Every year around the holidays, moms all around the world feel pressure to make them memorable for their families. Being a mom is a job in itself, but trying to avoid stress during the holidays can feel like a second job on top of that. To avoid the busyness of Black Friday, we start shopping after Halloween. Before Thanksgiving, we organize festive activities for the holiday season. We purchase tickets to Christmas plays, schedule ice-skating, and send out invitations for get togethers. In the midst of “giving joy,” aspects of the holidays can seem overwhelming, and taking care of everything and everyone would leave anyone weary.
As mothers, it can be challenging to balance self-care and family responsibilities, but research suggests there may be a psychological downside to always taking care of others, even family members. In fact, according to a recent study, just like business professionals and first responders, mothers can face burnout.
Burnout can affect one’s emotional and physical well-being, causing feelings of inadequacy, resentment and detachment from family and work life. So how can we work on self-care during the craziness of the holidays? Here's a few things we learned this year.
Ask for help!
This is something that seems like a no brainer, but it’s more often easier said than done. Moms are notoriously terrible at asking for help, and we think it’s important to remind each other that it really is OK to do. Moms are pros at anticipating others needs ahead of time, borderline mind-readers, but you can’t expect others to have the same mama bear instincts that you do.
Try to bypass the frustration of getting overwhelmed doing everything by yourself by delegating tasks before things feel like they’re getting out of hand. Reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to coordinate child-care swaps, give yourself extra time to wrap gifts so you can have a little fun with ribbon, and avoid endless hours of cooking by turning Christmas dinner into a potluck.
In the midst of the holiday chaos, it’s easy to overlook how stress affects not only you, mom, but the kiddos as well. Getting distracted, running around frantically and neglecting self-care can communicate to kids that celebrations are burdensome and make us miserable.
Don’t feel guilty for setting limits around how much you do and spend during the season. You may feel like Scrooge for saying no, but believe us, your kid isn’t going to remember that random bounce house party they didn’t get to go to when they were nine. Cut yourself some slack! Let go of holiday outcomes by adopting a mindful mind-set. Focus on moment-to-moment awareness instead of creating far-fetched expectations for your festivities.
Let it go.
Did you sing the song in your head? We did, and we’re going to keep singing it all season long. One of the most important things during not only the holidays, but all year long, is to be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up for things you didn’t do, or that didn’t go exactly as planned. Having kids means having multiple factors your of your control that determine when you’re going to arrive at events and in what state you are when you get there. You might be late, Timmy’s outfit might have juice on it, your table setting might not look perfectly Pinterest worthy, but it’s all going to be OK.
You gotta let it go because you can’t control everything that’s happening and in the end there is nothing you can do to change the minds of people who may be wrongly judging you. Remember, the mom in E.T. had an alien living in her basement for days before she realized it. Nobody is perfect, and at Renaissance Mom Co., we truly believe that there are a lot more moms out there that understand your struggles than not. Life happens and for better or for worse, we all have to make the best of it. January 2nd will be here soon enough and we’ll all be back to our normal routines in no time. Enjoy what you can and let the rest go.
The best gift we can give our children is our presence.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everybody. Let's go into 2020 with a promise to be kinder to ourselves, to be more present, and to practice self-care more.