There’s something about this time of year that causes us to cram in as much as possible. I personally love Christmas and am itching to decorate before Thanksgiving.
I daydream about all the activities we’ll do like baking cookies, driving around to look at lights, seeing the Nutcracker, or visiting Santa. All the while, I’ll also have fun finding the perfect gift for my friends and family members.
When New Year’s eve comes, I’ll have already reflected on the past year and have a fresh set of goals ready to make this upcoming year my best yet.
Are you shaking your head at me? Is that not what happens in real life?!
The reality for most working moms tends to look a little different.
You feel pulled in too many directions. You have a lot going on at work to close out the year. Your kids have holiday school events you feel behind for – what special clothes do they need to wear? Why are those events always in the middle of the work day?!?
You’re behind in your goal of having gifts purchased by Thanksgiving this year – HA! And now you need to find a dress for that work holiday party and send out cute family holiday cards.
All of those things start to feel like obligations instead of the warm and fuzzy activities you initially imagined.
So, here’s the thing.
You cannot do it all.
I know. I hate when I hear that I can’t do it all, but it’s true.
Let’s back up to the big picture.
How do you want to feel this holiday season?
Stressed and maxed out? Or do you want to actually enjoy the things you choose to include in your schedule?
Sure, there are some things that are necessary without extremely negative consequences. You probably don’t want to be the one parent that misses their child’s holiday performance or party.
But, there are so many others that are not requirements. They are choices you are making.
To limit stress this season, I want to encourage to take a good look at all of your activities and expectations.
What activities make you feel the way you want to feel during the holiday season?
Make sure those are the things that you choose intentionally to fit in. If getting holiday cards out in time for Hanukkah or Christmas is too much with everything else, what if you didn’t actually send them?
Look deeper at the reason you do it.
Is it to connect more with those people in your life?
What else could you do to make sure that you connect with them instead of sending them the same card you send to everyone else?
It doesn’t even need to done during the holiday season. We can love on those people all through the year.
Saying yes to one thing always means saying no to something else because we all have limited time.
One thing that our family has cut from our holiday schedule is a picture with Santa. I know, the horror! Here’s the thing though – my kids are generally shy with strangers and have little patience for long lines.
Instead, we could be doing something else they (and I!) will enjoy more. We could be baking cookies, watching the Nutcracker ballet, or putting together a basket of goodies for our overworked delivery people.
So, consider what things do you enjoy so much that they must be included? What could you remove?
Be honest with yourself about how you feel when you do each activity.
If baking cookies with your kids makes you stressed and you don’t enjoy it, don’t. There are no holiday police that will come take you away.
The best memories with your kids will be when you are calm and present instead of stressed.
So tell me, what are you going to cut from the holidays this year? Let me know in the comments.