Here we go, people.
It seems as if the Parenting Gods decided to mess with moms even more than usual the weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. As if we don’t have enough to already do on a good day, the holiday season adds gift buying, fancy meal preparation, holiday party going, attending school concerts, making New Year’s Eve arrangements, and more. Predictably, all of this craziness makes us tense, which makes our kids tense, too. It’s way too much to do in five short weeks! But, don’t stress. These tips are going to get you through the holiday season without you or your family members melting down like a candlestick on your holiday mantle.
To start things off, remember your mantra: “I am the most important person in the family.” I am serious, read this sentence over and over until you truly believe it because without confidence in yourself, you’re doomed.
MAKE A LIST
Start a list of everything you need to do from now until December 31st. Write it all down because if you don’t, you’re going to forget. And it needs to be on one sheet of paper, one, not 82.
FIND YOUR CALENDAR
Take your to do list and plop each task in day by day when you think you can accomplish them. Yes, December will look like a war zone – it just will – but, if you have a plan you will feel under control and not under fire.
DECIDE WHAT TO SAY NO TO (YES, YOU HAVE TO PICK SOMETHING)
Be choosy when agreeing to attend holiday parties and taking on extra work or school commitments. You know yourself best and how much you can handle and your current mental state. Trust me, nobody cares if you volunteer in the school library or not, but, if you’re overloaded and yelling at your kids they sure will.
YOU COME FIRST
Along with saying no comes the priority of your health. Shut off your brain and put yourself to bed at a reasonable hour every night and feed yourself healthy food (except when it’s time to cheat). Since there’s a plan in place, there’s no need to stress out – go the f*#% to sleep!
Clothes make the woman, so prep your wardrobe and get yourself together. Survey what you own and plan for the upcoming scheduled events. Hey, you’re not going to lose those five pounds. It is what it is, so accept it and dress it. Yes, write this to-do down on your calendar. Thank you.
For Your Kids
Keep them on their regular feeding and sleeping schedule as much as possible. You know you don’t function well after three nights in Las Vegas, so why do you expect your child to be in a good mood after a late night event? Sure, there are times it will be worth it to bend the rules, but choose your moments wisely knowing that if you do there will be some whiny kid backlash.
BE CHOOSY ABOUT THEIR COMMITMENTS
The easiest way to honor your child is to keep a tight rein on birthday party and play date invitations. If your child’s social calendar is already busy you just gotta say NO to new invitations. When your little Johnny says you’re the meanest mom in the world because you won’t let him go to the laser tag party, sympathize with him and make a plan to see his friend in January after life quiets down.
GET THEM OUT OF YOUR HAIR
Set up babysitting swaps with a close mom friend once a week starting in the beginning of December. Here’s how this works: She takes all of your kids for three hours and then you do the same for her another day. Having three uninterrupted hours of time at home without your kids bugging you is the equivalent of 10 hours with them. Text your friend now and get this planned. I promise she will love you forever.
For Your Home
Ok, Candy Spelling, carve out a staging area for all of your holiday stuff. The bags, the wrapping paper, the presents, really anything that you need. Put it in one central spot so you always know where everything is and so your home doesn’t look like a tornado blew through it.
I totally get that you want your home to be a page out of architectural digest. I feel ya. Here’s the thing: You can’t just keep buying holiday tchotchkes as December unfolds. So give yourself a drop dead deadline to finish decorating your home. You should be able to come home, lock your door from our crazy world and relax in your beautiful, twinkly holiday haven, but, if it’s in a constant state of decoration, this is just never going to happen.
Don’t, just don’t. Nobody wants your cookies. There, I said it. I’m sorry, but, it had to be said. If you love the timeless tradition of baking intricately decorated sugar cookies, recognize you are keeping it alive for you. You are staying up all night for you and you alone. We don’t care and are more than willing to eat bakery bought treats. In fact, behind your back we are probably saying that you’re as nuts as your treats. Save your time and go to sleep.
Pick one night a week for your entire family to stay home, eat dinner together early, watch a movie and rest. Choose a night and put a huge X on the date, inform your gang and lock your door. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the morning.
The holidays are a busy time on adrenaline and you just do not have time to clean with a Martha Stewart fine glove. It’s okay! Clean what you can, let the rest go, and then schedule deep cleanings for after the New Year. Hey, you can even write it in your new 2016 planner as your first to-do!
Happy holidays, everyone!
Written by: Eirene Heidelberger is a Chicago-based parent coach and a mom to three boys. Her business, GIT Mom, is dedicated to helping parents Get It Together so they have more time for the activities they most enjoy. When Moms have the right tools to create family balance, they have the freedom to create happy mommy time for themselves. Happy confident moms raise happy confident kids! You can reach her at facebook.com/GIT Mom.
This post was originally published on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad.