After Thanksgiving it seems like the world goes into hyper-drive, sending everyone the same message: make it the best holiday season you can!
As women we hear that message and think exactly what Circle of Moms member Krista E. expresses: “My son is old enough to start to "get" Christmas, so it should be a lot of fun to see him opening his gifts.” We parents love that image and we all want to create a memory filled holiday, even on a budget.
Is All the Work Worth It...to You?
I adore holidays. I always created our family’s version of a Norman Rockwell cover from the Saturday Evening Post. I never minded the work—it was fun.
Wait-REALITY-check: I need to have my head examined. That’s not what really happened, and certainly isn’t what my kids remember. My kids don’t remember the Martha-like decorations, vintage cookies or organic-cook-from-scratch meals. They don’t remember the 150,000 hours it took to produce.
They remember the forts in the living room, reading great Newbery Award winning “chapter” books, indoor marshmallow roasts, movie mornings followed by homemade pancakes... and a cranky, exhausted mom!
When I go to my mind’s photo album of memories I pull up an edited version of the holidays. I see sweet cherub faced angels who had perfect manners in front of the relatives.
Wait-REALITY-check: They were sweet faces, but there were also sad, mad, greedy, frustrated, needy faces, too.
The truth is I wouldn’t change anything I did for the holidays. Except maybe remind myself, before it began, what our family reality really was. In our house the holidays weren’t 100% for the kids, a lot of what I did was for me. And that took lots and lots of time. Time that had to be split between parenting and preparing!
I’d also ask myself a question before I began my shopping “Is all the chaos worth it?” If you feel like I do, that family tradition is made up of the good, the bad, the sweet and the ugly, then read on. If you’re not big on the holidays, then be true to yourself and do what you really want to do. You can see that my kids only remember the quality things we did, not the decorations, baking and cooking.
5 Ways Moms Can Stay Sane During Holiday Prep
This week I have 5 tips to help you parent while preparing. Next week the suggestions are to help mom keep her sanity. And in the last week of this series I'll share tried-and-true tips to help you organize the big day, so you can actually sit down!
1. Take 30-Minute "Me-mornings"
My experience has shown me that mornings are the only time to get some “me” time. Other wise the day begins and something stops it from happening. This is the time for the 30-minute video. No phone or email. Do what refuels you. I know life is busy, but 30 minutes focused just on you is an investment in sanity!
2. Grant the kids two "MOMMEEEEEEE!" tags
During the holidays hearing "Mommeee!" 534 times a day can slow you down. Try giving kids two “Mommy Tags” a day. Each tag means mom has to stop what she’s doing and focus on them for two minutes. Remind them there are only two a day! Ask them, “Do you really want to waste a mommy tag on this? “ You know it won’t stop all 534 times a day they call out for mom, but it can change two of them.
3. Grant the kids two “Get out of bed free” passes
After a long day, you NEED to sit down! Then comes a plea for water, a kiss, or a hug. You don’t want to be mean, but deep inside you’re roaring, “Please leave me alone!” Why not try two “Get out of bed free” passes. Each pass entitles kids to get out of bed twice without getting in trouble! The first day or so they’ll use them in 5 minutes. But after that most kids actually fall asleep thinking about the best time to use them.
4. Banish boredom with a "new" playroom
Think about using your garage as a playroom. Clean and child proof it, and presto! Old paneling or wood screwed to the fronts of shelves keeps little ones out. Painter’s tape on the floor creates bike tracks. Paint or colored electrical tape outlines doors and windows making empty boxes into houses. Lock all poisons, tools, refrigerators, washers and driers up. Take your computer with you while they play, and no more bored!
5. Keep them busy by rotating their toys
Do your kids seem to have no interest in their toys? One reason kids don’t play with their toys is because they’re all available at once. When the kids are asleep, sort the toys into 3 piles and pack away two. Then rotate the toys once a week. It’s like finding new treasures each week.
Those are just a few things that will help you parent while you prepare for the holidays. Enjoy!
Sharon Silver is the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be, and the founder of Proactive Parenting. Her book and site help parents gain more patience by responding instead of reacting as they deal with the whirlwind of emotions created by raising kids ages 1-10. To be notified about the discipline webinar series she’ll be offering next year, sign up for her email newsletter. You can also find Sharon on Twitter and Facebook.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.