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Queen of Your Own Life

Holidays and Boundaries | Back to Me Month

by Cindy Ratzlaff

Please forgive me for this, but the holidays are fast approaching.  I know this because I received two phone calls this week from family members wanting to nail down dates for their visits to our house over the holidays. 

Don’t get me wrong.  We want to see these family members.  But it was a big wake up call that it’s time to make our own family plan, draw our boundaries, and prepare to defend them. Otherwise, and in past years, I’ve found myself on January 2nd, dazed, confused, angry and overwhelmed. Having a gentle, joyful holiday season, for me, takes a battle plan.

All month, we’ve been exploring all those pieces of our personality that help us embrace joy, claim happiness and love the women that we have become. Yet there is one thing, above all others, that stands ready to fill us with doubt and anxiety and strip away the light-hearted joyful moments we’ve worked so hard to nurture. That is the ability to set boundaries.

I hate saying no to someone, and in most cases I’d rather say yes, even if the request slightly inconveniences me. And as the holiday season fast approaches, I already feel my stomach twisting up into a knot, knowing all the obligations and requests coming my way. Now don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays and I love the extra time I get to spend with friends and family.  But I’m a woman with a full time job, a family to care for, business partners who need my full attention, and friendships to nurture and enjoy.  Many, many worthwhile, fun, charitable and impromptu opportunities come up over the holidays, including extra guests, their dogs, children’s friends from college and friends of friends can pop up over the holidays.

So how can I reduce my stress over these things? Here’s my strategy.  I plan a holiday season that fits my nuclear family and includes those activities that help us appreciate the time together.  I put those things on the calendar. Then when new requests for my time come in, I say “Sounds fun, let me check the family calendar and get back to you.”  I buy myself the time to think through the event, the time it will take, the preparation needed (do I need to bring a gift, a dish etc) and I make a decision based on what is realistic.  Often the answer is “Your event sounds like so much fun and I wish we could, but we’re already booked.  Have a ball.”  Even if we’re already booked to rest up for our next event.

We’re finding that the less we do over the holidays, the more fun we have.  That may just be my family.  I know there are women who thrive on a very jam-packed schedule.  That’s not me and I’ve finally learned that. So I set boundaries that help me keep myself and my family in a happy place during the holidays. And, I respond honestly and kindly to requests for my time.

How do you approach the holidays?  Is there something you do to set boundaries?

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One Response to “Holidays and Boundaries | Back to Me Month”

  1. Lynda says:

    Hi Cindy<3
    Most of my friends 'n family know that I keep a tidy home and I Cook enough for an Army! I'd never win a "Dinner Party War" cause I expect all my guest to be involved with the Party! If they come early, they get to help peel, prep, set, etc. The late arrivals get to do dishes, cleanup, etc.
    It works for me….
    It wasn't always like that and still from time to time entertain without assistance!
    Christmas is not one of those times.
    I also reciprocate when invited to their homes!
    Balance is essential for me to enjoy both my Family/Friends and the Holidays<3 🙂

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