally spread out. (Hint, hint: It's time to get your husband and children involved in the work this season!)