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Holidays, families and stress

My family is the best. My sister and I at Voodoo Lounge several years ago for NYE.
My family is the best. My sister and I at Voodoo Lounge several years ago for NYE.
Sarah Estlund-Mullally personal collection.

Changing dynamics, the holidays...added stress....eating and drinking, what does all this mean and what's the best way to process the stress of the holidays while dating or in a relationship?


My family has become really good about acknowledging the stress that comes with the holidays. We've always been herded back and forth from mom's to dad's, then back to mom's and back to dad's. Then throw in grandparents and aunts and uncles, etc. It got old. Now that we're adults, the pressure is gone and our parents as well as us, are more flexible and accommodating than ever before.

My sister and brother both have spouses and those spouses have families. Therefore, between my two siblings and myself we have three spouses whose family holiday traditions we need to be cognizant of, as well as our desire to spend time with each other and our parents. I realize every day how blessed I am to have the family I do - my parents are so understanding about our obligations and spouses and they do everything in their power to make the holidays less stressful for us.

And, I also realize not everyone has understanding families. As a dating advice columnist, my heart goes out to people who feel pulled in every direction between their own family and their partner's family during the holidays. Its the holidays! This is a time to rejoice and be glad! A time to thank God and be thankful for everything and everyone around us.


No matter what your plans for the holidays keep this simple piece of advice in mind: It's only a day in your life. Or, its only a few hours in your life or possibly a few days in your life. But really, in the grand scheme of things, make it about your partner. Put your needs and wants aside and make it about your partner. Then you're sure to have a happier holiday season.