7 working moms share their tips on how they deal with holiday stress. Read and adopt these methods for your own personal arsenal.
Working moms, we have a lot on our plates. However during this time of year, the tension and pressure can be tantamount to strain, worry, anxiety, and other negative symptoms. With the pulling and tugging on our to-do lists, work deadlines, helping kids with homework, entertaining the family, and so on and so forth, it’s a wonder how we get through it. This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can leave us feeling drained and worn out.
What’s a working mom to do?
You’ve heard (and read) me say this before—you can’t do it all. Nor should you be expected to. Sometimes the pressure we feel is weight that we’ve put on ourselves. With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays while trying to manage your work and life, it’s a wonder we get through it. But we do. You don’t have to do it with a cup that is overfull.
I reached out to seven mamas that I both respect admire and asked them this question: What is the number one tip you have for working other moms dealing with holiday stress? I am sharing their personal answers below alongside a few inspirational anecdotes that they communicated to me, in hopes that it helps you get through.
After reading these wonderful ladies’ tips, you can then put them to use in your own life to feel lighter during this hectic time of the quarter.
Winnie Caldwell, St. Louis
Don’t be so hard on yourself, moms! Kids love and adore you no matter the cost of the gift. They only put as much pressure on the holidays as you lead them to. I say NO to overextending myself. I’m good at cooking, decorating and more but I won’t do anything that’ll exhaust me.
I’ve learned to use my leadership skills to divide and conquer. Instead of doing everything myself, I’ll split tasks amongst other family members and friends.
Anne Parris, Virginia
During the holidays, what stresses me the most are meeting my own expectations for making everything perfect. My own standards for making a magical, snowflake-covered Christmas wonderland were making me grumpy. Now I focus on the most special holiday rituals that mean the most to me and my family. Not beating myself up for not getting a million Christmas “must-dos” has been very freeing.
The holidays are a marathon. What helps me is focusing on the big things that bring us joy. We love to look at Christmas lights, so at least once we all get in the car and ooh and ah at our local light displays. So there’s no perfect Christmas card and our shelves remain Elf-less. Focusing on something we all love is better that a hundred things that make me nuts.
Aaronica B. Cole, Atlanta
Give yourself grace and put what works for you and your immediate family first. During the holidays, I don’t do unaffordable travel. We’re a family of 4 and it’s expensive for us to travel. Sometimes I just have to say no to traveling and move on! It’s ok to say no and I’m accepting that my sanity is needed!
Solange Lopes (The Corporate Sister), Providence, RI
One of my greatest sources of stress during this time of year is juggling work stress with all the events and to-do’s around the holidays. I find it’s a time when colleagues and/or clients, as well as family members, put high demands on your schedule, and expect you to be available to complete every deadline or attend every single event. It becomes a matter of planning ahead and picking my priorities so I don’t lose my mind 🙂
Unless it’s very close family or friends, I say NO to last-minute events that would make me over-extend myself in an unhealthy and unproductive way. I also say NO to any drama, whether it’s coming from family or work, by just not engaging in it. The further I stay away from being over-committed and being entangled in drama, the cooler, calmer and more collected I am during the holidays.
Andrea Bates, North Carolina
I stress over the small things. I get overloaded on holiday gifts for teachers, when I know we’ve already got a basic plan in place. Holiday cards, when I know I always send them out after New Years, and getting places on time, which to me is usually a little bit early – when in reality I should realize we’re almost always behind schedule just a little bit – and that’s okay.
Write down as much as you can. I’m a list-maker. A planner. I prefer to use pen and paper for this, but an app on your phone or your Google calendar can work just as well. But write down the things you need to buy. The events you’re planning on attending. Whatever you need for your kid(s). Get that stuff down in front of you so when you do find yourself overwhelmed you can look it up in one place and get a better handle on what to do next.
Joyce Brewer, Atlanta
My number one tip is to ask for help. Too often moms (myself included) choose to suffer in silence because we don’t want to bother anyone else or seem like we can’t handle it all. Ask your spouse or partner to pick up some of the demands. Team up with another mom to divide and conquer your tasks. This year, I’m co-room mom. We handle several things together and we’ll both be in this year’s class holiday party to help teachers.
Unfortunately, I don’t say NO to many requests and events because I feel like the end of the year is the ideal time to celebrate. But I do say NO to “winging it”, though. I write more things down , set reminder alarms on my phone, and keep our family calendar that’s posted on the fridge up-to-date as much as possible.
Tiff Patton, St. Louis
In my field this time of year according to researchers is the most popular time for teacher’s to experience burnout which negatively impacts staff culture. Thus it is always a challenge to proactively plan ways to address this increased level of stress from staff and try to manage it successfully so that the school environment remains functional and positive. In addition in my family there are four critical birthdays I have to be prepared to celebrate in November while in the midst of trying to also figure out who is getting what for Christmas and where I can get the best deal on it. Then don’t forget the decorating and checking out all of the holiday events going on around the city so I can ensure my daughter goes to the best ones. It’s another job.
The best thing I’ve done so far is learned how to step away from it all and spend time with friends. You have to get out of the house alone with nothing on the agenda but sitting around and talking to people who you know will be great company. As I’m pushing through the lengthy checklist that the holiday season turns into I push myself to just make it to whatever event I’ve planned to attend to simply help me think about and do other things than be a mom an employee, or a college student. I can just be Tiffany.
I say “no” to Black Friday and simply stick to my budget. If I can’t afford to get what’s on my list on a regular day then I pick something cheaper. I also say “no” to pictures with Santa Clause to avoid the annoying lines and the possibility of a completely disinterested child having a meltdown. So until she actually says it’s what she wants to do then I don’t even try.