Hey Moms! (Moms-t0-be, Mommy-like figures, and anyone else who finds themselves here in my online world) This post will not be (too) long this evening – I promise! For those who do not know, MomDay-Mondays are a monthly series that are solely focused on being a mother and some of the things that I learn along the way (as this is a constant learning experience) and my advice to other mothers who are simply trying to get it “right”. This months’ edition will be focused on the holidays and everything that usually comes with it; while this season is supposed to be filled with joy, love, laughter, and holiday cheer- sometimes it can all just feel like too much. Let’s be completely honest, right? Some of our kids are too young to even remember what this holiday will hold and some of them (like mine) are too young to remember what day of the week it is, – let alone that Christmas is on the way.
Like I mentioned earlier, whether your holidays are defined as a time of joy, family gatherings, “remembering the reason for the season”, or simply all about the kids- one thing we can definitely agree on is that this is also a time for a lot of pressure- unwarranted and unnecessary pressure at that. This pressure does not always mean financial strain (Let me go on record to say I do not know how my parents did it, I can remember my Christmas lists’ always being entirely too long and very expensive- but they always made it happen), which can sometimes pressure me even more to feel obligated to do the same (if not more) for my daughter; and sometimes that pressure is simply defined as overfilled schedules and overbearing and demanding family members. Either way, your holiday spirit can go from blessed to stressed in the blink of an eye- if you let it. As difficult as this may be, you may have to disappoint some people this year during this holiday season. Manage your time the way that you see best, making time for yourself and whats important and scheduling what you can-when you can. Prioritizing is important and essential, whether that is your finances or the use of your time; the mindset that you have during the Christmas will go with you into the New Year – don’t let that mindset be tired, irritable, or stressed out.
But how exactly do I tell my five year old that Christmas is not about gifts? That it is about the celebrated birth of Our Savior Jesus Christ- to be honest I honestly do not know. I mean they are just kids right? Every television show and movie being aired right now is all about Christmas, every commercial is advertising a new toy- there’s no running away from this. But, nothing beats failure but a try. My daughter came home last week to tell me that there was no such thing as Santa Clause and that I am the one that buys her Christmas presents every year0. To be honest, at first I was upset and wondered who on earth would spoil Christmas for my kid- then she told me it was her teacher (who is a Christian by the way) and I had to let her know that she was absolutely right! Her teacher spared me a life lesson down the road and I actually appreciated it, my daughter knew that the gifts she receives come from her family members and she also already knew that sometimes there are things that we can’t afford, and that’s okay. So if your child is old enough to fully understand that Christmas is not only about gifts, try to be intentional this year on really educating them on what this season is about- children are way smarter and reasonable than we want to believe (sometimes even more reasonable than adults), and if you are honest and upfront (in the most age appropriate way possible) enough with them then they will not be (too) unrealistic and hopefully nobody will end up disappointed.
Just to clarify what I said a minute ago, I am not implying that you should ever suck the fun out of Christmas for the children and take away the holiday spirit in your home; I am simply suggesting that you can find other ways to make Christmas special. New traditions, uninterrupted family time, and gifts that fit your budget can make your holiday time an unforgettable one. Growing up my Christmas day consisted of gift opening in the morning, going to an aunts’ house for breakfast, and attending two Christmas parties- every year. As a kid, it was great – I got to spend time with my extended family (and as an only child this was the highlight of my day, after my gifts of course) and not coming home until almost the next day. Before my daughter, it was different and a bit selfish- Christmas was brought in at a club or at a bar. But now, as a mom- I do not want to leave the house at all (still selfish- but just mostly tired). You are allowed to make your Christmas as unique and tailored to your family as you want it to be, it is great to catch up with extended family and enjoy the company of others- but it is also okay to take a break, and make it intimate with your household as well. Christmas is usually the one time of the year that everyone can be home and alone – use it wisely.
So by now you should at least be thinking about how you want to make your holidays a little bit more intimate and personalized for your household by now. Maybe you decided that you will miss out and one Christmas party or spend an extra hour this Christmas morning making a special breakfast- whatever it is I applaud you. During Thanksgiving we all found ourselves being thankful for everything that we could think of, even the things we did not have- however during the Christmas that thought process goes out the window and we start becoming overly stressed over the things that we could not have done in the holiday season. I lost my job right before my daughter celebrated her third Christmas (the Christmas she could finally talk and understood what was going on)- and a part of me went absolutely crazy because there was so much things I wanted to do for her that I couldn’t do in my own strength. Since that Christmas (and every other Christmas since) I have not really have to provide anything, God shows up and He shows up big. If you find yourself being overwhelmed because of the expectations that are usually put on you during this holiday time, think about how much He has come through for you over the course of this year and thank Him in advance for what He will do.
This year let us not forget what we want the true meaning of this holiday to be for us, it is fine if it differs from someone that you know, and it is also okay if it is different from your holiday season last year – just make a special effort to be true to you and the needs of your family. Then if you can, try to be a ‘Christmas Miracle’ to someone else (My daughter had the absolute pleasure of a world-class shopping spree for her birthday about a month ago- she has bought so many new toys that there is no space to contain them nor can she think about one thing new that she possibly wants. So now we’re focused on donating some of the toys that she doesn’t use anymore to kids who aren’t as fortunate; they are never too young to learn how to be a miracle too.), if you are not able to give money or items, volunteering time and a kind-word or deed goes a long way as well; especially because every person that you meet is facing some kind of pressure themselves.
So here is to Monday-MomDay; a monthly motivational blog post dedicated to us moms who are still trying to get it all together. A reminder to you that there are other moms out there that are holding on (but looking great while doing it) to their very last thread and are in need of a refresher (or reminder) that there is no perfect way to parenthood. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @ShanteRosenell and check out the new merchandise that I have available. As well as leave a comment on what you would like to hear about for the next MomDay post in January!