My Christmas Isn’t Stress-Free, But I’m Finding Joy


Even though my parents maintained a good relationship for the sake of their children after their divorce, it was always stressful splitting our time between them. I love the holidays, but our Christmases never felt complete as I was rushed from one household to another.

After I got married the stress just increased. My husband and I were overwhelmed with the responsibility of satisfying all parties vying for our attention, including my in-laws and my parents’ families. All our siblings also have growing families, so making something work for everyone was a challenge.

The holidays became a relay race. Figuring out when to pass the baton and run to the next party was exhausting and really wore us down. The stress of it made it harder and harder for us to enjoy the little bit of time we had with each loved one.

The stress was compounded by my feelings of guilt. The holidays brought to the surface everything I had stored up emotionally through the years as a child of divorced parents. I felt so bad as a child when I left my mother to go to my father’s, then again when I left my father’s. I blamed myself for their broken relationship. As an adult, I can still feel that tension and tend to blame myself for not being able to be there for everyone.

I love the holidays, but the stress of all the obligations to my family members started to erase the real reason for the season. My husband and I eventually had to accept that we couldn’t make it to every event on the same day.

All of our family members have been understanding and have worked with our schedules. It still has been a struggle for me to let go of past traditions, but my husband and I are making new ones. I had become so accustomed to spending Christmas Eve with my mother and Christmas day with my father. Now Christmas is about my children and allowing them to spend time with their grandparents. My two children are blessed to have three sets of Grandparents, three places to go!

My husband and my babies should always be my main focus. We still make it a point to visit everyone and we do our best to make those visits count. The holiday season, just like every season of life, brings change. Sometimes it’s hard to adjust at first, but my life with my family is the best season I have experienced yet!


Shayla is a proud stay-at-home mother to her two beautiful girls she is raising with her husband in Ohio. I love to kayak, horseback ride, read, travel and I love trying new foods. I believe in love because I want to be a part of a movement that embraces family, self-acceptance, and growth.
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