As we head into the Holidays, most moms start to feel their stress level rising. In spite of our best efforts, we somehow tend to get caught up in “perfect mom syndrome” and the desire to give our families the perfect holiday experience is so strong that it usually wins out over our desire to simplify the season.
I am a pretty laid back person, UNTIL it’s time for me to give a party and then I go into overdrive. I clean like a mad woman, I decorate every nook and cranny, and I cook every recipe that catches my eye on Pinterest.
I try to calm down, I really do. But, it just seems wrong somehow. Giving parties and gathering people together is my love language. And, because I REALLY love my guests, the physical manifestation of that becomes fancy foods, homemade decorations, a sparkling house, games and activities, take home treat bags, etc. etc. etc.
For years my family has begged me to let some of it go. They think it is hilarious to yell, “Oh, no, Mom is giving a party, run for your life!” They will tell you that I get rather … cranky. They are right. Usually I am ready to implode by the time the day of the party arrives. That is when I realize I’ve bitten off WAY more than I can chew. But, letting go of any of it makes me feel like I’m not giving my guests the love they deserve. And, that makes me very, very sad.
This year our family has been through a lot. A LOT. And, I am tired. I am tired physically and emotionally. I am finally learning that this is sometimes the way God gets my attention. It is in this exhausted state that I am most open to hearing his voice.
So, before I get a second wind and fail to internalize the lessons I’ve learned, I am sharing them with you in case any of you struggle with the same issues.
Here is what I am learning (hopefully):
- Stay away from Pinterest! I love Pinterest, I really do. But, if you want to find some peace, stay away from it. Trust me on this. You will suddenly find yourself NEEDING to do things you didn’t even know existed until you saw them pinned on a stranger’s board.
- Your house doesn’t have to be perfect. Seriously, you are the only one that cares if your house is clean. Have one of the kids vacuum, dust a few things, and then stuff everything in closets and drawers (that’s what they’re made for!).
- Keep your décor simple. If you look at pictures of professionally decorated houses you will notice that they have one or two seasonal pieces set out and that’s it. Their houses do not look like a craft store exploded in them.
- Buy your food. All of it! For a recent party, I made an early morning Costco trip and bought veggie trays, meat and cheese trays, and rolls, etc. No one complained, everyone had plenty to eat, and my kitchen stayed clean!
- Always potluck. It’s way more fun to eat other people’s food and it is ridiculous for you to try and do it all yourself (I know this firsthand).
- If gifts are involved in your get-together, shop local. Avoid the malls at all costs. MALLS = STRESS! Support the small locally owned shops in your town and avoid the high traffic areas. That’s a win-win for everyone.
Check back with me after the Holidays to see if I’ve taken my own advice. I really want to do this. I really NEED to do this. We’ll compare notes in January and see who was able to enjoy a saner, more peaceful Christmas. And please, share your tips! We moms need to stick together.