My kids always keep me humble. Recently, I had this conversation with Vivienne.
Vivi: Mom, are you super?
Me: Yeah, maybe I’m supergirl!
Vivi: No, you’re not.
Me: Okay, well maybe I’m supermom?
Vivi: Um. No. You’re not. Nobody’s super.
Gee, thanks, three-year old…
I don’t know about you, but this time between Halloween and New Year’s can get extremely hectic. Things often swirl out of control and I certainly don’t feel like a superhero. So far this season, in addition to my kids’ extracurricular activities like basketball and soccer, we have also had a Thanksgiving brunch at one preschool (which required my bringing an appetizer) and a Thanksgiving lunch at another preschool. We also recently traveled thirteen hours to spend time with both my family and my husband’s family. Thirteen hours in the car – there is nothing super about that…
With this time of year also comes a variety of other activities such as work Christmas parties, festivities at all three kids’ schools, parties at church and with friends, Christmas shopping (which I haven’t started), baking, and school projects for all the kids. (Side note: Why do teachers like to pile on the projects during the busiest season of the year, anyway? Don’t they realize that I can’t fit one more thing on my plate?)
Add the fact that the hubby is deploying in a week and it’s enough to drive me insane.
As I reflect on my ever-growing to-do list, I remind myself that this season is meant to be enjoyed and treasured. But it is certainly easy to forget that when I’m running around like a lunatic.
Here are 4 ways I’ve found to savor this holiday season, even amid the chaos: (And by the way, as I was typing this, Peter walked by, read the title of this post, and giggled. Our house is nothing if it’s not chaotic.)
- Slow down. It is easy to find ourselves in a frenzy during this time of year. It’s not called “the hustle and bustle of the holiday season” for nothing. But even during this busy time, we can take a few moments each day to slow down and savor the season. Can you find fifteen minutes during your day to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee? Or maybe you can put your children to bed a little earlier one night (Ha!) and turn on your favorite Christmas movie. It is important to take time and consider what this season truly means. Spending a few minutes each day to reflect and rejuvenate ourselves will help us be better moms during this frenzied season.
- Learn to say no. Many different opportunities will be presented to you this holiday season. Maybe you’ve been asked to bring a home-made treat to your child’s class gathering. Perhaps you’ve received six Christmas party invitations. Maybe you’re being pulled in five different directions from extended family. I want to tell you something: it is okay to say no. When we overextend ourselves, our family suffers. So instead of spending hours baking treats for the class celebration, run to the local bakery and pick something up. Instead of attending all six Christmas parties, pick three that you really want to attend and decline the rest. Instead of trying to spend time with all of your extended family, prioritize who to spend time with this season and plan to visit the rest over the next few months when life slows down a little. When we learn to say no without feelings of guilt, we are free to move on to the third way to savor the season.
- Say yes to your family. Let’s face it: this time of year is busy and it is often difficult to respond affirmatively to all that your children want to do. But when we decide to say yes to our family, we create memories that last a lifetime. And our yeses don’t have to be expensive. Some of our favorite activities include piling into the car in our pajamas and driving around to look at Christmas lights. And a new favorite is making s’mores in the backyard. Be intentional about saying yes to fun activities that your children or spouse request. You won’t regret it.
- Be thankful. This week is Thanksgiving. A time when most people contemplate all the things they are thankful for. All throughout the month of November, Facebook has been blowing up with daily posts by friends listing their blessings. But we shouldn’t only express thankfulness in November. We should be grateful every day. As this season becomes more hectic, grab a piece of paper and take time each day to write down one or two things you are thankful for. Then post it somewhere that you can see it. Maybe on your bathroom mirror or the front of your fridge. Then when things feel out of control, your kids are screaming about the latest toy that they need, or you are too exhausted to think about all that is waiting for you to take care of, take a look at your list. A thankful heart leads to a more joyful heart.
We don’t have to be supermom in order to savor the season that is upon us. I challenge you to try some of these suggestions and see if they work for you. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!