Dear Liz,

What is wrong with me? I am actually dreading the upcoming winter break for my kids. I feel so guilty. They are in fourth, seventh (daughters) and ninth grade (son). Don’t get me wrong. I super love them. Their father and I get along. We have a lot of blessings. What I think I’m dreading most are the extended days with bored and whining kids, after the excitement of Christmas is over.

Bad mom?

Dear “Bad Mom?”

Not at all. Actually a wise mom who is self-aware and as genuine as you are. Sounds like you have taken in the role of “cruise director” keeping everyone happy and occupied too long? Here’s the good news. You can retire to being a normal mother, wife and sane “mere mortal woman” (lauradoyle.org). And may I point out that Laura Doyle also says “normal” is a setting on a dryer. What I mean is combining self-care, some good planning and letting the kids come up with ideas for entertaining themselves. Your children are of resourceful ages. I’d suggest either a family meeting or to counsel with each child about what their plan is for the vacation from school. Help them have realistic expectations including how much you or dad can be involved including transportation. Are there other family members nearby? Maybe they can plan some fun interactions as well. I like using a big calendar, color coded with each family member's name. As you meet, brainstorm ideas and make sure previous appointments and obligations are on there first. It is a good idea to make necessary reservations for activities that require them. It is also smart to give the kids an activity budget. Look for ideas that are low or no cost like sleepovers, sports and games. Let the kids cook a meal for you. Biggest boost to morale and character is to take on service projects. These can be done at home, in your neighborhood, through churches and nonprofits. Please plan to supervise as necessary for safety all around. Great moms like you ask great questions.

Dear Liz,

I know you have written a lot about the traffic lately. Just last night I had three close calls.

It’s never been this bad. People, slow down and be patient.

Glad to be alive

Dear “Glad to be alive”

Amen to that. People. It’s just not worth it to speed, cut people off and be plain careless and selfish.

Dear Liz,

Holiday lights off at night or not?

???

Dear “???”

Good question. It depends upon neighborhood regulations, your power bill and during turtle season on the coast (Lights off. The baby turtles need to see that natural sheen on the ocean. Lights on beach houses cause tragic confusion.) As for me, I love Christmas lights. Love to see them and leave them on until daylight savings comes back or they burnout, whichever comes first.

My prayer for each of you is for health, wisdom, acceptance and peace throughout the holiday season and into the New Year. Please remember those less fortunate and those who may be alone or lonely. Love is the answer.

Contact Liz via asklizchs@outlook.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.

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