The holiday season is in full swing, and with it the many holiday-related activities and events that are available for us to take part in this time of year.
Many, many, many activities and events.
And in the spirit of being good parents, we often sign on for as many of these things as we can make time for, all in the name of creating a happy and memorable holiday experience for our families.
Cookie exchanges. Taking the kids to visit Santa. Driving the neighborhood light displays. Caroling. Watching all the Christmas specials on TV. Choir concerts. Country Christmas hay rides. Disney on Ice. Craft shows.
Decorating and more decorating.
Work parties. Friends’ parties. Neighbors’ parties. Family parties.
Shopping, wrapping, cooking, driving here and there. And more shopping, wrapping, cooking, and driving here and there.
And don’t get me started on the nightly Elf on the Shelf surprises. 🤦♀️
And while all of these things can be fun, how often do we ask ourselves: do we really need to be doing all of these things, occupying ourselves every way possible and through every experience available to us, in order to enjoy the holiday?
As working moms, we already put ourselves through the ringer the rest of the year trying to achieve the elusive work-life balance. Always feeling like we’re not doing a good enough job at work because of our limited time there.
Then we feel like we’re not doing a good enough job at home raising our kids and keeping the household running due to our time limits there.
So why on earth do we willingly ratchet that up a few notches during the holidays by adding even more demands to our lives?
It’s time to be completely honest with ourselves about our real reasons:
👉 Is it to make our kids happy by fulfilling their every request for holiday fun and excitement?
👉 To try and make up for the guilt that we often feel as working moms?
👉 To make our families or spouses’ families happy that we were front and center when they expected us to be?
👉 To make everyone else in our lives happy?
Maybe you will…but at what cost?
Does running yourself ragged meeting other people’s expectations of the holiday make you happy?
Or does it make you feel tired, anxious, mentally spent, and secretly resentful?
If that answer is yes, it’s time to put the brakes on the holiday madness.
Take an honest assessment of what really makes a great holiday for your family. If it doesn’t pass that assessment, take it off your to-do list. You have my permission.
It’s OK to say no. To select which family activities you’ll plan for and attend based on your own interests, needs, time, and energy.
It’s also OK to say no to certain things even if doing so makes other people unhappy, including your kids or your spouse. (Chances are pretty high they’ll still love you anyway.)
They may say they want to experience as many things as you can possibly make time for over the holiday period. But is that what they need?
What they need is a mom and wife who is rested, centered, and truly present. Who is focused and enjoying what is going on at that moment with her family.
Not on what’s happening next, on what still isn’t decorated or baked or bought or wrapped yet, on who’s expecting your presence somewhere else.
Or on where to move that blasted elf tonight. 😉
I’m not suggesting that creating fun holiday memories and spending time with people important to you isn’t worth the time or effort.
I simply want you to be willing to honestly assess what makes a fulfilling time for your family and for you. (It is Mama’s holiday too!)
Creating holiday fun powered by Mom Guilt is not it.
It’s time to prioritize, and learn to say no.
Saying no can be one of the hardest skills to learn, especially when we’ve always avoided it in order to avoid experiencing guilt. We think that when we say yes to everything we’re being a good mom, spouse, neighbor, colleague, etc.
In reality we’re doing the opposite. Saying yes to things that aren’t our own priorities, to things that we accommodate in our schedules in order to make other people happy with us, is just another way of saying no to ourselves, and to some of our most precious resources: time and energy.
We have to be willing to say no sometimes, to let other people be unhappy with us, in order to allocate our time and energy for things that are aligned with our own priorities. In the end, it will benefit the people in our lives.
Enjoy your holiday! 💙 ❄️
P.S. Head on over to my Facebook page and let me know what you’ll start to say no to this month in order to prioritize your time and energy