Joy for the Holidays: Managing the season as a wife, mom, and business owner

Let me know if this sounds familiar:

  • Lists clutter your counter and purse full of chicken-scratched names and gifts ideas
  • Calendars and more lists of events and obligations for school and family
  • Delivery boxes piled up in your closet/store room/under the bed, some safely hidden away, others blatantly stacked in the corner
  • Sleep schedules…what are those?
  • Anxiety to finish all.the.things.
  • Guilt for not finishing all.the.things.
  • Tears (yours or your child’s)

The holiday season can be merry and bright, but can also induce panic and anxiety, for I dare say a good percent of the population. There’s a pressure (both external in our society or our own internal pictures of perfection) to go above and beyond the regular day-to-day and make the season a magical time your family will look back on with glee and wistful tears.

…but I’m here to argue that a lot of holiday pressure is self-imposed and these visions of a perfect holiday actually set us up for failure.

This mama has four kiddos with vastly different personalities, and my plans tend not to go as planned. This mama is self-employed and needs to cross of my work to-dos too, much like many of you working parents out there. This mama also wants to make memories for the kiddos, but not at the expense of my own sanity. So I’m going to share with you, how I’ve found to best fill the needs of my family during the holidays. I know this may not get everyone’s seal of approval, but please believe me when I say I’m doing my best and you can go do you.

Mama’s Christmas List:

  1. Prioritize: Stop with the “best Christmas ever” ambitions, and be content with what you can actually control. What NEEDS to be done, and what would just be NICE to have done?
  2. Offload & get help: I’ve hired babysitters to go shopping and get my presents wrapped. I also buy a lot of premade treats lately. I’m not ashamed.
  3. Keep your routines: the worst thing would be a sick mama on Christmas, so sleep at night and drink your water during the day
  4. Turn off the Pinterest and Mom Blogs for the next week (ironic, right?)…aka comparison is the thief of joy: I can’t stress this one enough. Your family and holiday is uniquely yours. Don’t put yourself into debt to decorate your home or buy the newest PS4, also don’t feel obligated to wear name brand clothing for Christmas mass if you’re going to change into jammies the second you get home. Keep it real, folks.
  5. Establish your own traditions: we make homemade, processed pizzas and look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve (typically). I want traditions for my family too.
  6. Cry if you need to: it’s also the end of the year, which is a time for reflection as we look at last year’s greeting cards. It’s ok to be sad about the passage of time and all that you went through in this trip around the sun. Also, credit card statements.
  7. Smile and be joyful: Don’t let your unmet expectations make you feel like a failure. You can choose to be sad about that or happy that you have this day. Choose happy.

Take all these tips with a bit of salt (see item #4), and make this your most satisfying holiday yet. I hope you all have a very merry holiday with family and friends!

It took 22 takes to get a picture in our Christmas jammies…while this isn’t the best, it is my favorite.

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