Working Mom Christmas Challenges
Christmas can be such a lovely time. . .in theory.
To be honest, I work really, really hard to make Christmas special for my family.
But, between church, and work, and school concerts, it is all too easy to lose the spark.
I’m closing in on my fifth year of this working mom adventure. Some things are getting easier, and some things never really will.
However, I’ve found that there are some things that have really worked to keep stress (and work) from taking over my holidays.
- I watch the calendar. My busiest time at work culminates with a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. We keep our Thanksgiving celebrations traditional and low-key, and I don’t even really THINK about Christmas until the week after Thanksgiving. (I also work on Black Friday, but I make up for that on Cyber Monday) which takes me to my next point:
- I shop online. I am a huge fan of shopping locally and supporting small businesses. However, for Christmas shopping, I am unapologetically Amazon Prime Mom. I don’t have time to fight crowds at the mall, find parking downtown or wait for the best sale. Sometimes I pay more, sometimes less, but all of my packages are delivered securely to my office. I then spend my lunchtime the week before Christmas wrapping gifts.
- I minimize while maximizing. I *know* that I cannot do it all. I couldn’t before I worked outside the home, I certainly cannot do it now. So I look at all of the potential holiday events and then prioritize. I take our family calendar and start with scheduling in church services and activities. There are midweek Advent services, Sunday worship, choir practices and parties. (Thankfully our church reserves the children’s program for Epiphany!) I then schedule in school events–concerts, parties, and, in our family, swim meets. What is left is when we schedule our family events. We have no extended family locally, so that simplifies things somewhat. We do what we like, within our little household of 8.
- I cut corners.Today, the day before Christmas Eve, I baked with my little girls. OK, so I made peanut blossoms starting with peanut butter cookie dough in a tube and made chocolate chip cookies with dough sold by the tub. BUT I also made Christmas Crack from scratch. . .sort of. The truth is, my kids don’t really care if the cookies are from scratch–they care that there are cookies. My girls are happy to work by my side in the kitchen and are glad to skip right to the fun part–rolling the dough!
- I sneak in random days off. I hoard my personal time off. In December I squander it. One of the twins was sick earlier in the month and I jumped at the chance to stay home with her. I had a few tasks to do for work, so I technically worked from home, BUT I also caught up with laundry, cooked up an awesome soup and sorted through Christmas decor. I also like to take a personal day a few days before Christmas to just soak in the season–sleep in, drink coffee by the Christmas tree, watch a sappy movie. I don’t accomplish much, but this “day off” certainly refreshes my soul.
- Our holiday meals are tasty, but they are a bit of a cheat. Our Christmas Eve meal is always Swedish Meatballs and egg noodles–but they are hardly from scratch. After church Christmas Eve night we have a huge buffet full of appetizers from the freezer section and a meat and cheese tray. Sometimes we cheat and let that stand as Christmas dinner as well 🙂
In short, I just don’t do it all. I’m not sure I was super great at “doing it all” when I was a stay at home mom either. The feedback from the husband and kids has been positive. Turns out, they don’t like being paraded around and fit into a Pinterest mold either!
There ARE some very traditional things we fit in–shopping for Christmas clothes, praying for snow, and driving around to see Christmas lights. My kids all know tha the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing songs loud and clear–our house is NEVER quiet!
We try and watch a Christmas show or movie every night and we kind of have an embarrassing collection of Christmas blu ray discs.
If you were to drop by my house, I cannot guarantee a professionally decorated space, or gourmet meals–but you are welcome to stop by for a movie and a Tom and Jerry(I make mine with whiskey) or glass of wine, or even some cocoa (with those awesome mini marshmallows.) If we are not home, we are at church, or a choir or band concert or even a swim meet–and these are places we are truly happy to be.
So, try and make sure that you spend your holidays where you really want to be. Don’t leave out your church, and listen to your family.