As another week off school and a traditional holiday family weekend approaches, I tell myself to remember to breathe. Just breathe. I remind myself that I can only do what I can do and nothing more. I tell myself to remember what is most important at the holidays…
Flashback: 4 and a half years ago… It’s Christmas time, the week before Christmas in fact. I have 4 young children- ages 8, 7, 3 and 6 months. I am working as the assistant director of a non-profit clinic, breaking in a new director and doing my job to the tune of 45 hours a week. I had a long list of to-dos… I wanted to bake cookies. I wanted to make sure the right presents were purchased and wrapped and hidden. I wanted to have a beautifully decorated house- which meant cleaning first. I did want to have friends over. I wanted to spend time with my family. How in the world was I going to do it all?!
As a working mom of 4 kids, I was asked that question all the time. How do you do it all?! Jokingly, I would respond “I don’t.” Hahahaha. But it was true. I couldn’t do it all. It was just not possible! At the holiday times, however, I would try to strap on my superwoman cape and make everything perfect for everyone. It was going to be a wonderful holiday dammit! But this particular Christmas was getting the better of me.
I remember standing in the shower… a long hot shower… because my hubby was home and the kids were out playing in the snow. I remember frantically plotting every minute of every day between then and Christmas so that I could indeed try to get it all done. I was trying to mentally strap on my cape. And then I asked myself a really simple question… “What do you really want from this holiday anyway?” The answer was simple.
I wanted to spend time with my family.
I wanted to be present for them as they enjoyed their time off with me. I wanted to see their smiling faces enjoying life as only children can do. The tears started to fall easily then. More tears than I had allowed myself to shed in a long time. What I was intending and plotting to do was directly in opposition with what would make me really happy. So, at that moment, I said “No” to crazy running around self. You can not do it all. Your kids do not care if the house is perfect. Your kids do not care if you do not make 4 kinds of cookies. Your kids just want to spend time with you too. I let so much guilt and anxiety and stress flow down the drain that day and I have not looked back. It was indeed freeing to align my priorities with what made me happy.
So this weekend, I will be WITH my family. Taking pictures, enjoying the moments and being present for them. We will carry on the traditions that are important to us and not worry about all the other “stuff” we are supposed to do these days. I will get done what I get done before then but you can be sure that it will not interfere with being a Mom first. That’s the best thing I can do.
So if you find yourself running around like a chicken with your head cut off and are not feeling happy about things, feel free to tell yourself NO! and focus on what makes you and your family truly happy instead.
Have a wonderful, joy-filled weekend.