the holiday season doesn’t need to
be stressful and chaotic
Holidays and more opportunities to connect with family are always something to look forward to at this time of year.
It doesn’t always turn out as expected. There can be stresses like finances, extended family friction, overwhelm of over stimulated kids, along with our expectations… things can get out of hand quickly.
Dads tend to be critical about themselves not meeting the perfect visions of how holidays are meant to be. We need to let go of expectations even bad expectations of past holiday season experiences.
What if we approached the holidays in a different way?
Here are 5 tips to help you have the best holiday season yet with your family:
1. Presence more than presents.
The holiday season is a great opportunity to nurture bonding with your kids. Your undivided attention are the making of long lasting fond memories. Be prepared that kids will be able to sense this greater opportunity to connect with you and may ask for it in unruly ways especially if they become frustrated with not receiving your presence. Before it gets to that point we can ensure we have enough time each day to really connect with our kids. This means turning off phones and any devices that can distract us, and inviting ourselves into their world for a while.
Pro tip: If you are feeling stressed and short on time, set yourself a timer and let your kids know that you have 15 minutes or your chosen time. This enable reassurance for your kids to know you will be available 100% for them, and reassurance for yourself that you will have time to attend to the things you need to get done, with out having your foot half out the door. You can say “Dad’s got a big day today with so much to do. I am happy to spend 15 minutes with you now and I’ll use this timer so we don’t need to think about anything. Are you ready to play now?”
2. Let expectations go.
Expectations can get in the way of a natural flow with the family, sometimes we can relax more around. It can be really helpful to allow for plenty of unscheduled space together. Allow for some chaos and wild excitement. Holding onto expectations about how things should be can drain connection fast. There can be a lot going on for kids at this time of year. Unfamiliar places, sweets from relatives we don’t normally give, tensions with new toys between siblings, lots of going back and forth to places, busy shopping malls can easily accumulate stress for ourselves and our kids. If I hold any expectations at all I expect at one point or another there will be a melt down. Expectations on how children should behave can lead to harsh ways of trying to get what we want. Being more mindful and empathetic toward how easily stress can be accumulated for children at this time of year is a faster way to restore peace and connection. Even if there is an emergency level multiple family melt down, we can step into inviting a 5 minute family playful pillow fight to shift the energy and allow emotional and tension release through laughter.
3. Balanced me time.
Make sure you find a balanced time to replenish yourself. Look after yourself by getting adequate rest, eating well (as you can with all the indulgences of holiday season), give yourself empathy when needed. ‘Me time’ doesn’t need to be long to fill our own cup. We can find a peaceful place in the morning to enjoy a full cuppa from top to bottom, a short walk around the block, or simply sitting some where quiet for 5 minutes enjoying your own breathe and peace. In the mix you might like to plan some longer time frames like taking a walk along the beach, going for a bike ride, a surf or a swim, or spend time meditating. Do whatever it is that replenishes you so you can come back to your family with a full cup. This will enable you to be more presence and clearer about navigating challenges that arise. Your kids and partner will appreciate the presence you bring when your cup is full, and will surely bring more ease and harmony in your family dynamic.
This is a great opportunity to create new or strengthen family traditions. Family traditions can be anything small or big, and don’t even need to be fixed, say for example a tradition maybe to spend the first half of boxing day lead by the children, which could introduce all kinds of randomness and mischief! One Christmas tradition for our family when we spend it at home is to have a long relaxed day of eating together. Around mid-morning the table begins to fill up with all sorts of delicious Mediterranean inspired finger food that is available for the rest of the day. Our whole family loves the relaxed nature of the day, no where to go, no particular meal time.
Family traditions give a strong sense of belonging and family identity. They create an accumulation of positive memories together. When spending time with extended family different generations are included and celebrated giving kids the sense of place in their linage.
5. Practice healthy boundaries.
Holiday season will inevitably run into boundary issues. The first boundary setting to consider in the holiday season is scheduling, so much can be happening at this time of year. In our family alone we have 3 birthdays and Christmas in December before even thinking about additional end of year celebrations and gatherings. So politely saying ‘no’ to some events can give you family sanity saving space and keep you more connected as a family.
On the relational side of boundaries the holiday season seems to throw up even more opportunities to practice compassionate boundary setting. It can be a time to re-set relationships with extended family and a time to support our children in understanding boundaries more. There are opportunities to help set warm boundaries for your children around their bodies and well meaning distance relatives who want to hug and kiss them. There are opportunities to set loving limits for our kids – these are setting limits without punishment, rewards or shame. Be prepared that even a lovingly delivered ‘no’ can be meet with tears or tantrums. Aware Parenting Instructor, Marion Rose reminds us “we can say a loving “no” to the behaviour and a loving “yes” to the feelings.” The loving part of limit setting includes listening to their feelings and giving empathy. In my experience, loving presence guides the way back to cooperation and connection, the more we do this the quicker it becomes. Being practising now if you don’t already before we get to the potential overwhelm of the holiday season.
I trust these 5 tips on having the best holiday season yet with your family have you inspired. There are many more ways to support these 5 areas and if you are feeling like you would enjoy some support read on below about my services. I will be opening my group mentoring for fathers and am available for personal coaching to bring you up to a new level in your fatherhood journey.
READY FOR THE BEST HOLIDAY SEASON?
If you want support with the above tips and more with how you plan to enjoy your time with family read my offers below.
New group mentoring for dads
I’m opening a new group mentoring service for fathers in December.
The Awakened Fatherhood Circle is the place for fathers to be supported, to learn and grow with other men to be the best father they can be.
This is no ordinary dads group. Everything in parenting, relationships and self care that has the potential for deepening bonds and enabling the best in each family member will come into question.
The philosophy of Awakened Fatherhood focuses on 4 key areas of intimacy, parenting, health and wealth.
Awakened Fatherhood values a new paradigm of relating and parenting that holds connection and heartful connection over old authoritarian ways.
That is easy to say in a simple sentence. Living this and embodying this is far more challenging in a world dominated by power-over dynamics. The fastest way to making these changes for men is in a tribe of like-minded men.
Men have a massive influence on our partners and our children. Our Women and Children want to see us grow and thrive, they want to feel us at our best, they want to be inspired by us. When we are in that place, our family absorbs a part of us that lives through them.
Fatherhood is a lot of responsibility. It can be overwhelming and if you are parenting in new ways it is often really hard to find other fathers who understand the challenges of undoing the old ways to find a new way with partners and children. Together we thrive.
This is why I have created Awakened Fatherhood Circle.
~ Every week there will be a group video call to keep you focused on what is important to you including Q&A.
~ There will be themed common challenges each week within key areas of parenting, relationships, health and wealth take you to new levels
~ A community of support that is safe yet openly challenging.
~ I will be sharing helpful resources and will be interacting in the group 5 days a week.
~ Sharing personal insights and experiences I do not usually talk about publicly.
~ Accountabilty and inspiration for sustained habit changes. Changing habits takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days.
Would you like to join us?
This is your opportunity to join the Awakened Fatherhood Circle for only $30 a month for the first ten fathers. As a founding member this price will be locked in even when it goes up for others.
1:1 coaching for dads
My coaching is a blend of educational and coaching processes that support you to have the family life you desire.
I am here to support you to be the best father you can be. My strengths lay with parenting in compassionate and connected ways, and intimate and sexual relating. I am very pragmatic in finding ways forward through the challenges of parenting and relationships that suit each individual.
Areas of coaching
Aware Parenting consultations
Becoming Us Facilitation
Connected and cooperative children
Fulfilling intimate relating
Incredible sex life
Feeling fit, healthy and alive
Deeply satifying life experinces
I have raised my children with an Aware Parenting philosophy from birth, and have learnt a lot about this approach to parenting through all the stages of childhood.
I have also experienced the process of separation and co-parenting, along with creating a blended family with 5 homeschooled children. Their current ages range from 6 years to 15.
I have experienced both birth support during c-sections and also ecstatic free-birthing at home.
The past 7 years I have delved deeply into intimacy and sexuality through my relationship, numerous powerful workshops, and practising sexual bodywork for several years.
Over the past ten years I have coached and supported many people through relationship, sexuality and parenting challenges.
Masters of Social Ecology
Cert IV Wholisitic Counselling
Aware Parenting Instructor
Certified Becoming Us Facilitation
Certified Field Centre Coach
Certified Relationship & Sexuality Coach
3 Session Dive
This is a great commitment to getting things back on track to where you want them to be.
This tailored 3 session dive into making changes and meeting challenges gives the space to put actions and practice in place, and form new habits. It takes 66 days on average for new habits of relating to form.
Session 1 (90mins): Exploring how things are and how you want them to be. Forming clear strategies to support those things that are working, and overcoming the challenges that are not working.
Session 2 (60mins): Refining strategies with feedback, exploring new unseen hurdles, redesigning strategies and tightening up ways forward.
Session 3 (60mins): Further refinement and building the scaffolding to support self-learning and ongoing personal growth to support the changes you want in your life. Deepening understandings of self and relating dynamics.
Single Session Focus
Single sessions can be a great way to pinpoint and get insight to unsticking sticky things!
I can offer Aware Parenting Consultations to help you find more connection and cooperation with your children. I can help with overcoming behavioural difficulties, or personal emotional challenges you find with your kids.
On the intimate relationship side of things I can support and give education with anything from communication, alternative relationship formations, to sexual relating challenges.
Having experience within a blended family I can offer understanding and strategies with navigating this territory too.
A single session has the power to get clear about your next steps forward to how you’d like things to be. Sometimes this is all we need to set things back on track.
Initial 90mins $95
Ongoing 60mins $80
Get in touch for a free 15min phone call to see if I can help with any challenges in parenting or relationships you’re needing >>
Let’s start a conversation
Send me a message letting me know what you would like support with.