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Kids off of school? Taking a break from homeschooling? College kids crashing on the couch? Family in from out of town. Here’s how to make the most of a holiday break!
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Hello, everyone. Today, we’re going to be talking about any kind of different routine that you have for the holidays. So whether that’s taking a break from homeschooling or your kids are home, college kids have come home. You’ve got family in town. It’s just like your regular life. Its rhythms are being disrupted by a break.
And this is just true of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. There’s all sorts of breaks that we have. We have a routine set of things that we do. And then all of a sudden, here we are, we’re living in. A different way, maybe with different people being in the house all the time. And so I want to talk to you about having a home for break protocol. So a protocol is just a list of decisions that you make ahead of time. To help you avoid stress, because here’s the thing. If your kids are coming home from school, all of a sudden we know we’re like feeding them in ways that we weren’t feeding them before. They’re going to ask a ton of questions about screen time. Can I go to my friend’s house? Can I stay up late? Like you already know the things. But as moms, we tend to live very reactive lives and we’re just kind of showing up to all of the fires in front of us or the to-do list in front of us. And if we just take 15 minutes to decide ahead of time how life is going to look differently.
And this home breaks protocol, then when all of that stuff comes up you just go, oh, I already made a plan for this how awesome. No, will you plan for everything? No. But right now, you probably haven’t planned for any of it. And you could plan for a significant portion of it. And so let’s just start with kids coming home from school. Or if you’re homeschooling or not doing school and the kids really do understand that you’re on break. Like you’ve said, Hey, we’re taking a break for Thanksgiving and let’s just talk about a week’s worth of time. I realized Christmas break and maybe spring breaker a little bit longer, but let’s just say a week of time. And so we can ask ourselves, are we changing our sleep routines? Do they get to watch more television? Do they get to eat all day? Can they just come in and eat all day and eat snacks? Are there going to be any kitchen rules?
Are they allowed to sleep in? Are we going to do things together as a family at certain times? are they even required to come in and have lunch together as a family at 12: 30? Because the thing breaks. By nature we had some structure and routine in place, and now we don’t. That’s why it feels so chaotic. There’s really usually very little structure, and it’s okay. To keep it being a time that doesn’t have a lot of structure, but then don’t be surprised that the kids are kind of feeling like they don’t know what to do. About food and screens and time because there’s no structure. And so I’m not saying, Hey, we have to be super structured as moms, but you do get to decide ahead of time. Is it just going to be free for all? I’m going to make it up every day and that’s totally fine. If you want to be a free spirit and just make it up every day. Go for it, but because we’ve had this conversation. Now I’m hoping that you go, oh yeah, I chose not to create a lot of structure and I’m just going to feel into what we’re going to do for the day. Of course, the children are going to ask me lots of questions and I’m totally fine with that. Or you might go, you know what? Serling you’re totally right. Thanksgiving break is kind of like summer break, but I don’t think about it like that. It just shows up and it catches me off guard. And then I’m like, I forgot about snacks. I forgot that they asked about that million times.
So you can just decide ahead of time. What are the rules? What’s different? What are we going to keep the same? If it’s a short break, you may not choose to let them stay up a lot later. If it’s a longer break than you might choose to let them stay up later and then kind of. Push up those bedtimes as we get closer to having our normal routine.
So that’s for like, little kids in your house. School-aged children, whether you’re homeschooling or not and we’re taking a break and the rhythms are just different. Now let’s talk about College kids or young adult kids coming back home for break. Okay, because usually, and I don’t know, cause I’m not in this phase of life yet, but I imagine I would be so excited. For my kids to come back home, like just the most excited to see them again. But what do young people want to do? They want to sleep in. They want to eat food and not clean up after themselves and they want to go hang out with their friends. Like we already know that’s what’s going to happen. We already know they’re going to eat all your food and maybe not clean it up. They’re going to sleep in forever. And when they wake up, they’re going to be like, hey mom, I love you. I’m going to go see my friends, I already know this. So creating a home for break protocol and the protocol is for you and the things you can control. You just decide ahead of time what do I want to think about those things? Are there any boundaries that I want to set for these kids and really just think about it? It’s kind of hard to enforce boundaries. With the kids coming home just for a few days, if you don’t clean up after you eat a late night snack with your friends, what’s the consequence? You’re not going to let him eat. Food from the kitchen, unless you make it for them. I just want to point out how hard it is to actually create boundaries around that. Now you could, but most of you won’t. You’re just like, you know what? The pain of enforcing that boundary is worse than just like cleaning up their food. And just like we talked about in the last episode, if you just drop resistance. To the fact that young people do this, young people are just super hormonal, super cell focused. It’s a temporary problem.
You didn’t raise garbage humans. They’re lovely humans and when their brain fully matures they come up for air and be like, oh, I should clean up after myself and spend time with my mom. But they don’t tend to do that until they are 25.
And so you don’t have to beat yourself up and you don’t have to beat them up. Now you may say you may have some rules to listen to. Are you going to have your friends over, but I really do want everybody out of the house by midnight.
And we’re not out of the house by midnight. I’m going to come down to my nightgown. Not an immodest nightgown, just I’m in my nightgown. And I’m gonna tell your friends, they have to leave. That would be a boundary that you could enforce. And you probably would be willing to.
And so you just want to think ahead of time about. The issues that are going to come up. If you don’t know if this is the first time that your college kid is coming home, someone who’s had a college kid who’s come home, you just call your friend and be like, Hey friend. Tell me what? I don’t know. What do I need to be prepared for? And they’re going to be like, you need to go to Costco. And you’re probably going to be doing that kid’s laundry and they won’t say thank you. Or they might say thank you while they’re playing video games and they won’t even look at your face and this is just what young people do.
Now if it’s really important to you. But they spend time with you before they come. You go, Hey, young adult I know you’re going to come and you’re going to sleep. You’re gonna hang out with your friends. Totally awesome. I want to see you Sunday for three hours at this event. Non-negotiable you gotta be there. Again, I want to, I want to suggest by the way that like, There aren’t usually a lot of boundaries that we’re willing to hold. For example, if you said, and if you don’t come hang out with me on Sunday for three hours, you can not come home again. Next Christmas, this is very unlikely that you’re going to do that. And so you can just think about these things ahead of time and sometimes the protocol. And again, this is just a piece of paper where we’re writing down our decisions ahead of time. Might be sentences that you’re going to say to yourself. Okay, when you wake up in the morning. And the kid is sleeping dead to the world they’re not even come out of their room till 11. And there’s like bread crumbs all over from the grilled cheese sandwich they made at midnight.
On your protocol, you could already have decided to think. It’s totally fine. I’m so happy this kid’s home. I am so willing to clean up after this kid this isn’t a problem. This has nothing to do with the kind of adult this kid is going to be. I’m so glad that they feel safe coming home and spending time with us. Can you just totally flip that around? Or I want you to know the other option is you wait until they wake up and you go, Hey, can you clean up that thing from last night? We’re not angry. We’re not surprised.
I don’t know how you want to run your house and treat these kids. There’s nothing universal. These are the rules. But I want you to decide ahead of time, because if you don’t decide ahead of time, these things come up. You will have a stress response, which is probably yelling or beating yourself up and feeling terrible. And now you’ve kind of ruined your break and their break. And really your deepest desire is for connection.
And to me having a protocol and making decisions ahead of time when I’m calm and at peace. And I trust the Lord and I trust myself, setting me up for the best chance of having connections. At a holiday event or a break, something like that.
So let’s talk about the third category, which is having people come visit you from out of town. So this is not your college kid. This is like your sister and her three kids. Okay, just like adults or another family. And they’re coming to stay in your house. Same thing though we’re just gonna make a protocol. We’re going to think about all the things that are difficult about that. And we’re either going to make peace with them and write out sentences.
To coach ourselves on the difficult things that come up or we’re going to make decisions or boundaries or something. And let’s say Your sibling, your adult sibling, brings his family over to stay at your house and their kids watch shows that your kids do not watch. You can decide ahead of time, call your brother and be like, Hey, so excited to see you. It’s going to be amazing. Our kids don’t watch paw patrol, I’m just picking that our kids don’t watch paw patrol. So while you’re here, I’ll make a list of the things that we can watch, but it’s not going to be paw patrol. And you’ve just decided ahead of time and you’ve told him no big deal.
I’m trying to think of what else comes up. I know, I know I do a lot of coaching on My sibling comes over and they just it’s really around screen time. Like they have different screen time requirements. Oh one another one is we don’t allow screens. Playing out loud in the living room. Like you can have headphones and listen to a screen. But you can’t watch football on your phone in the middle of the living room. That’s a family space and we want it for talking. She could tell them that ahead of time.
You could decide where people are sleeping, you could decide what people are eating. Do we all eat together? Is it? Are we making that up every day? Do we need to wonder who’s paying for things like, are we all going to zoo lights and then who’s paying for that? Like you can just step through the things and find the questions that are unanswered.
And this is just how we have a calm holiday season. And I’m telling you guys, this takes 15 minutes. It’s not a big deal. Like I’ll take out a piece of paper and I just think. What are the things? Yes or no, coach myself through it. Do I need to buy anything? Do I need to have any conversations? Do we need to prep anything?
It’s a simple activity, but it makes break feels so much better. Do not get caught off guard. Whenever routines change. If we do not think through them, we’re just met with this chaos. Because the kids don’t know what’s going on or the visitors and then we’re all just reacting. And of course we don’t do that very well. Usually, I wanted to just show you how I use protocols. I write about that in my book. If you have not gotten my book, you need to do that. Catholic Mom Calm. It’s on Amazon. You can get the physical copy or the Kindle copy. And I talk about protocols. And protocols will just absolutely make your life better and they don’t take very long to make and you can make them about anything, but I just wanted to use a holiday break as an example. Cause I think it’s relevant right now and it will just give you practice for using a protocol.
All right my friends, if you have read my book, it would mean so much to me. If you would go to Amazon and leave a review. Amazon shows the book to more people. The more reviews a book has, like it’s oh, people are reading this book so we should show it to more people. And so when somebody self publishes a book. The nicest thing you could do for them. Is to leave an Amazon review. And I know that’s kind of annoying to do, like you have to stop and pull out your phone and do it, but it only takes a couple minutes and. If you read the book, I’m hoping that it helped you in some way. And that is why you would leave the review to help another mom Who’s struggling and I think protocols are just one of the best tools in that book for helping us to live. With more peace as Catholic moms. All right. My friends, I love you. I’m praying for you. Have a blessed day.