As a lot of women do, I am used to piling it all on my plate and just dealing with it. However I was having one of those parenting moments that I thought it would be helpful to walk the kids through the emotions I was experiencing.
And I’m so glad I did. Immediately both Hailey and Kaitlyn hopped into action on ways they could help. I’ll admit, some of those first ideas made me feel more stress: We’ll cook you something from my cookbook! -Kaitlyn We’ll give you a spa day massage; go get in the bath! -Hailey. Both super sweet but, no.
They did convince me to let them handle breakfast and quite honestly, I was impressed. Given I already had potato and roasted veggie hash in the fridge that I had made the day before, but they pan fried it, added an egg, and most importantly, got along while doing it.
Just their gesture and willingness to take something off my plate by cooking something to put on it melted the Grinchiness out of my heart. Sure, I still had a long list of things to knock out, but I felt in a better mindset to take it on. After all…
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
The quote from one of my favorite books might be a little deep for this Christmas to do list scenario, but it still rings true. I could do what I needed to do in a stressed out way, or I could choose to go about it with peace. I choose peace.
It got me thinking about ways I can bring the most joy to this season, not only for David and the kids, but for me to experience as well. So I’ve laid out some ground rules for myself to abide by over the next 26 days:
Say yes to help.
This should be a year round rule, right? But I’m practicing on using it more. Letting the kids make breakfast or asking them to put things away. Saying yes when someone asks if they can bring a snack to share to a get together we’re hosting. Little things that my usual self wants to say “oh no, I can handle it” to; instead, practicing saying “that would be wonderful; thank you!”
Nature doesn’t rush and I think that’s my favorite thing about it. Lucky for me, Finley is forcing us to all be outside more and it’s amazing how just stepping out of my house into the backyard feels immediately calming.
Embrace the clutter.
This is a really hard one for me. Not that I’m a neat freak, but having things in order makes me feel more peaceful and more able to relax. However, it’s borderline being that I am unable to relax unless things are perfect, and I don’t want it to be that way.
Yes, things will be in place and all shined up by the time we have friends over on Friday, but the season of life I am in means that a lot of the time there are going to be art project remnants on the table and coats thrown onto chairs and Spanish homework on the coffee table (just looking around my living room as I type this…).
I’m trying (it takes a lot of effort sometimes) to see the beauty in that and remind myself that the kids don’t need a perfectly clean home to feel the holiday magic. So I’ll choose to see the joy through the unfinished village and the coziness through chaos.
Embracing the traditions that serve us and releasing the ones that don’t.
Our team style family gift exchange? Definite keep; we love that. Seeing Santa? Maybe not. Driving around the local neighborhoods to look at lights with hot chocolate? Immediately yes. Driving an hour away to see a light display? Possibly skipping that.
Deciding what traditions mean the most to you is important, but releasing the ones that don’t is just as vital.
And last but not least…
Knocking out the Christmas gifts.
Maybe you love the thrill of the last minute hustle and bustle, but as of yesterday (thank you local boutiques for your flash sales and Cyber Monday for the savings) I’m 90% done with all my Christmas shopping. And that feels freaking fantastic.
Share with me… how to you keep the calm during this jolly but busy time of year? What traditions are your favorite? Which ones do you happily skip?