A Helpful Tip from My Therapist

December is probably THE BIGGEST MONTH for parental stress and over-doing it. But this business of raising children is a marathon, not a sprint. What if you can create traditions that are fun AND calming? What if keeping yourself in a good space matters as much as all the “ho ho ho” we lovingly, crazily try to bestow upon our children? Traditions can be great for a strong sense of family identity. And for fun. And meaning. I’m a tradition-lover through and through.One problem with traditions is that they can turn into a lot of work for parents to execute year after year.  Baking cookies and making teachers’ gifts turned into a nightmare of me making ‘n baking while my toddlers fussed, needed attention and caused mayhem. This was NOT the Norman Rockwell scene I had dreamed of!
Some of my favorite December mom-traditions stem from the need to save my sanity when my boys were little.
One of the BEST TIPS my therapist ever gave me was to make my tasks more fun by doing them with others. It seemed counterintuitive but ended up being brilliant.  It got stuff done and created connection with others.
One of the ways I did this was to invite a friend and her young children over to make teacher’s gifts. The kids were thrilled for a playdate and my friend and I cranked out various homemade gifts from year to year. That eventually evolved into making hot fudge sauce for teachers, neighbors and friends. 

Over the years, the kids got bigger and eventually were off at school while we talked and stirred our dozens of batches of sweet, creamy chocolate sauce. Enter 2020 –  my friend Beth is an empty-nester and I’m close to being one – but we still got together, masks on and doors open, talking while we measured, cooked and stirred. 
When I came home with my mason jars full of hot fudge, I felt like I’d had a great therapy session and was so grateful for a mom-tradition that fills me up.


My high school BFF Aimee and I meet every year to bake cookies, without fail.My friend Debbie and I used to haul gifts and paper to each other’s houses and speed-wrap piles of gifts while the kids were at school. We ate chex mix and talked non-stop. It filled me up with girlfriend-time.
What about you? Even with COVID, are there ways you can think outside the box to prioritize your sense of calm during December? P.S. After I wrote this post and went looking for the older pics of  hot fudge making and cookie baking, I burst into tears when I saw this one from when my youngest was just a toddler. I’m telling ya, these years of parenting young children truly, honestly do not last forever. If parenting is hard right now, please be gentle with yourself.It’s OK that it feels hard. It is.

P.P.S. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m really big on us parents staying in a good state of mind so we can show up as the parents we want our children to have. My new tiny book, hot off the press, is all about that. 14 quick, simple tips create bubbles of calm amidst the chaos of parenting young children. Short on a special gift for the holidays?  Do you know a young mom that might need to discover some Bubbles of Calm in the Chaos of Parenting Young Children?  Check out Sanity Savers on Amazon or here on my website.

 Sanity Savers Book

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