The holidays are almost here.  Every year people comment on how stressful it can be as a mom and entrepreneur.

From Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year, there is a lot of activity and emotion packed into the end of the year.

I understand how challenging this time of year can be.  So I’ve put together my three top tips for a smooth holiday season

1) Set Realistic Expectations

First, it’s vital to set realistic expectations.  We’re not all going to have Norman Rockwell sit down dinners. Instead try to think about creating a simple emotion.  For instance, I hope everyone leaves this dinner feeling relaxed well fed and satisfied.  Or have a goal like I hope all the kids had fun playing board games together. Something attainable and that will make you feel fulfilled.

Several years ago, I was feeling stressed and not having a good Thanksgiving.  I realized that I needed to make a change. So we have really scaled back our Thanksgiving dinner.

  • My kids don’t like turkey – so I don’t make it.
  • We’re not great about leftovers, so I don’t make copious amounts of food.
  • We don’t have family nearby, so it’s usually just us.  So I don’t do fancy decorations, etc.

And you know what?  I’m more relaxed.  I can actually spend time with my whole family.  We play games and have fun.  I actually can feel grateful.

Think about the last Thanksgiving that you had a good time.  A good balance between cooking, spending time with family and having fun.  If you need to, make some changes.

2) Delegate

Second most women think they need to do it all themselves.  This is not the time to try and be a superhero at the expense of your health and mental welfare.

“But only I can make the special stuffing….or the family cutout cookies.”  I’m sure that your aunt or your friend is capable of making stuffing to bring.  And if it’s not “your stuffing” – plan on making that special recipe on a random weekday.  You can still enjoy those special recipes but you don’t have to prepare them ALL on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

People are able and willing to help. From bringing food to setting the table, to washing the dishes, or even to walking the dog people like helping. You just need to be open.  You just need to be willing to let go of your “special stuffing.” It can also make the day even more special when everyone is involved.

Have you ever been a guest at a house and they never let you help?  They’re running around trying to do everything, but insist that you can’t help.  They don’t even have time for a nice conversation.  Make sure to remember this type of moment when you have guests.

And do you really think people are going to care that you had your “special stuffing” if you lose your mind?  “So glad we had that stuffing even though mom lost her marbles.”

Remember what’s important.  Of course I love tradition and food and family.  But at what cost….  I would rather forego some traditions in order to have a happy day.

3) Make a Plan

Third, but maybe most important, you need to make a plan.  Not a plan for the food or decorations or the guests – I assume you’ve done all that.

Instead you need to make a plan to relax and get away. Holidays are stressful enough. And often we put extra pressure on ourselves to make sure everything is perfect and that everyone else is happy.  Taking care of ourselves is vital throughout the year  – but even more so during the holidays.

So plan some time off for yourself.

  • Always wanted to go to this cute little shop downtown?  Pick a day and time to do it.
  • Want to go have a leisurely cup of coffee and read a book at a fancy coffee shop? Go for it.

What’s great about the holidays is that we usually have friends and family visiting.  Let them help you.  They could watch the kids while you take a little time away. Maybe have a “mother’s helper” come and entertain the kids while your husband or guests are in the house. That leaves you free to get a way.

I can already hear you’re arguments:  “How can I go away with all these people in the house?”  “I have so much to do!”

Look – the sky is not going to fall. Remember about setting realistic expectations? You can still have a nice holiday even if you take two hours away for yourself.

Plus when we’re recharged, we’re able to be present, give more, be relaxed and make the whole experience a wonderful one for all.

Did any of these tips resonate with you?  Any that you’re going to try?  I’d love to know!

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