We all want to give our families that picture-perfect Christmas – just like something straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Unfortunately, we all live in the real world (and not in a Hallmark Channel movie) where sometimes kids get sick, roads get slick and moms get stressed. Big time. The best way I’ve found to keep pre-Christmas anxiety in check is to avoid these four ways we moms tend to ruin the holidays:
- Obsess. You are not Martha Stewart. Therefore no one is expecting you to make from-scratch designer cookies or knit your kids matching Christmas sweaters. Try to relax and let go of the tiny little details that can quite quickly drive you mad. Because… honestly? No one cares whether you serve canned or fresh sweet potatoes. Or whether your daughter’s tights are white or cream. Except for you. Give yourself a break, and grant yourself permission to let go of perfection. Because in the long run, minor holiday catastrophes (like little kids screaming on Santa’s lap) make for the funniest stories!
- Compare. Similarly, do not put yourself up against other moms who stay up all night making Pinterest-worthy gifts for your child’s homeroom teacher. Do not feel bad about your Griswold-y neighbor having better house lights than you, and please please don’t get so caught up in buying the “best” gifts that you overspend and blow your budget. Christmas is not meant to be a winner-take-all competition. Your kids, friends and family members love you for just being YOU. Give your own talents room to shine, and don’t worry about anyone else’s.
- Ignore your health. Let’s face it. We all overindulge (be it Christmas cookies or cocktails) at some point during the holidays, and our regular sleep and exercise schedules go straight up the chimney. But remembering to eat fruits and veggies, stay hydrated and sleep (even nap) when you can, that will all go a long way toward maintaining good physical and emotional health during the cold and flu season. Can’t get to the gym? No worries – take a brisk walk outside to look at Christmas lights, shovel the driveway or challenge the kiddos to a snowball fight!
- Adhere to ‘The List.’ Staying organized is good. Treating every holiday task like a chore or obligation leads to mommy burnout. If you find yourself dreading your “must-do” checklist, see if you can relax and set aside some time for family fun. Take an afternoon to cut out snowflakes with your kids, or build a blanket fort in the living room and watch Christmas movies together. After all, in five, 10 or 25 years, your kids aren’t going to remember accomplishing a whopping Christmas “to-do” list with you or even opening their gifts. They are going to remember the quiet, peaceful moments. The whimsical and the unexpected. The occasions you put aside your lists and expectations and just focused on being present in that moment with them. So embrace the childlike wonder of the holiday season and make “family time” your top priority. Isn’t that what this time of year is really all about?