What I learned as a mother this holiday season.

Well, it is Christmas, and the kids have opened all their gifts. Olivia is taking a nap before she has to get ready to go over her gramma’s house. Matthew is on the computer, and hubby is napping watching his favorite Christmas movie, DIEHARD. I have straightened up the gifts and put the house back in some sense of order and soon will be getting ready for Christmas dinner at my mother-in-laws.  

I finally have a moment to sit and breathe and blog. The quiet is nice. Some of the blog ideas I had during the Christmas Season I can no longer blog about because they seem irrelevant. I had wanted to blog sooner, but I got overwhelmed with work and holiday chaos. However, since Christmas is here, I decided to blog on what I have learned over the holiday season.

So here goes. What this mom has learned over the holiday season:

  • THE FAMILY PHOTO IS STRESSFUL: Getting the perfect family picture for your Christmas/Holiday card is the most stressful task as a mother. It is a silent competition because today, moms try to create the best, most creative, cutest holiday card. Then, us mothers must decide who we will use to print our cards: Shutterfly, Snapfish, CVS, Walgreens, COSTCO, TinyPrints etc.. There is so much to consider: What is the background going to be? What cardstock to use? No one will admit it, but we know our cards will be judged by others, just like we do when we look at everyone else’s cards that we receive.
  • THERE ARE NEW PROTOCOLS FOR HOLIDAY CARDS. This year when I texted a friend for her current address, she texted back “We are not doing cards this year.” HUH? I wanted to text back, “WHY?? ” This was so shocking to me. Is this what this world has come to? No holiday cards because it’s easier? I have to say, I felt sad and frustrated because these are the same people, who will post tons of family and kid pictures on Facebook and Instagram for every move they make in life, yet they can’t send out a holiday card with one of the hundreds of photos they took in the last 2 weeks?
  • GIFT GIVING IS MINIMAL. People who use to exchange gifts with me all of a sudden stopped? Why? How awkward that I gave co-workers and my boss a gift and yet did not even receive a card in return? So, do I stop giving them gifts next year?
  • SOME PEOPLE HATE THE HOLIDAYS. It’s ok not to be in the holiday spirit. This holiday season, I had a lot of things going on in my life that took a little of the holiday spirit away. I have never had that happen and I hated that I felt like that, but I couldn’t help that my personal issues were getting in the way of enjoying the season. I finally said to myself that it was OK to wish the holidays would be over and to try and make the best of it. For my kids’ sake, I really tried.
  • TIME IS ALWAYS AN ISSUE. I now realize there is never enough time to do everything I want to do during the holidays. I didn’t get to go out to lunch or dinner with all the friends that I wanted to make plans to see. I didn’t get to go the the movies with my daughter. I didn’t get to see any holiday movies from Hallmark. Oh well, there’s next year!
  • ASKING FOR HELP IS OKAY. The winter holidays are the most stressful time of the year for many people. We already have so much on our plate of life and now we add the holidays? It can be overwhelming! Taking it one day at a time and make a list of what you need to get done each day helps. But, more importantly, ask for help! As moms we are use to doing it all.
  • BE OKAY WITH HOWEVER YOU CELEBRATE. Where are you going for the holidays? I am always asked this by people who know my family is local, only so they can tell me they are going away to New York, North Carolina, London, Spain, etc.. They want me to know how fabulous their Christmas will be versus mine. I swear, one year I will make up such an amazing trip just so they can see how silly it is!
  • HOLIDAY PARTIES ARE NOT A SIGN OF POPULARITY. Why do people feel the need to let you know how many holiday parties they have attended or will be attending? Again, is there a competition? I don’t think I am less liked because I attended (or was invited) to fewer parties, just less stressed.
  • EXPRESS GRATITUDE REGARDLESS. Why do family and friends feel the need around the holidays to ask you not to get them anything? It’s the holidays.. why not? If not you, then who?? Spending money on those you love should not be a bad thing. On the contrary, it should make you feel better. This is the time to be thankful and grateful for your family and friends and express it to them with the gift of gratitude.
  • TEENAGERS MAY NOT REALIZE IN THE MOMENT YOUR EFFORTS. Like most mothers, I find myself asking, “Will my kids remember all I did to make their holiday special? Do they realize all the work, stress and lack of sleep I went through to make their Christmas perfect? Will they appreciate it or expect it?” I do it because I am a mom, and one day I hope they will do it for their children.

These are just some of the lessons I have learned. I am sure there are more if I think about it. At the end of the day, the biggest thing I have learned is the holidays are not a competition. Focus on the things that matter — spending time with family and creating memories. We just never know what tomorrow has in store for us so worrying over the perfect holiday card,  gifts for everyone, or not being able to go away for the holidays really doesn’t matter.

What matters? Family. Happiness.

Would love to hear what you all learned or experienced during the holiday season. I am sure you all have learned a lesson or two! I can’t wait to read them! Please share in the comments below!

Happy Holidays!

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