7 Causes of Holiday Stress for Parents

Once again the holidays are here. That means Christmas music, crowds, and for some of us… snow. For those with kids, the stress level is taken up a notch. We have all the regular stresses, plus a few extra ones just for fun. Let’s take a look at a few.

– School is Out – Lets start with the big one. My older daughter is out of school. This means I have to find a way to entertain her, and her two-year-old sister. Well, entertained or at least busy enough that they don’t kill each other. When she is out for the summer it isn’t as bad. The girls can go outside, run off some energy, and kill a lot of time. Here in Michigan, in December, they can go outside but can’t stay out for long. If they are outside much more than a half hour and they start to get cold and want to come in. I have to be honest, if my wife gets home and no one is hurt and the house is still standing I count it as a win.

– Giving and Receiving Gifts – This one comes with a disclaimer. I don’t mind buying gifts for my girls or my nephews. Buying toys are fun. Watching the kids’ faces when they open their gifts is better. Getting to play with the toys after the kids are in bed is the best. Buying for adults is an entirely different story. Adults, many of whom have jobs tend to buy anything small they want. That leaves me guessing what they might want. I know it is just as bad for people buying for me. Inevitably we end up trading gift cards, often to the same place. This can be even more awkward when I receive a $25 gift card after giving them one for $15.

– Visiting Relatives – A large part of the holidays is visiting relatives. I really don’t mind this. I get along with most of my family, well, except for brother-in-law, mostly because he went to Central Michigan University (Go Broncos!). So why is it on this list? It is because I have so many relatives, and every one of them wants to see the girls. When it was just my wife and I we could miss an event or two. Now with the girls we had better make every single family event, even if they overlap and are in different states.

– Driving – Driving during the holidays is stressful for everyone. There are more cars on the road which means more congestion and more stress. Now imagine all that with two kids in the back seat crying. They yell at each other. They cry to get out of their car seats. They start begging for bathroom breaks even if we just took one minute ago. For those without kids just imagine driving with the most annoying sound ever. Played at top volume. For two hours. In the snow. Now double it because I have two kids.

– The Schedule – The holidays ruin my schedule. By my schedule, I actually mean my two-year old’s schedule. I have worked very hard to get our youngest on a schedule. She eats at a certain time, she sleeps at a certain time, and life is easy. Unfortunately, my family can’t understand this. They ask what difference does it make if lunch is a half hour late, or she gets to bed at 9 instead of 8. Let me tell you the difference is huge. If you break that schedule, she is what I will call “less than” well-behaved. Then my relatives leave and I am left to clean up the mess that is our hungry and tired two-year-old.

– Putting Together Toys – I am not an engineer. Not even close. But after 5 years of putting together toys I am convinced whoever designed my girls toys isn’t an engineer either. 300 unlabeled parts, a hidden inaccessible battery pack that is screwed shut, and all of this in a package that I need two different knives, some scissors, and a first aid kit (Yes, I will probably hurt myself getting to the toy) to get open. The package is probably the worst. Don’t know why but those toys are secure. The only reason they could possibly have for the amount of tape and straps on most toys is that they saw Toy Story and are sure that if they don’t restrain the toys, they will escape.

– New Years Day – I used to love New Years. A big party and then a day to sleep, watch some football and recover from any adult beverages I “may” have consumed the night before. Now that I have two kids, none of that happens. First my wife and I have to be lucky enough to find a sitter. (Thanks, Mom!) Next, we have to be home at a decent time because no matter what time they got in bed the girls will be up by 7 am. Which if you don’t realize is very close to 2 am. I still try to watch the football games and last year I did pretty good. I saw almost an entire quarter before the girls pulled me away. Oh well, at least summer is coming soon.

Photo from snowbear Рmorguefile.com

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Bryan Alkire

Bryan is a Stay at Home Dad from Kalamazoo MI. Every day he is lucky enough to experience the joys and struggles of raising his two young girls. His older daughter, a brain tumor survivor, has just started school. His younger daughter is a ball of energy that always keeps him on his toes. He chronicles his adventures with his girls and beautiful wife on his blog www.kzoodad.com. When not watching the girls he plays golf (badly), enjoys craft beer, and working on that book he keeps promising to get done.

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