Homeschooling parents are made up of people with tenacity and grit. Going against the grain, giving yourself more work, and bearing the large responsibility of your child’s education is not for the faint of heart. It is exhausting some days and when throwing the holiday tasks on top of it, parents can get a little cranky, right? With all the purest of intentions, it is so easy to get down-right angry in the midst of hours spent on crafting a ‘perfect’ holiday. Being the adult, we have to pay attention to things like deadlines and budgets on top of the social pressure to buy everything, have creative Pinterest-worthy ideas and be sure to show up at everyone’s holiday events. It is all a lot to handle. At the end of the day, all we really want is to make the people in our family happy. That’s why we fuss over every last detail and overextend our time in such ridiculous ways this time of year.
I want to let you in on a secret that should be obvious to us as parents, but so often overlooked. For all of the arguing and complaining that those kids of yours do, they are just like you. They see the worry and weariness in your eyes. They hear the frustration and disapproval in your voice when everything didn’t work out just right. Whether they say it or not, more than anything your family wants the same thing you want – they want to see your joy! Some of us never outgrow the desire to please our parents either. For many of us, it’s clear to our children that we love them, but it may not be so clear where our joy is. In the thick of parenting, we find a paradox where we prove our love and commitment with everything we have, but sometimes that love appears to make us miserable complainers.
Since none of us want to squash our joy and hide it under all that wrapping paper and dirty dishes in the kitchen, this year let your precious gifts from God see the joy you have in your life. What brings you the most contentment? What parts of this season are you the most excited for? If you are having troubling finding anything that brings you joy, then that’s a good sign you are spread too thin and doing too much. Finding your joy again might require you to cut out a few things. There are very few mandatory obligations and a whole lot of should’s or want-to’s. Seeing another person’s joy is invigorating in ways that no toy or completed project can ever do. Children look to parents for every cue and idea that everything is okay. A dozen gifts, a perfectly crafted meal and attendance at all the programs doesn’t mean much when Mom or Dad are always unhappy. The traditions we have crafted into our homes can be a beautiful thing that continually comfort us, but they don’t come close to a joyful force in our life.
Sometimes we just forget to show our joy because we’re distracted. Whatever the reason, today is a good time to intentionally let that joy out in spite of what’s left on your to-do list. Show your family what you loved as a kid. Actually take your children up on their constant request to play a game. Above all else, spend time in prayer about the joyful attitude you would like to have and ask for guidance to achieve it. We all have dreams of picturesque gatherings and meaningful moments with our families. This year make your joy the centerpiece of those dreams. No matter how many mistakes are made or last minute accommodations must be found, if your joy is showing all those dreams can be fulfilled.
Thank you to Amy from the WRITE Balance for writing this article.