This is one of the busiest times of the year for many families; full of fun, magic, surprises, memory making, traditions, and holiday must-haves. With this being said, it is also a very stressful, worrisome, anxious, and exhausting time of year. At least it can be for me and I know I cannot be in this alone. Life is naturally very busy, demanding, and overwhelming at times, then adding the holidays to the mix brings it to a whole different level.
Since Thanksgiving, I have slowly started to freak out due to all the expectations, demands, wants, needs, desires, and the worry that comes with the season. The holidays are supposed to be a time that is magical, special, fun with family and friends, and all about creating lifelong memories and traditions together. With all of the demands, it is very easy to lose sight of what the holidays are truly about.
I have been guilty of falling into this rabbit hole of expectations and wants that I am left annoyed. “Buy me this, buy me that.” Grrrrr. Me being the person I am, I want to do all those things, I truly do, but it is not realistic. I would find myself overwhelmed, short tempered, and quite frankly just irritated over it all. I had to take a step back and look in the mirror and think, “What are you doing to yourself? Are you happy?” Truth is, I was not. I was straight-up EXHAUSTED. Trying to do all, be all, buy all, make all, was wearing me down. Too much pressure I would put on myself, year after year; holiday after holiday. This is NOT what the holidays are supposed to be about. They are “supposed” to be all joy, all day, everyday.
We moms are supposed to have it all together: We make everything perfect, special, magical. We do for the most part, but we are allowed to stop, reflect, and change if doing it “all” is taking away your holiday spirit. If we’re annoyed and frustrated and the season is killing our holiday joy then we need to fix things ASAP.
My thoughts are: Keep the holidays as simple as possible. Limit the spending, limit the STUFF. Limit your stress. Limit your to-do list. You do not have to go see every light display in the Metroplex. Just do your part and what you can to make the holidays a special time for your family. Remember you, the magic maker, the keeper of all traditions, the doer of everything that the kids remember; your happiness does matter.
By keeping our holidays simple, I find myself happier. It is very easy to get overwhelmed, over worked, over tired, over spending. Do you want your children to remember the holidays with a crazed, stressed, irritable mom? Or would you rather them remember you laughing, “relaxing”, smiling, engaged with them during the holidays?
What do you remember about your own childhood holidays? What was special? We put a lot of stress on ourselves for perfection. Perfect decorations, perfect photos, perfect gifts, perfect children, perfect life. This is far from realistic. Striving for this unrealistic perfection expectation will make you miserable and you will never reach that level of perfection. So stop. Do all of us moms a favor and STOP.
How We Simplify the Holidays:
- Limiting our spending
- Picking a few fun holiday adventures to enjoy as a family
- Decorating one gingerbread house
- Making one batch of holiday cookies
Keep things in perspective. Sounds cliché, but for real, remember the reason for the season. Buying and spending money is a natural part of the season; but maxing out credit cards, worrying about finances because you overspent, then becoming irritable with family and friends, is not worth it. The season should be more about giving rather than getting. This is a hard concept for some but a necessary one to learn and live by.
Remember what is truly important this holiday season. If it does not bring you joy and warm fuzzy feelings inside, then let it go. If it overwhelms you, financially puts you in a bind, makes you negative, depressed, or disconnected, then stop. Your children do not need perfection. They want a happy holiday, with toys, yes, but they want the memories, the connection, the togetherness. This is truly what the holidays are about.