I just assumed that all Moms go crazy at Christmastime. That OVERWHELM is the default mental state if you are raising children in December. It never dawned on me that it was an OPTION.
I was out walking my dog, trying to regain sanity while my brain popped like popcorn: “gift for teacher”, “toy for toy drive”, “red shirt for Christmas play”, “marshmallows for class party”, “bake for cookie exchange”, “photos for calendar”, “wrap secret santa gift”, and on and on and on…… I go for a walk to try and calm my brain down enough to figure out how to celebrate my husbands December birthday (can I get a shout out for everyone who has a b’day in their family this month!?!). As I’m walking, I see my neighbor. She is one of those Moms whose house is always clean, who never raises her voice to her kids, never gets frazzled and is the nicest person you will ever meet. But still it’s December, surely she must be challenged this time of year. She asks how am I and I tell the truth, that I am “coo-coo in la cabeza” trying to keep track of all the extra stuff that shows up this time of year. I ask her, “You must be going nuts! You have FIVE kids, three who are homeschooled, you keep a busy social calendar, aren’t you overwhelmed by all the details?” She looked at me quizzically and sweetly said, “Well……I have a lot of lists.”
I started asking around and would you believe, that there are Moms out there who DON’T feel overwhelmed with Christmas craziness? If you are intrigued by this phenomena like I am, keep reading to hack your Christmas and learn their secrets for staying calm and organized in December.
But first, you’ll want to figure out what thoughts were causing the overwhelm to start with. Before you can bring in a new way of doing things, you’ve got to take a look at the old, because that’s what kept you there in the first place. The thoughts that were keeping me stuck in The Land of Crazy were: 1. “This is a crazy time of year.” 2.”I don’t want to make a big deal out of Christmas.” 3. “I want to relax.” and 4. “I do all the work and nobody appreciates it.”
What I learned from talking with these organized, calm Supermoms is: 1. Crazy is optional. 2. Christmas IS a big deal when you are a Mom and pretending it isn’t causes me to procrastinate and create last minute stress. 3. Wanting to relax while my to-do list has tripled, is like trying to relax your way into the world series of motherhood. It’s not a match. I need to save relaxation for the 26th of December and connect to other values like excitement and accomplishment. 4. This “I do all the work and no one appreciates it” was really interesting for me. I realized that my kids excitement and appreciation had been my motivation in the past. Now that they were older and less enthusiastic, I wasn’t getting the same rewards but I was still doing all the work. It didn’t dawn on me to change Christmas to make it more fun for ME, it had always been about the kids.
If you have discovered the beliefs that have kept you in The Land of Crazy, and you feel ready to make a change, take a look at what keeps these Moms organized and calm throughout the holiday and see if anything inspires you.
They plan ahead –
“We take a family vacation every August so during that trip, I make sure to get a good photo to use for Christmas cards. Before I even unpack from the trip, I’ve ordered those Christmas cards, and any other photo related gifts, calendars, etc. The cards are addressed before my kids are back in school.”
“The day after Halloween, I take out my calendar and make a schedule for Nov-Dec. I decide when I’m going to decorate the house, buy the tree, shop for gifts, bake, wrap, host our party, etc. It’s all planned out ahead of time so I know I will get it all done and there is no need to stress.”
“We use our cash back rewards program to fund our extra spending in December. We know we’ll be spending more that month, so we save it up during the year knowing it’s there to pay for our extras.”
“I shop for people all through the year. Whenever I see something, I buy it and put in my Christmas box. That way the money gets spread out through the year as well as the time.”
They write it down –
“I have a spreadsheet with all the people I’m buying gifts for and I fill it in as I shop: the gift, the amount, when & where I buy it, etc. I keep it, and all gift receipts, together in a file and use it for reference the next year.”
“I have my kids go on Amazon and make wish lists. When family members ask me for ideas, I just send them a link. I write down what I’ve ordered, what I’ve delegated to others, and when things should arrive, so I can follow up if shipments are running late.”
They do what works for them –
“I found it works better if we leave town for Christmas. I buy all the presents online and ship them to my Mom’s house where we will be on Christmas Day. She wraps everything for me so it’s all set to go when we arrive there.”
“We go to mass on Christmas Eve, then go out for Chinese food dinner. Not cooking or doing dishes is my favorite gift.”
“We stay in our pajamas all day on Christmas. We invite our family over with the expectation that bathrobes and slippers are the dress code. They haven’t joined in yet, but they have adjusted to our casual attire.”
Got more tips for staying sane in the land of crazy at Christmas time? I’d love to hear them! Type below or post on my facebook page.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net