Permission Granted

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If you’re making lists and checking them twice this December, and you’re not Santa Clause, I have something to tell you, sweet Mom.  The only one creating expectations this Christmas is you.  The only one putting pressure on you, is YOU.  The list of things you need to accomplish in order to give your family the perfect holiday;  crumple it up right now and don’t look back.

I will never claim to know it all, but there is something I do want to share.

Something I’ve learned the hard way.

If the pressure to stay up late to surprise the kids with ALL THE (Christmas) THINGS is compromising your patience or your health; choose sleep.  If  running around to a thousand stores is stealing precious time; Amazon your list this year.  If going broke is a consequence of giving; simplify and refocus on the reason for the season.   If you’re stressing and obsessing over pins in attempt to make your home, holiday gathering or gift packaging Pinterest perfect; remember it’s the thought that counts.   If decorating cookies with the kids is an item on the list to hurry up and cross off; skip it.  If you’re so stressed that you forget to stop and talk to your kids about life or memorize the smiles on their faces or you’re failing to be in the moment; something has got to give.

1.Elf on the Shelf.

2.Advent calendars.

3.Outdoor family portraits.

4.Any kind of professional portrait.

5.Matching pajamas for the kids or the whole family.

6.Printed photo Christmas cards.

7.Any kind of Christmas cards.

8.20 different kinds of Christmas cookies.

9.Watching ALL the classic Christmas movies.

10.Making ALL the crafts.

11.Breaking the bank on gifts.

12.Breaking the bank on Christmas outfits.

13.Participating in ALL the gift exchanges.

14.Attending ALL the parties.

15.Getting the fancy, expensive Santa Clause portrait experience.

16.Following Christmas trends from the internet.

17.Decorating a gingerbread house.

18.Preparing a large feast.

19.Decorating an Instagram worthy Christmas tree.

20.Making Pinterest perfect teacher gifts.

21. Documenting every moment during the holidays on social media.

If any of these 21 things are causing you stress this month or maybe you have your own list items, listen up…you have the freedom to let it go.

You have the power to say, “NO.  Not this year!”

Release it back to the North Pole.

I’m not here to say I do Christmas better.  I’m not perfect.  I have put myself out there many Christmases, overdoing it with the best of them, only to be totally burnt out by Christmas morning.  For several years, I have even felt dread as the months inched closer to December.  The fast paced, long list of things to accomplish in such a short amount of time.  The rushing.  The stress.  The parties.  The expenses.  All of those things on top of all the other things in life that actually do not just stop because it’s Christmas time.  You know what I’m saying, right?  Do we as moms really want to dread the holidays?

Now, please know, I am not here to judge you. I hate mom shaming.  If you take great joy in scheming up clever Elf On The Shelf  scenarios and then staying up late to set it all up, more power to you Mama!  If doing ALL THE THINGS that a mama could possibly do to make her kids’ December amazing and full of fun is what makes you jolly and filled with Christmas cheer, keep doing you!   If Christmas does not stress you out and it’s your most favorite time of year, partly because of all the things you get to do, then this post is most likely not for you.

But please, listen to me closely, if the Christmas trends of the interwebs are making you feel inadequate as a mom, throw away the list.  If your Pinterest or Instagram account is causing you to set ridiculously high expectations, expectations that you are adding to an already long list of expectations, and this list inevitably always has things you just won’t get done in time, ultimately leaving you to feel guilty or hard on yourself; step away from the social media.  I promise you this; you will not ruin Christmas by skipping that one thing or even if you drastically shave down your list.  If your budget is bursting at the seams or has already spewed over into savings or onto credit cards and you’re not yet sure how or when you’ll pay them off; edit it down now!  For the love of all that is holy,  if Christmas is causing you stress and sleepless nights, then you might want to take a serious look at how you’re doing it.  I know I have.

Truth is, we’re all just moms who love our kids and want to give them the very best memories to look back on one day.  More than ever, in December, we want to make their little magical dreams come true.  But I promise you this, they will not remember the lists we made.  They will not remember what room the elf was hiding in on the 12th day of Christmas 18 years ago.  They will not remember all the crafts or all the activities we took them to.  They will not remember the felt ball garland that I spent a stupid amount on. They will not remember every little thing that you thought needed to be done to make their December and their Christmas the best.   There is however a very good chance that what they will remember, is how December made Mom crabby, tired and stressed every single year.

More importantly, they’ll also remember how you made them feel during the holidays.  How the house felt warm and toasty after coming in from rolling around in the snow.  How you greeted them at the door with hot chocolate and warm hugs.  How sweet and sugary the air smelled on the day you baked cookies.  How delicious the canned tomato soup tasted dripping all over the grilled cheese, the night you were secretly too tired to accomplish anything more.  The music that played in the background when you decorated the gingerbread house together and how you let them go wild and put the gumdrops wherever they wished. How you let them eat half the gumdrops.  How the house felt extra loving during Christmas and how the lights sparkled on the tree Christmas morning.

If you’re feeling exhausted this December…

If you don’t want to be hard on yourself…

If you don’t want added expectations…

If you long for the simple Decembers of your childhood…..

I have something really important to tell you.

YOU have permission to NOT do all the things. 

Repeat after me. 

I HAVE PERMISSION TO NOT DO ALL THINGS

Feels good, right?

So do the things or don’t do the things. The point is, you don’t have to do it all or any of it for that matter!

Now, sit back, put up your feet and enjoy a nice marshmallow-ey cup of hot chocolate, or tea or coffee or whatever floats your sleigh. You deserve it, wonderful mom!

 Merry Christmas!

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