and Organized Chaos!
Can you guys guess how many factors play into arranging the holidays to suit everybody’s needs in a blended family situation. There aren’t enough fingers and toes on all of us combined to count that. Those of you in the trenches know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s hard enough making sure each side of the family gets their time plus carving out enough time to just slow down and enjoy your own little family unit at home. We’ve come up with an arrangement that seems to work for everyone. There’s a lot of back and forth and keeping track of who goes where and when, but it has to be fair for everyone involved. We keep ourselves on track and organized by utilizing a multi-user calendar that we all have on our phones and allows each of us to update it, highly recommend using one if you don’t already, the one we use is called Cozi.
The older three kids have the ability just to walk from our house to their Mom’s (yes, we live within a stone throw from each other…. Check out more on that here!) so arranging with that camp isn’t as complicated as it could be. Addison on the other hand, her Dad lives over an hour away and as mentioned before in a previous blog, we don’t have a very good co-parenting relationship as he chooses to keep things sour and complicated, so thankfully we have an agreement that states where and when she will be during the holidays, which limits the amount of communication required to work things out.
This year all 6 of us will have our time together from Christmas Eve night to Christmas Day after breakfast. The unfortunate reality of second family life, means you only get a small window of time with everyone together. So, we make sure we make the absolute most of the time we do have. The kids are all still at an age where Christmas morning is still so magical (except for Justin but he’s a good sport, not your typical teenaged boy) so Mark and I are thrilled that we have them all with us this year to enjoy this special time. This is our first year with our pup Dez so the kids arranged for him to have his own stocking and they’ve all added him to their Christmas shopping lists. He’s just a little spoiled.
Speaking of Christmas lists and shopping, this is one area where Mark and I have really had to work hard at compromising. I’m more of a strict budget, let’s not over do it type and he’s Mr. Claus himself! Each year for the past two Christmases I have created a Christmas budget and I’ll casually share it with Mark. Goes something like this “hey babe look at this. I created this budget to help us stay organized and on track for Christmas” “that’s good, thanks for doing that for us” (as it falls on deaf ears) Don’t get me wrong he does look at it more as I continue putting more and more in the actual column and I continue to point out how if we don’t stop soon there really was no point to this budget in the first place. This is usually the point where I start to get more than a little flustered and he has to say his piece. This is where our communication skills and ability to compromise are put to the ultimate test. Usually around Christmas Eve once everything is wrapped and under the tree and it looks like Christmas exploded in our living room and Mark’s sitting there with a big adorable grin on his face so happy at all we have put together for our family, that’s when I’ll take a breath and relax and realize that the budget did serve a purpose, it kept things from getting way out of control and what we did is for the happiness of our kids and that compromise really is invaluable!
How do you guys handle the holiday stressors? Do you budget? Do you just wing it and figure it out later? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment and let me know what you have learned along the way.