Many of us have a hard time finding balance during the holiday season. It seems as if for some of us Thanksgiving begins a grueling marathon that won’t end until after the New Year and if you celebrate other related events like Boxing Day or Dias de Los Reyes can extend into the first week of January. Some people view the holidays as a time that needs to be survived and lived through. And when adults feel that way, our children, especially the little ones, can absorb this energy become over-stimulated, uncomfortable or even frightened. New faces, new places and social gatherings can quickly fill up your calendar and you may find yourself driving to and fro to accommodate invitations from friends and family or you may be hosting and get stressed over that. So to all this, I say….take charge! :) Easier said than done, I know.
But let’s take a breather. Relax and remember what’s important. Below are some of the things I try to keep mind and live by as the holiday season comes around, especially now that I am a mom of 3 small children. I’m still learning as I go, but I hope some of these can remind you of what to keep in mind as December comes into full swing. Please feel free to leave comments and share your tips too in our forums and message boards. I decided it’d be neat to rate some of these with our Empowered Mommy Ratings so check them out!
Spend Time With People You Really Want To: The Holiday Season is replete with social events and obligations. And some without a doubt (like work-related functions) you will need to attend even if you don’t feel like it. But for the rest of them, make sure you spend your energy and time on people you truly want to be around with! You’re an adult, a mother, and you shouldn’t have to attend events out of guilt or “obligation”. I certainly wouldn’t want people seeing me because they felt obliged. Especially when it involves our children. Focus on the people that mean the most to you and really stop and ask yourself, “Do I need to get involved with this? and how will affect my babies or toddlers?
Obsessing About Details: If you’re the host of an event, don’t get caught up in minute details. Yes, we all want to hold a great event but keep everything in check and prioritize. Most likely your guests won’t notice the little things and if they do (they’re not the type of people you want to invite again anyways). When you have young children, some things have to take a back-seat and that is ok!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help: We all need help once in a while. This is even more true if you’re a new mom or have young children. So don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help during the holiday season. Need help with cooking? Someone to take care of the kids while you go Christmas shopping?
Setting Unrealistic Expectations: The meticulously decorated house, the perfectly trimmed tree, the family portrait greeting cards, the perfect holiday party, the spotless house, all the folded laundry, all beds, made, all carpets clean, etc…etc…etc…. While all of these sound great and maybe there are moms out there who are able to accomplish all this while taking care of infants, I am certainly not one of them. Striving for perfection is exhausting and in its very definition, perfection does not exist. So why waste our time and energy pursuing it? Instead set priorities. What is most important to you? Griswold-style lighting outside? A big tree? Attending holiday themed events with your kids? And if you choose to want to do it all, it’s okay if some things fall to the side.
Focus on Memories/Experiences and Not Things: This is my humble opinion of course, but I believe that you and your children will remember experiences and feelings about the holidays not things. Case in point, I don’t remember any of my gifts or the decorations my mom put up during my childhood holidays, but I do remember the events we attended, the holiday dinners and meals we cooked and the time we spent together as a family.
Comparing or Competing with Other Moms: I don’t have tolerance for this honestly. Every family is different. Different children, different situations, different parents, so why even bother comparing or competing with fellow moms? Certainly, our time as precious and scarce as it is can be focused elsewhere. Comparing for the sake of comparing can be human nature at times, but when it leads to resentment and envy can be quite poisonous and toxic to the mind, body and soul.