how to survive christmas with the kids

Holiday time is in full swing! Are you enjoying this holiday time or are you frazzled beyond belief?

hans

As moms and especially as work at home moms, it can be a tough balancing act. We love our kiddos and want to spend time with them, after all, that is why we’ve chosen to work from home. But to find time to be with them and maintain our home-based business PLUS holidays can be tricky.

I don’t know about you, but we have been invited to something every weekend through the end of the year, and most weeknights in between. PLUS I still have some last minute shopping items to take care of, baking and Christmas cards.

This is my 6th year working from home with little ones in tow, and getting through the holidays — actually not just getting through them but actually ENJOYING them. Here are simple tips I’ve found to make it all come together so this time of year can be zero stress and maybe even a bit enjoyable.

How to Survive & Thrive the Holidays with Kids
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1) Make a list and check it twice.

Just like ol’ Saint Nick – except this list is a list of everything you “think” you need to get done. (Think being the key word here).

Now, from that list, really look it over and ask yourself “what are the three things I HAVE to get done?” So many times we have a gajillion things on our to-do list and we tell ourselves that everything has to be done and everything is of the most importance RIGHT NOW – and we totally burn ourselves OUT! But the reality of it is that not everything is important right now. No way, no how.

Pick THREE and if you get those three done that day great, move on to three more. But if you only get those three things done that day (in addition to all of the day to day necessities like dishes, laundry, and making dinner) then celebrate! Examples of three things might be buying presents, running a kid to practice, getting paperwork filled out for school. Boom – fist bump

2) Simply say NO!

Sometimes easier said than done, am I right? In order to narrow down your list, you need to say no to a lot of things. Does the thought of that make you stressed? If so, I was there too. I felt horrible telling anyone no. That is, until I realized it was all of those extra obligations that were stressing me out, robbing us of balance in our home and ultimate happiness.

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Now I say no all the time and I don’t feel guilty because I know it is keeping peace in our home. “Say no a thousand times so you can say yes to what matters.” This is a principle I say in my head time and time again. It is a true guiding light.

So how do you know when to say no? Well, just think of what you want to experience more of in your life.

For me, I wanted to experience more joy, peace, and freedom. So as I sat back and visualized these things and what they would feel like, that then led me to list the roles I play in life, in their order of importance.

Here are the roles I play in order of importance – God servant, mom, wife, friend, mompreneur, community member, neighbor. The order of these roles determines what I will say no and yes to every day.

So when I receive a request for something like a holiday party, I then measure it on this list and ask in what area would it fall? That determines if it gets a yes or a no. So after I’ve made my super long list of stuff to do, I just go through the list and I rate it accordingly depending on my key roles.

Needless to say many of the lesser roles on my list often lose out often so that I can be the best that I can be in the areas that matter most to me in this life. Does that make sense?

Drop the guilt, learn to say no, it will be so freeing, liberating and improve the balance in your home and your life.

3) Forget the cards

I LOVE cards. My husband at one point told me I should open my own card store because I love cards so much. There is something about the time spent finding the right card (I could spend hours in the card aisles), smile on my face. So what I am about to share will hurt me as much as it may hurt you — ditch the Christmas cards sister.

Switch to online cards. Not only will you save yourself a TON of time, but you will also save the environment (Merry Christmas Mother Earth!)

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My favorites include eCards, or better yet, JibJab.com. One card and done and oh so fun to get!

Nothing is forever. So even if you give up cards for this season when your kids are little, it doesn’t mean you can’t start giving out real cards again when they’re older.

4) Breathe deep and be fully present

Seize the little moments that make up life, breathe them in and cherish them. They will never come again. Especially if you are a mom of little kids like I am, you know that they will only be little once. Take the time to be fully present with them. That means turn off your cell phone (heck hide it if you have to or ask someone else to hide it for you!) Cuddle up with a book, bake cookies or start a new family tradition. Everything else can wait while you breathe in your life! Even in the midst of those baby fits, remember this too will pass and believe it or not, someday you will miss comforting a baby and those little snuggles.

5) Find harmony in the imbalance

Realize that it will never be perfect. Your house may not be spotless, you may not get all of the gifts you want for the million people on your list (seriously I think your postal worker will survive without a gift this year),.. you may not get to vacuum every day… but that is okay. As long as you are putting one step in front of another, and following steps 1-4, life will be great and you will have an amazing holiday season. You got this! 

I hope this has been helpful and I’d love to hear from you too! Message me with your tips to enjoy the holidays while being a work from home mom.

This message originally appeared on QuadCities.com, 2012

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