My eyelids weigh 1,000 pounds, and my head is weary with tension and headache. The dishes need to be unloaded, laundry put away, Christmas cards addressed, and garbage collected and taken out. The songs on the radio keep telling me it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but unfortunately the weight of holiday stress and life is once again overwhelming. What is it about Christmas that seems to turn everything to crap every year? Last year it was our prozac cat that was the nightmare before Christmas, and this year it’s super sonic sickness.
With my husband on the road, inevitably everything fell apart; we had a bug infestation in our home, our oldest had pink eye and bronchitis, the littlest had a bad cold, and I of course have a broken toe and caught their cough.
To make matters worse our three year who old just started preschool in December, has decided she totally and completely hates it. She only wants mommy, throws fits for hours all day wanting to be held, and has horrific separation anxiety when I have to work. I have zero time for me when he’s on these road trips, as keeping up with the housework and piles of school papers is ridiculously time consuming. And sleep….what’s that? But like every mother on earth, no matter how totally things fall apart…we still have to hold it together.
Of course it’s not always like this, and parenting like life is a series of ebbs and flows. But sometimes motherhood just plain sucks.And as the light is now appearing at the end of this abysmal tunnel, here are a few things I’ve learned over the past years (and weeks!) to help get through the tougher times. Especially during the holidays when we are trying to capture the magic and make everything memorable.
1. Simplify Christmas – Yep, you heard me. I’m taking a page from my hubby’s playbook and lowering expectations once again this year. Less gifts, less baking, less time cooking, and more time with family. And if the Christmas cards don’t get out until after the holidays…oh well! It’s the thought that counts…right?!
2. Forget Housework – It’s the hardest thing in the world, especially for me, but sometimes you just have to slack. As long as everyone is clothed, fed, alive and happy, then you’ve succeeded.
3. Do Something Unexpected – When everyone and everything is in a funk it’s time to have some fun! Have a dance party, go play outside as a family, take a bubble bath in your clothes, or throw an impromptu tea party complete with the fancy china just because. Desperate times call for desperate measures! And don’t underestimate the importance of a little Vitamin D and fresh air.
4. Exercise – When life is overwhelming, chances are you don’t want to or have time to work out. But even with my banged up toe and cold I’ve found a way to get a little cardio in with the kiddos. It’s a great stress buster and makes you feel instantly peppier.
5. Take a Break – If you have friends, family or a sitter, take a break. Even if it’s a quick pedicure, or trip to Costco solo, any little break from the kids will help recharge and give you the strength to power through.
6. Practice Gratitude – No matter how how tired I am, or how hopeless the day appears, I always try to find something to be thankful for. We are so lucky to be parents, and I know in just a few short years they won’t need me as much anymore.
And if none of those help you, crack open that bottle of Pinot and indulge! It’s the little things that make life easier, and sometimes a little pick me up is just what the doctor ordered. Or chocolate is good too…or cupcakes…(you see where this is going…)
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
Sorry to hear you have illness going around in your neck of the woods.
I have two sick kiddos as well. My youngest has taken to crying every time she coughs at night… so we’re waking up at least a dozen times a night. Fun times!
I think your tip to lower expectations is huge. I was starting to feel down because once again our family is sick for Christmas and we’re not having the “ideal” holiday. However, I realized it was MY expectations that was making it less than ideal. We can have a GREAT Christmas even if everyone is sick… it’s all about mindset.
Thanks for sharing.
Wishing everyone quick healing and love.
so true! It’s taken me over a decade to learn to do this, but less expectations = less disappointment. Merry Christmas!
I’m sorry to hear that everyone is sick and your world is a icky right now. I totally agree with you and letting go of housework. It’s pretty freeing to not spend all that time cleaning and tidying up, only for it to get messy again within hours. I laugh at how my house often looks like a tornado came though it, but I’ve given myself several hours back to enjoy life with my family. Plus, I try and make it a Sunday or Monday night ritual that we all do it together. Happy Holidays.
yes us too! We spend Sunday Funday as a family (except when I have to work) and enjoy less TV and more books at bedtime. It’s made a huge difference!
This is such great advice, but sometimes it’s hard to take your own advice. For the sake of your sanity, your health, and your kids, I really encourage you to slow down. I know it’s hard to do, but I also know you won’t regret it. Thinking of you, praying for you, love to you! (And you know I’m always around if you need anything!)
Sorry to hear you’ve been going through all that. Sometimes it feels like everything hits at once! I hope things settle down soon!
Carrie This Home says
Lately I’ve had several episodes of what I call “Mommy fits” where I get so frustrated with life and throw a fit. Like a two year old. Nice example for my kids, right?
I spent some time just sitting back and watching the kids and enjoying them and the fact that I am so blessed to be a mother, even despite all of the crazy things that go on. Thank you for this reminder to make things more simple and just enjoy those little blessings we call our kids!
I feel some of your pain as I sit here and listen to my kids bicker and stare at my recently recent phone that I have to completely re-set up. There is an overflowing basket of laundry that needs to be folded and breakfast that needs to be cooked, even though it is already after 10am. I guess it will be brunch, LOL. Happy Holidays, my friend! We’ll pull through!
Amanda @ Queenofthelandoftwigsnberries says
This post was so wonderful. I might indeed be your doppleganger (no energy to spell check right now–damn flu!) and am doing so many of the simplifying steps that you write about in your post. Our holiday cards will get out by Valentine’s Day, store bought macaroons are cuter than any cookie I can bake myself, and bubble baths will reign.
Valentines cards truly are all the rage. Feel better – and feel free to send some macaroons! xo
I feel your pain. December is always nuts around here too (I just wrote a post about it yesterday)! We always manage to get sick this time of year, and add that to the craziness of Christmas and you have a recipe for disaster! I keep waiting for the “joy” of Christmas to come back, but instead each year it seems to get even harder!? Well at least I know I am not alone on this crazy train 😉
Hi from SITS Sharefest! I’m sorry you all have been sick. We’ve been dealing with the same issue.
This post was timely as my husband is working this weekend and I’m listening to my oldest throw a tantrum. I’d crack open a bottle of wine, but I’ve settled for coffee instead 🙂
coffee sounds like heaven! We are all in this together…cheers to nutty holidays!
Aubrey @ 53 Weeks says
Love this post! We all experience stress at some level during the holidays!! I feel ya sister and I especially LOVE the pinot, chocolate, cupcakes idea at the end…haha!!
I so agree. We all need a break now and again. I turn to books when I need a break.
Sorry to hear this is a tough time for you. I love your gratitude suggestion on your list!
This really is a tough time of year for us Moms, so many expectations! I find a lot of them I put on myself 🙂
My kids don’t mind if there are no sugar cookies, ice cream will work. Or if only half thew decorations go up at least I got the tree up, right?
Hope everyone gets to feeling better soon!
Ugh, I am so sorry.
On Thursday, Cassidy was very sick but had to work late. Des was better.. I thought.. until he threw up five times in one hour! (I’m vomit-phobic, legit)
Scarlet was coughing with a cold. We were all sleep-deprived. Stuff had to be done.
It can be very hard.
I love the tips on turning it around.
I think Christmas is overrated. it’s just as any other family Sunday, with lights and shiny decorations all over the house. We eat and drink all year long. We have other opportunities of mmeting with our families even if it’s not Christmas! I never understood all this fuss and anxiety about these days! I hope you all feel better soon and enjoy your family!
Ugh I’m so sorry you’ve had such a terrible pre-season! I think we can all relate to moments of stress and joy during the holidays – like the world’s worst see-saw. I think you’ve got some great coping tips up there and if I had to add any, it would be to do something charitable as a family….
I know, I know, adding more plans and “to-do’s” doesn’t seem like it would help, but hear me out –
One of the hardest things for me to keep during the holidays is perspective. Just like you said – showing gratuity is key. My kiddo and I had the privilege of doing way more charity stuff together this year than we ever have before – Feed My Starving Children, Operation North Pole, the Angel Tree – they were all truly incredible, eye-opening experiences I was able to share with my big girl. Seeing terminally ill kids on a train ride will definitely make you feel better about the stresses in your life – at least it works for me, the Queen of Stressing Out. The added bonus? You’re giving life and love and happiness to someone else. Pretty much a win-win situation!
Merry Christmas my love 🙂 I hope you truly have a wonderful, relaxing day. Soak it up!
Yes! We adopted a family this year and did a TON of donations! I wrote a post on it for BUNDOO. Happy Holidays and thanks for your kind words!
here here. i choose to sing: “it’s the most over-whelming tiiiiiiime of the year” but this too will pass! 😉
It is the worst transitioning a little one to a new daycare, school, sitter… etc. Mila took FOREVER to get used to her daycare.. and she still has her bad days, and she started in October! The new year is right around the corner.. you are almost to the holiday finish line! You can do it! 😉
That’s actually really good to hear, because we are super struggling with this transition. Merry Christmas!
Hugs to you!!!! Sickness on top of solo-parenting stinks – it’s just not easy! I am a BIG FAN of lowering standards and expectations! My baseboards get cleaned when my mother in law comes to town and does it her darn self! I cannot be bothered with those things!
Stay strong mama – and drink some wine! I wrapped Christmas presents in the closet last night… it was quiet and peaceful. I may just move in the closet – it was a great spot!
I hope everyone is on the mend!
That sounds like heaven! We should form a Miami Moms Wine Club in the Closet! lol!
So well written and so true!
Thanks for visiting my blog and have a merry,peaceful and relaxing Christmas ! 🙂
Thank you and Merry Christmas!