I recently realized that there are many things that I do that I don’t care to do anymore. These are mostly little things like getting Christmas gifts for my brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, and nephews and getting birthday gifts and cards and holiday cards for my nieces and nephews throughout the year.
When the family was smaller, this was fun. I enjoyed it. Over the years, though, as my extended family has continued to grow, and as my husband’s sons have married and had children, it has become less fun and a little overwhelming.
At first I felt guilty about not wanting to do these things anymore. Then I realized that I was the one that told myself that this is what I needed to do to be a good sister or aunt. There are no laws stating that I must do this. These are things that most people do not do anyway. No one has ever even told me that they expect me to do these things.
I made the rules on what I “needed” to do. Which means that I can change the rules. And I have. And everyone has been very supportive.
I am using this concept for other aspects of the holidays as well. Who made the rule that I must send out holiday letters? I did. I’m not doing it this year, and I may not send out cards next year. With social media, I’m not sure it’s necessary to send cards to stay in touch.
Who made the rule that the house must be decorated so completely? I did. We had already decided to limit the decorating because we have a 6-month old kitten that believes everything, breakable or not, is his toy. If I want to decorate more next year, fine. If not, that’s fine, too. No one else really cares. (My husband cares about having a tree, but the rest is fluff.)
Who made the rule that I must cook big holiday dinners for both sides of the family? I did. This year we are doing appetizers for my husband’s side and everyone is bringing something. They really seem to be looking forward to it. I’m not sure what we’ll do for my side, but I already know it will be more convenience and less scratch.
I write and speak on encouraging women to think about what they do, why they do it, and do they want to change. This is another way to think about the same concept. Who made the rules that you must do something? If you did, you can change them if you want.
This is something that you can use for little things, as discussed here, or for big things. Who made your rules on what success means? If you did (and you did) then you can change them if they are not right for you.