Monday, December 19, 2016
A request to young mommies: Do less, not more this Christmas
This was a popular article last Christmas, so I am reposting again for all you mommies of little ones!
Last week we decorated our house for Christmas.
I really didn't want to.
Every year, it's usually one of our favorite things to do as a family. It's an entire day's work, of opening up tubs and boxes, of gasps and shouts by my kids of "I remember this!" or "I know where this goes!" We have a tree that needs to be set up, boxes and boxes of ornaments to put on, and an entire village of little houses that we've collected over the years. Each year as a family we pick out a new house to add to our collection, which has now grown to be an entire village- it covers the sofa table, the piano, and the TV stand.
I just didn't have the energy this year. I didn't feel like looking for extra extension cords so all the little houses could be plugged in and lit up. I didn't have the usual gusto for sweeping up the tiny little Styrofoam bits that come out of the 12 or so boxes for the houses and that litters the floors. I kid you not, each year, I spend weeks finding these little pieces all over the house, stuck to the dog's nose, hidden under the couch, clinging to the carpet on the stairs.
"Can we just put up the tree this year and leave it at that?" I asked my husband.
"Scrooge," was his response.
Then there is the mantel. We take everything down, clean off the 11 months worth of dust that's gathered, find somewhere to stash the picture frames that normally occupy that space, and put up greenery, lights, stockings, stocking holders, and letters that spell "Joy To The World". It's really very pretty.
It's just that it's a huge job.
Don't get me wrong, I love the way it looks, all cozy and warm when the lights are turned on and it's snowing outside. I want my kiddos to enjoy the decorations, to name the figures in the Nativity Scene, to reminisce over the ornaments they've received as gifts or made at church.
Here's the thing-- I'm just tired this year.
Maybe you can relate?
So, here's my advice to all you young mommies with little babes-- Do only what you must this Christmas.
Skip the Elf of the Shelf if it stresses you out. Make Break and Bake cookies instead of homemade if you don't have the time or energy. Do one special thing with your kiddos instead of an entire advent of activities and surprises. Go ahead and drive around to see the lights, but skip the Pinterest idea of creating a golden ticket, and of popping popcorn and making hot chocolate to take in the car. (Besides, that sounds like a recipe for a spill and a burn to me).
Instead, cuddle your kiddos on the couch and tell them the Christmas story-- you know, the real one from the book of Luke. Watch a Christmas show on TV if that gives you a half hour to put your feet up. Do Less, Not MORE. It's OKAY.
If your idea of a good day is one in which you get a shower and your teeth brushed, you don't have time to do more. If the extent of you getting out of the house is running outside to grab the mail, you have enough going on. If just putting on a fresh pair of yoga pants makes you feel like a new woman, then I'm begging you to not do anything more than the bare minimum. And you know what? If your babes are that little, they won't remember any of this anyways! You have years and years to start traditions and make memories, preferably when you are functioning on more than a few hours or sleep.
It doesn't make you a Scrooge, or a bad mommy.
It makes you smart. It makes you a better mommy, because you can use that time and energy you would have spent running around, driving yourself mad, all in the name of "making memories", for more important things. Like resting, eating a nourishing (and hopefully still warm) meal, spending quality time with your loved ones, and reflecting on the reason we have this season of Christmas.
All of that other "stuff"? If it stresses you out, if it makes you tired, cranky, or short-fused, it's really just a distraction from what really matters.
The first Christmas was simple. No decorations, no hot cocoa, no ugly Christmas sweater or white elephant gifts.
Just a baby. A Star. Some singing. A whole lot of love and the ultimate gift.
Do less, not more.