To the Stressed Out Mom at Christmas Time

I see you nervously standing in the toy aisle mentally trying to figure out who you’ve bought for and who you still need a gift for because you just haven’t had time to make the list yet.

I feel you when you cringe every time an overly prepared mom announces how many days it is until Christmas.

I hear you yawning in the morning because you were up late baking those gingerbread cookies that you bought all the ingredients for last week and had to use before they went bad.xmas stressed mom

I understand that guilt when your kid asks you for what feels like the hundredth time why the tree isn’t set up yet.

I feel your panic when you finally snuggle into bed and begin to review the game plan for tomorrow only to realize that the potluck you’ve forgotten about starts at 10am and you are supposed to have a secret Santa gift.

I hear your sigh when you finish putting everyone else’s outfit together and head to your closet to find that all of your tights have runs in them.

I’m pretty sure I will see you at the convenience store late at night buying tape because you have just begun to wrap and didn’t think to check the supply before now.

I know you ‘stressed out mom at Christmas time’ because I am you too!

Moms have so much on their plate on a normal day, add the holiday season and it is downright crazy what we are expected to add to our already busy schedules. I know that Christmas is coming, it does every year, and I’m the one who scoffs at those who start their holiday shopping in September. You see, I’m a habitual procrastinator. Someone who ‘works best under pressure’. I always get the job done, but sometimes not with sleep or my sanity. I’ve always loved Christmas, and it never bothered me that I was always running behind with holiday shopping, planning and decorating- until I became a mom.

The weight of being responsible for someone else’s Christmas happiness now depends on ME.

But- here’s the thing- it doesn’t. Christmas, though important and special and magical and full of memory making merriment, is not the be all end all. Your child will not remember that you bought mini cupcakes off the Wal-Mart Shelf instead of baking and piping your own icing (and neither will the rest of her pre-school class). Your husband will probably not notice the intricately tied bows that you hand crafted on his gifts (unless you point it out). Your dog will be ok if you forget his bone for the stocking (he wants a belly rub with you on the couch). Your friends won’t shun you if you choose the simplest potluck item on the list (this year I brought egg-nog, rum and whipped cream, easy-peasy!). And don’t even get me started about that damn ‘Elf on the Shelf’!

What does matter is you, mom.

In the midst of all this Christmas chaos take a minute (I know, I know) and think about what would make YOU happy at Christmas. Because you matter too and if you are too tired, sick or generally unhappy because you’ve been trying so hard to make everyone else’s Christmas miracle come true while still maintaining all of your other ‘mom tasks’  then you will never get it. Remember your preparedness for Christmas is not a reflection of how much you love your family & friends or how “good” of a mom/wife/friend/daughter you are. Your kids will remember that you were there and awake (in body and mind) on the big day, your husband will be happy that you got him a gift (wrapped or not) and your dog- just take him for a walk on Christmas Day, guaranteed happiness.

Just because you are unprepared and feeling it in the final stretch to Christmas does not mean you get to feel bad about yourself or guilty- it just means you won’t scoff at the people who buy their snowman figurines in August at Costco- well, maybe.

Merry Christmas Mama, you got this!




[Photo Credit]


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