I have incredible memories of the holidays growing up. I remember sleeping with my cousins in my grandma’s bed, listening for reindeer on her roof, waking up my brothers so we could all run downstairs at the same time to see our gifts, great meals, and time together with family.
Now, as a mother, I remember some other things about the holidays: my own mom up hours before anyone else, always in the kitchen and sitting down last to eat.
Why do moms carry so much pressure during these magical moments? This actually seems obvious: we want it to be perfect. This year is my daughter’s second Christmas. My mother-in-law will be in town (for weeks) to meet Frankie for the first time and I will be juggling my own large family in town as well as working full-time most days. How can I make sure to be present and enjoy these beautiful days with my little girl and family?
I don’t have tips for managing this stress (I'm still working on it), beyond giving yourself a little grace. These are the things I have committed to before the messy, festive, joy-filled days begin:
Do I want a gorgeous homemade meal simmering on the stove every night this December? Yes. The reality is, I need to feed a house-full after I get off work and before my baby’s bedtime. That means pre-made meals are on the menu. Costco is the real hero here - I love their Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken Taco kit, Scalloped Potatoes, Mac and Cheese, Salmon with pesto butter, and salad kits. I’ll also make lasagna beforehand to freeze, and I'm planning on doing takeout and pizza a few nights. No, this isn’t what my Christmas dreams are made of, but I know a LOT of my stress revolves around feeding everyone and I won’t be able to handle figuring out dinner each night by 5pm.
Early (and Online) Christmas Shopping
Okay, if you didn’t do this it’s a little late now, but I made sure to have all my shopping done before December. I will NOT be going to the mall this year. I’m just saying “no.”
Giving Myself Space
I work from home and we will have our company at our house during the day. I’ve already planned on working elsewhere most days so I can completely separate hosting, house tasks, and my work. Another way I will be respecting this is going to bed early (most nights) – this is hard because I don’t want to miss anything, but I know I am my best when I get rest.
Remember: These Days are Fleeting
Are we driving 7 hours each way with my 1 year old to see my grandmother for one night and will I be tired? Yes. Will we have this opportunity again? I don’t know. Will my daughter always want me to hold her while I try to make dinner? No. Will she always look at our decorated tree like it’s the most amazing thing she has ever seen? Probably not. I want to soak this all up. Every ounce I can.
What are your best tips for managing this holiday stress and chaos?