So much of stress is derived from what we expect from ourselves. Time and time again it has been proven that women, in particular, are prone to beating themselves up over a job done less than perfectly. Working moms, of which I am one, feel guilty about so many issues and we forget to have a sense of balance in our lives. My children are fine; they are no worse for the wear with me working. So I sometimes forget to remind my daughter to bring her tennis shoes to school on days when she has tennis lessons – she’s 9; shouldn’t she be remembering too? So in our home, we’re all going to try to take responsibility for each other and for ourselves, and help each other out. The kids are old enough to understand the concept of taking responsibility and also for looking out for each others’ interests. While we reconnected in Hawaii, we talked a lot about it. We are not going to take on projects that cannot be successfully completed within the time-frame, and if one of us has a particularly big project going on, then the rest of us can support the one. Again, at ages 9 and 12, the kids understand the concepts, and were able to give examples, like a big test or class project, during which they would need extra support from their parents. My husband has a few business trips coming up this winter and the kids will have to step up helping in the house while he’s away. I have grading periods during which my husband and the kids will rally around me the same way. Letting go of having clean rooms might be a little harder for me, but I promised to try in the spirit of realistic expectations.
So this year is all about realism, keeping things together, and figuring out ways to keep the stress level down. It’s also about support and staying connected with the four people who live under this roof. Bring it on, 2012!