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Finding Joy in the Chaos: Navigating the Holidays as a Mom

To all my fellow moms, the holiday season is here, and you know what that means — cue the festive chaos! For most, it’s a season of warmth, togetherness, and holiday fun. But for moms like me, it’s a juggling act. It’s about finding the balance between chaos and joy, which feels more like a tightrope walk if I’m being honest. I’m here to share my story of navigating the most magical — and slightly hectic — season of the year as a mom. 

Before delving into the details, let's begin by overviewing what December typically entails for a mom. Initially, there are school-related commitments, such as Christmas performances requiring coordinated outfits, classroom celebrations, and the thoughtful preparation of gifts for teachers. Then, you must transform your home to look like a Christmas wonderland. You have to shop, cook, and bake the perfect holiday meals. We also take on the role of buying presents and wrapping them with precision, all while managing a budget. We carry out our family traditions and maybe create a new one here and there. Then there’s the Elf on the Shelf, where we constantly have to brainstorm new locations to move the Elf each day, not to mention staying up late nightly to orchestrate the moves. The tasks seem endless: organizing family photos, mailing out holiday cards, hosting get-togethers, participating in community events, and the list goes on and on. Amongst it all, it's essential to find moments of joy and embrace the real meaning of the season, spending quality time together. As a mom to two young children, here is what I’ve learned over the years:

1. Embrace Imperfections

Striving for the perfect holiday often leads to stress and disappointment. We need to let go of the idea that everything has to be flawless. Whether it's a ham that's been slightly overcooked, kids with spills on their clothes, or a last-minute change in plans, it's important to acknowledge that imperfections are a part of life. No one is going to pay attention to these things other than you. In fact, it usually makes for the most memorable moments and a good laugh!

2. Prioritize Self-Care

Don’t put your needs on the back burner. Take time for yourself, whether it's treating yourself to a relaxing facial, attending a yoga class, or maybe ordering the yummiest cocktail at dinner. By doing this, you'll be better equipped to handle the stress Christmas brings and bring positive energy to your family. No one likes a sassy and tired mama. 

3. Just say NO

Understand that you can't do it all, and that's perfectly okay. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your family. Focus on the things that truly matter and the things you want to be a part of. There is no sense in saying yes to everything and every event. JUST SAY NO! It’s okay, life will go on without your family attending every Christmas event. 

4. Create Traditions

Now, these are not meant to be extravagant and add more to your plate; these can be simple things such as baking cookies together, watching a favorite holiday movie, or volunteering as a family. These traditions not only create memories but also provide a sense of routine and comfort, especially for the little ones who thrive on structure. 

5. Delegate

You don't have to do everything on your own. Delegate tasks to other family members or enlist the help of friends. I speak for most moms when I say it takes a village to raise kids, not to mention the additional responsibilities of the holidays. Statistics show that grandparents love to help. I’ve recruited my mom to help wrap all my gifts this year! She loves that I still rely on her, and it allows her to add her personal touch to the grandkids’ presents. Remember, asking for help and sharing the responsibilities is okay; you can’t do it all.

Navigating through the holiday season as a mom is pure chaos, but it can be done. Embrace imperfections, prioritize self-care, say no, create traditions, and delegate tasks. Approaching the holiday season with a mindset of flexibility rather than running yourself to the ground will allow you to enjoy all the little things the month brings. Remember, the true magic of the holidays lies within the love of a family!

~ Katie Reynosa