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How do you handle the expectations of family celebrations when you’re just not up for attending, cooking, etc?

I know that asthma can really put a damper on how we feel and what we're able to do.  This time of year there are often family celebrations, some more low-key and others more involved.

If you do a lot of the prep (cooking, organizing, etc), how do you handle this when you just aren't feeling great?  Do you delegate to others?

What if there is a family event that you're expected to attend?  Are your family members understanding when you're not feeling well and just can't make it?

 

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  • K8sMom2002

    In the past, it would depend. My mom's events were like royal commands. There was one Christmas Day I went, sick as a dog, because of COURSE you didn't skip. I wound up going to the ER that day after Christmas Dinner. 

    But now most of the time I just skip it if I don't feel well. 

    As for as cooking, etc., I try to plan so that if the worst happens we can go to plan B. 

    I will say that there are nights when I simply don't feel like cooking (last night), and DH will pick up the slack. He's not happy about it, but he's a big boy.

  • Kathy P

    It's just us here this year. We are usually traveling to family, but this year we are staying home. Other years when we've stayed home, a friend of mine has invited her family to our house. But not this year!

    I'm in a bit of a bah humbug mood. It's been a rough fall and I'm just exhausted from it all! I've barely had time and energy to shop or anything. I did some shopping for the little stuff – stocking stuffers, etc this past weekend. We did finally get the tree and I was baking cookies all weekend, so I'm feeling a bit more in the holiday spirit. We'll see…hopefully my mood will perk up!

    DH and DS are off til after the new year, so they are underfoot! LOL! It means I need to make sure I have enough food in the house for them for lunches AND make dinner! DD gets here on Thursday, but I'm sure she'll immediately have all sorts of plans with her friends she hasn't seen in months.

  • Jen

    Trying to get in that holiday spirit myself.  I enjoy all of the holiday things, but it seems like my schedule is so busy this year that the holiday stuff is just one more thing on my to do list.  Saturday I made the buckeyes for school staff.  Plan to finish cards today.  More shopping and then wrapping (have to do that when the nosy children are at school ) tomorrow.

  • K8sMom2002

    I wish I could hit "pause" and have at least a week longer before Christmas! I haven't wrapped a single gift and I'm seriously thinking of just putting them unwrapped under the tree!  

  • Kathy P

    I still have not even finished shopping! And I have no ideas for what toeven buy!I'll be doing a last minute scramble to wrap stuff.And I need to figure out what we are having for dinner and go groceryshopping.I'd like a pause button as well!

  • K8sMom2002

    Take it from my DD … Portraits of Presidents work VERY well as long as they are the appropriate size. They wrap rather nicely, too!

    Unfortunately, I was raised to believe I had to figure out the pulverizingly precisely right gift for family … and wrap it.

  • Jen

    Ds hasn't slept well this week – a couple of early morning wakeups and then a 3 hour party in the middle of the night Monday into Tuesday.   Between lack of sleep and loads of other things on the schedule, it's been hard to do all of the holiday prep.  I *think* we're good on gifts now.  I got more stocking stuffers today because when I laid out what I had yesterday, it wasn't very much.  I do need to check to make sure each kid has about the same amount.  As for gift wrapping, fortunately dh has been off work since Friday last week.  He took care of a bunch yesterday.  I think he sees that I've been running around a bunch and am short on time, so he is chipping in a bit  Kathy – I still need to figure out our meal and baking plans for this weekend.  Hoping to get that squared away tomorrow and go to the store sometime Friday.

  • Jen

    He slept fine Tuesday night.  Last night/this am, he was up at 430am.  A squirt of night nights (aka melatonin) and he was out for another 3 hours.  I had to get up at 615, but I guess it's better than nothing.  

    Everything is coming along for the holidays.  One thing I did was to basically tell dh and the kids that besides holiday prep and some other pre-planned things, I would not be doing extra stuff this week – no taking kids to friends houses, no helping dh at the old house, etc.  

     

  • K8sMom2002

    Good to know that you guys got some needed shut-eye! And I can totally understand about "nothing extra."

    For some reason this year, the holiday season has proven too much for me. I don't know why exactly, but I've let several things slip. Fortunately it's all been sort of fixable. 

  • Jen

    How are everyone's celebrations going?  Did you get help with all the prep?

  • Kathy P

    A bunch of years ago, my kids learned of the Polish tradition of having pierogi for Christmas Eve dinner. As many times as we'd been at my IL's who are Polish, she never made/served pierogi! I think I was telling her that my family was making them and that was when she told us about the tradition.Anyway, now my kids look forward to this when we can pull it off. The gluten-free thing kind of throws a monkey wrench in….Plus, I can't tolerate a lot of egg or dairy.So yesterday, we all made pierogi. Da girl was all about it! She peeled potatoes, mashed them and grated cheese. I made the dough which was giving me trouble but I finally got it working. Da boy came out to help during assembly. I was rolling and cutting, da girl was portioning out the filling, I was closing them up, then da boy was crimping the edges with a fork. Dh was watching football but he did come over to take pics, so we'll count that as his contribution!They were yummy and I have about 30 left to freeze. And I didn't realize til da girl had nearly finished peeling 5lb of potatoes, so we put the extra potato and cheese filling in small baking dishes for the freezer.We finally got the tree decorated Friday night. I store all my ornaments in plastic bins to minimize the dust. But I was sneezing a bit by the end. It wasn't bad though.It's been kind of a quiet, minimalist Christmas, nuts OK. It 8:30am and I'm the only one even awake!

  • Jen

    All of the crazy is done here. At least the big stuff – finished baking last night, gifts today. 

    Dh's sister is coming over for dinner tonight, but that's usually pretty low key. Tomorrow night is our yearly get together w my dad's side of the family. The biggest things to deal with there are a.dd1's peanut allergy (it's at a restaurant where we've held the reunion a few times) and b. Ds – he has autism and can get overstimulated. Fortunately it's in the party room at the restaurant and it will be loud with lots of people milling about. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Perversely this year it wasn't asthma that put a big wrinkle in things, but vertigo! My entire family yelled at me and wouldn't let me do much of anything for prep on Christmas Day. I didn't FEEL like I wobbled that much. 

    We had a great supper, and DD went after-Christmas shopping yesterday with her holiday cash and gift cards. Now I'm dreading taking the tree down. Since DD is broke, I wonder if I could hire her to take it down?

  • Jen

    Cynthia – It was probably a good thing that they wouldn't let you do much.  You needed that rest.

  • K8sMom2002

    Do you guys find that "understanding" and "empathy" from your family comes in waves? Right now, it's like my DH has totally forgotten about some of my health issues. When I ask him to do something for me, he'll be irritated for a moment, and then I'll explain, "it's because I …" and then it's like a light bulb goes off.

    Another example of family amnesia: my sis and I were talking about a project I want to do in my kitchen — I want to make a pull-out shelf in a wall for my mixer. The wall backs up into an old furnace closet that is no longer used to house our HVAC system except for some much smaller duct work. 

    I wanted to just cut the hole out of the wall with a jig saw or reciprocating saw and leave the painted paneling intact. My sis thought it would be no big deal if we took the paneling down and just repainted it afterwards. I had to remind her that paint was a VERY big deal for me since both DD and I have asthma. This time of year when if it IS warm enough to open the windows, we'll also have to deal with pollen.