“I took a fall tonight and I’m at the hospital. I’ll be okay but I need you to pick me up when you get to town. Please hurry – I don’t know if my house is secure because the paramedic broke the window to get in.”
Those were the words spoken to my husband this past week-end as we were driving to Austin, TX for a visit with his mom and step-dad. We knew his step-dad had been in the hospital for several days due to complications from his diabetes but we were shocked to hear the news from his mom, and concerned about the urgency of the situation. But once we heard the story, we spoke with her about being prepared for an unexpected event in the future.
When my mother-in-law fell she was home alone. She hit the floor hard and couldn’t get up but managed to reach a nearby phone. However, when the ambulance came to pick her up, she couldn’t get to the front door and the paramedics had to break a window to enter the house. It was an added stress to the situation that could have been prevented if there had been an extra key hidden outside, as the paramedics requested in case of another unexpected accident.
We can’t always anticipate what kind of events are going to invade our home at the holidays, particularly in a stepfamily. But we can prepare ourselves for unexpected events by managing our expectations throughout the season. Here’s a snippet of what we included in our new e-book, “Thriving at the Holidays: A Stepparent’s Guide to Success:” in regards to expectations.
“At the holidays, we manage our lists, our schedules and our budgets. Yet the most important items to manage during the holiday season are our expectations! As stepparents, we are committed to our families and because we want to give our blended family the gift of a joyous and peaceful holiday, we often take it upon ourselves to bring that joy and peace.
While holidays seem like the perfect opportunity to show your stepkids how much you care about them, this time of year can easily become a source of disappointment and frustration. The problem lies in the fact that we have little-to-no control over those around us. When we attach expectations to those in our stepfamily with whom we have little to no influence over, we set ourselves up for potential heartache.
…Whatever expectations you allow to enter your head also enter your heart and your home. It is important to manage expectations so they don’t manage us.”
How do you manage your expectations during the holidays? Will you share what works for you?