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A Mom’s Guide to Surviving the Stress of the Holidays

You’ve survived Friendsgiving parties and Thanksgiving dinners. But now the whole crush of holiday activities soars forward until New Year’s — so many chances to make memories with your little ones and family.

BUT WARNING! Holiday stress can add to mom stress and build into a perfect storm for husband hysteria, child tantrums and even mom meltdowns.

This year, as the holiday chaos begins, set aside some time to envision the memories you want to create this year. What sort of memories do you want your family to have this holiday season?”

When you’re trying to cook a meal or decorate the house with little ones underfoot, it can be challenging. Sometimes, you’re doing your best just not to ruin or break anything as you avoid tripping over toys in the kitchen.

Find ways to get your kids involved in the process. Ask them to help wrap presents, mix ingredients for a recipe, draw holiday cards, or come up with a silly play routine for their favorite holiday song. They’ll feel involved and proud that they could help with holiday activities.

In 2018, we’re lucky that kid-friendly holiday parties and events are popular. They are great because they keep our kids busy and entertained for hours and usually make your kids tired and ready to nap (Yes!). But too many activities can leave your kids feeling more worn out and exhausted over time. It’s easy for babies to get overstimulated—and fussy—with all of the extra activity so you might want to be prepared to take baby to a quiet place during a party if needed. Decide what events are most important to you and make sure those happen. It’s important to make sure little ones are still getting enough sleep and eating well so they can enjoy this special time. Put family events and downtime on the calendar to ensure balance.

As moms we feel a lot of pressure to do it all, and to do it all by ourselves. For some of us, it’s uncomfortable to admit we need help, but allowing others to help us also creates a stronger network of social support. It’s reassuring to know there are other adults in our children’s lives whom we can trust.

And remember: You’re not the only mom who needs a break. Don’t forget you can always return the favor and offer to watch a friend’s children, too.

The most important thing at the holidays is to be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up for things you didn’t do, or that didn’t go exactly as planned. You’ll be late to activities, and everyone will understand. Your table might not look exactly like the Pinterest image you were aiming for, but your guests won’t even know.

January 2 will be here soon enough, and you’ll be back to a more normal routine. So, just like the baby years, remember that the during the holiday season the days are long but the months are short. Enjoy what you can and let the rest go.

Happy Holidays!