Dashing to Deal with the Holidays: 5 Helpful Tips for Frazzled Moms

By: Jolene Roehlkepartain

In too many families, there is one very stressed out adult (usually the mom) who is not only doing the bulk of the chores around the house, but also doing most of the holiday preparations—on top of parenting! So, moms, as you’re dashing around with all the last-minute details, remember these tips. Read more >

1. Enlist the help of family members. No one person should be preparing a holiday alone, and no one gender should be doing all the work. Everyone can help out, including toddlers and preschoolers! Young children can set napkins next to each place setting. They also can have fun talking with and entertaining the waiting guests while you’re preparing a meal.

2. Simplify your list.The truth is, most of our to-do lists are too long! Moms tend to be “people-pleasers” and have big ambitions to make the holidays as special and as memorable as possible. Comb through your to-do list and see what can cut out. If you usually bake 10 different types of holiday cookies, make two. If you make two different types and don’t like to cook, skip the baking and buy something instead.

3. Lower your expectations. The holidays seem to bring out the perfectionist in many of us, and that perfectionism can lead us straight to either getting sick or having an emotional meltdown. You can still create a good—even a great holiday! You don’t need to create the “best one” every single year.

4. Learn to set deadlines and then let them go. Once you’ve finished shopping for gifts, be done with it. Don’t start thinking of more things you can add at the last minute that will only increase your workload and your anxiety. Follow a similar mindset in all of your holiday preparations, from the baking, grocery shopping, and decorations, to the gift wrapping, and anything else that you do to prepare for the holidays.

5. Make time for family fun. What gets squeezed out as you’re rushing to finish everything for the holidays? Your family. You. Fun! Stop and read aloud a picture book to your young children. Stop and play a game with your kids. Stop and do something fun for yourself and your family. After all, isn’t the best part of the holidays the time you get to spend with the ones closest to you?

Remember that the holidays are about bringing families together, not pulling them apart. Make sure that all the last-minute details don’t completely frazzle you so that the holidays become more of a chore than, well, a holiday.

1. Barbara H. Fiese, Family Routines and Rituals (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006).

2. Mitra Razzahgi, MD, “Tips for Busting Holiday Stress,” University of Colorado Hospital, 2011.

3. Holidays, ParentFurther.

4. Image via OakleyOriginals on Flick’r.

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