Like it or not, the holiday season is getting underway. You can pretend it's not on the way, but pretending never did anyone any good, as my grandma used to say. With just a week under the big turkey day for Americans, it's a downward dash to the end of the year and all of the holiday season fun and stress. With parties to attend, special meals to prepare, lists to make, presents to buy and, quite probably, a house to clean for the arrival of company, a mom can find herself completely overwhelmed and totally stressed.
I take photos of my kids every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving, in order to have several photos fr our yearly Christmas card. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I want just the right shots. Typically, I take several different groupings of casual and posed shots, but with six kids to try to get to look the right way and SMILE, for heaven's sake - well, you can imagine that it's somewhat stressful. Last year, my oldest teased my youngest, who burst into tears and ran off, necessitating a run after and a reprimand to the oldest - who proceeded to stare blankly at the camera for the next several shots. After a few really terrible shots, in which people were arguing and crying, I figured why not join in - and I started crying as well. Thankfully, my mom was there to help diffuse the situation and she saved the day.
On the way home, she told me that tried and trite statement, "One day, you'll look back on this and laugh. Remember, the days are long, but the years are short." I sniffled and muttered, but now, a year later - I can see the wisdom in her statement and have already promised myself that I won't flip out when taking pictures this year.
When those pictures were uploaded, I was able to laugh at the ones of my son in which he looks like a felon, and I even included on in our family montage. If you can laugh at yourself - or your kids - it makes the stress of the holidays so much easier to bear. That old saying, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy!" has a lot of basis in the truth.
Getting stressed out and falling apart isn't good for anyone. The picture perfect Thanksgiving table doesn't exist for any family without servants and a staff. So instead of spreading a pristine white table cloth and setting a table worthy of a magazine, why not cover the table with butcher block paper and let everyone color it with crayons? Or cover the table with a length of white fabric and have everyone write what they are thankful for on it with permanent markers.
Set up a buffet instead of a formal, 5 course meal. Let the kids eat mac and cheese on a picnic blanket in the great room while the adults mingle in the kitchen if that works better for your family. If the traditional turkey dinner is too much work or not a family favorite, change it up and serve a Mexican buffet.
The point is, make the holidays your own, special days that serve the needs of your family without leaving anyone sitting on the sofa crying.Do what works for you.
What tips do you have for other moms who may be in the midst of an already-hectic holiday season? Do any perfectly imperfect moments from past holiday seasons come to mind?