Moms Make the Holiday Magic

The holidays are here again.

As a kid, the season seems so magical! The decorations go up overnight, presents appear, and, if you are lucky, you might even wake up to a fun-filled snow day. But those things don’t appear by magic. It’s mom.

This season can bring a sense of dread and anxiety for moms, as we extend ourselves even further to create memories and bring joy to those around us. It’s easy to feel resentment when managing home, work, and now the holidays, especially when your kid is crying that this isn’t the Lego set they wanted, or everyone is overextended from much merry-making (which we likely planned, procured, set up, participated in, took pictures, and cleaned up). It’s enough to make a mom want to hibernate for the winter!

And while there are lots of messages of self-care and taking time for ourselves, what does it mean, really? And who has time to add anything else to our overly full lists?

The definition of self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health” – so we aren’t talking about basic hygiene like showering, brushing our teeth or taking our medicine, things we have to do to survive. Rather self-care includes things that better our health and ourselves.

And don’t we want to be our best selves on the holidays, the generous, forgiving and gracious version of ourselves that is full of light and hope?

Well, here’s how to do it:

1.    Give yourself 10 minutes a day of quiet time. It could be meditation, prayer, a moment over a cup of coffee before everyone wakes up, but give yourself that space to reconnect and remember why the holidays are fun, and why we bother decorating a tree. This quiet moment can allow you to reconnect with yourself, identify any feelings and their cause, help you solve problems, and offers an opportunity to refill your cup, which is especially important if you are getting less sleep, eating heavier meals, and not exercising as often as you would the rest of the year.

2.    Do something you love. This could be getting your nails done, reading a book, or even something larger like learning something new – an item on your to-do lists that excites you and brings you joy outside of the holidays or your responsibilities for others. Finding time, even 10 minutes a day or an hour a week, to bring happiness into your own life provides a well-rounded existence and reminds us that we moms are worth taking care of, too. Maybe it starts small, but leave space for it to grow into something larger, possibly after the holidays. Because you do a lot for others – it’s ok to do a lot for yourself, too.

3.    Do something for someone else, outside of your family unit. Trust me on this, performing an act of good for another person, whether helping your neighbor take their groceries in or volunteering at the soup kitchen will bring you contentment beyond your expectations. And through being generous with our time, we are offering hope that the world is a good place and there are good people in it, which improves health outcomes, including a longer life. And, really – is there a better gift than that?

Research shows taking care of yourself, while good on its own sake, also helps you take care of others better. Similar to what they tell you on airplanes— put on your own mask before assisting others – by taking care of yourself, you will be able to create memorable holidays, steeped in your family’s values and actual joy. Through creating an opportunity for quiet time each day, doing something you love each week and finding ways to help others, you will be able to create happy holidays for yourself, your family, and your community.