Avoiding Holiday Stress

If Holiday Stress is beginning to get to you - this is the podcast to listen to. Or read below.

Podcast Transcript

This week, we’re flipping the calendar over to the final month of the year. December.

For some people - it’s so exciting. You get to decorate or celebraten your family’s traditions.

For others, IT IS STRESSFUL. You’re already adding onto a pretty full plate.

While some of you are unschooling, some of you are not. Maybe you’re ALMOST unschooling. Or you’re doing the basics in a traditional way, and you’re unschooling the rest. Or maybe the kids are doing what they want and you have massive guilt about what’s going on. Or what’s NOT going on.

I have a proposal for you. What if you try Unschooling for December only?
Call it an Experiment.
Tell that Fear in your head it’s JUST for one month!
Then do the reframing in your head - that’s where the heavy lifting is anyway. I have some ideas to help you do this.

But first, in case you’re new here, I’m Sue Patterson and this is the Unschooling Mom2Mom podcast. My kids are all grown now and I’m here to help you see that unschooling really DOES work.

Unschooled kids CAN get into college, have careers, buy homes - live the lives they want AND all after having enjoyed their childhood... WITHOUT all the unnecessary hoop-jumping or memorizing things they’ll never need. And you can skip the power struggles and wrangling that, again FEAR has told you is necessary to be a good mom or parent.

Because that’s not true. You don’t have to do those things.

And have you noticed what the price is for all that struggling?  Less connection. More frustration.  Angry outburst and resentment from everyone.

Try This:

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and think about what life would be like...

...Without power struggles.
...Enjoying the day together with the kids.
...Living in the moment - no worries about the future.
...Accepting everyone for who they are - flaws and all. Not even pointing out the flaws.
...And maybe doing that for yourself too.
...How about doing activities everyone enjoys?
..Laughing together.
...Creating GOOD memories that will carry with them for their entire lives.

So that’s what Unschooling through December could look like!

Learning really does happen whether you orchestrate it or not. What if you just stopped? What if you took the energy you’d use to force the kids through something, and used it to IDENTIFY the learning that they’re doing without you making them.

I have an Unschooling Guide that can help you see the subjects that weave through all the holiday activities. For those of you who need to check off some boxes mentally, That may set your mind at ease a little bit.

But look for other learning too - compassion, generosity, kindness, cooperation, problem-solving, critical thinking skills. These are so much MORE important than whether they know their 7s by a certain age.

So - how about it?
Want to try this experiment with me?

Unschooling in December?
Your job will be to not back-peddle. No “nudging.” No giving someone the side-eye for their choice.

And know that you’ll have some obstacles. Some will be internal, some external. So let’s do a little pre-emptive planning together.
When someonese says,

Not doing any schooling this month, eh?”

How about answering,

“The holidays give us so many opportunities to learn. We’ve just decided to take advantage of it all!”

If it’s self-doubt that creeps in and you start thinking,

“AM I doing enough for these kids?”

Remind yourself of these 3 things:

    1. Having a parent that is not stressed out, is so beneficial to kids. They can relax in their own home. They can learn what their brain drives them toward. They can create happy loving memories of you interacting with them, instead of yelling or criticizing them. Those interactions do become their inner voices as adults. So let’s make sure they hear kind, loving, accepting words.
    2. Humans are hard-wired to learn. No matter what your child is doing, they’re gathering information, resources, skills to DO that thing. It’s at exactly the level they need. It’s growing a pile of individualized information that will help them know what their next steps should be. And if you’re more of a cheerleader for them, instead of a warden watching for them to see what YOU think should be happening, they’ll be more inclined to invite you into what’s happening in their world. This is how you’ll see for yourself that they’re learning and growing.
    3. Childhood doesn’t last forever. You only have so many Decembers in their childhood. Don’t let that slip through your fingers because of some curriculum company or story in your head or person that you wish you could be more like. Let those comparisons go. They're interfering with the life you COULD be having.

Your Action Steps

And here are a few journaling action steps for you. If you don’t journal, take time to ponder these ideas over your morning coffee, while you’re folding laundry, or while you’re driving. Whenever you have a moment.

    1. Think about what stresses you out the most. Get specific.
      Is it the time of day? Are you hungry?
      Are you stressed when you didn’t sleep well? Can you fit in a nap? It’s not self-indulgent if it helps you be the parent you want to be.
    2. Are you stressed because you’re comparing yourself to someone else? Or maybe you have voices in your own head that tell you you aren’t doing a good enough job. Those voices (often from our own childhood) aren’t true. They’re not relevant to what’s happening right now. They’re actually getting in the way and preventing you from doing a good job.. AND, even more importantly, ENJOYING this life you’re creating.
    3. Maybe you need to think about responses to people who are critical of this choice. Tell them, “Yes, we’re doing something different for December. It’s an experiment I want to try and this is a good month to do it.” Say it confidently, even if you’re a little shaky inside. Our shakiness sometimes invites people to come in and “help” us. Rescue us from our insecurities. Don’t open yourself up for that.

      Sometimes people tell me they’re worried about the Mess that comes when you follow kids’ interests, I have a De-Stress the Mess Challenge happening December 6-10. That’s next week! Each day, I’ll give you some PRACTICAL tips to get the chaos under control in your home. Minimizing the mess will decrease the stress!

Taking a month to unschool - leaning in toward your children - will be such a great thing.

On so many levels.

You have your kids home with you because you want a better life together. Sometimes we have to reframe some of that old thinking that creeps in. Hopefully this podcast helps a little. And, of course, I have a lot of resources to get you more support.

You can always join my coaching group - Creating Confidence Membership - if you need a lifeline to do this with others who are doing the same thing.

So that’s it for me today. I’ll be back again next week. Enjoy your kids.

And try this experiment of really Unschooling for December. Let me know if you do!

Take care.

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