‘Isn’t this picture sweet? We lit our candles, opened presents and had fun together. But it wasn’t so simple.’: Mom of 3 says ‘holidays can be special, but they can also be A LOT’

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“Aren’t these pictures sweet?
We lit our candles, sang songs, opened presents and had a really fun time together.
We did.
We also danced and jumped around.

Mom takes photos of her daughter in matching Hanukkah pajamas with a lit menorah behind them
Courtesy of Rebecca Guez

But what you wouldn’t know is it took us 2 tries (1.5 hours apart) to finally light candles together because of a tantrum.

That tears were shed because one toddler wanted to hold a lit candle on her own (of course I couldn’t let her) and another had wax drip on their finger.

You can’t see the 2 kids fighting over where they were going to stand as they lit their candles.

Or that one child ran away from the candles, twice.

Not pictured is one mom making sure hair stays far from the flames.

Not pictured is one dad going after the child who ran from the candles trying to listen, comfort and bring them back to join us.

We did it, we lit and had fun together (my kids are so sweet!) but it wasn’t so simple – it took empathy, patience and determination.

Three sisters take a silly photo together in matching Hanukkah pajamas with dreidels on them
Courtesy of Rebecca Guez

At this time of the year, we’ll see a lot of smiling shining faces here on Instagram, on holiday cards, maybe at parties, or in pictures sent between phones.

Holidays bring beauty and happiness.

They also take us out of our schedules and delay bedtimes.

New, unrecognizable foods are served.

We may find ourselves around people we don’t normally, which can be special yet also triggering.

We might feel judged, anxious or on edge.

We might be just holding it all together.

Our kids receive presents which is out of the norm.

A lot of talk of appreciation and gratitude.

And there are so many EXPECTATIONS.
Of behavior, of love, peace and romance.
For life, at this time of the year specifically, to look like a cozy hallmark movie.

None of these things are bad. Some, if not all can be special and beautiful.

But it can also be A LOT.

Some help (I hope):

Try to keep as much norm as possible.

Be prepared: with recognizable food and for tantrums.

Put yours and your kids needs ahead of everything.

Don’t use holiday presents as a manipulation strategy or bargaining chip. Just let your kids enjoy them!

Notice and process how you’re feeling as you go. It’s okay if the holidays bring stuff up. You’re not alone, you can grow through it. You’ve got this.”

Mom takes a photo of her three daughters smiling hard while lighting candles in the menorah for Hanukkah
Courtesy of Rebecca Guez

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Rebecca Guez, conscious parenting coach, of Florida. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and her website. Submit your own story  hereand be sure to  subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and  YouTube for our best videos.

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