It’s supposed to be the jolliest time of the year, yet for many mothers, including myself, the holidays are sometimes met with dread due to the stress of it all.
According to the American Psychological Association, many Americans share the same sentiments as 69 percent report increased stress due to lack of time during the holiday season, 69 percent report increased stress due to lack of money and 51 percent report increased stress due to the pressure of giving and receiving gifts.
Even those who make valiant attempts to simplify the season often encounter stress. Add to the mix rumors of a Fiscal Cliff, angry shoppers, and impatient drivers laying on the horn in the Target parking lot and it can seem nearly impossible to slow down and enjoy what’s meant to be a time to reflect, practice gratitude and spend time with family.
As a mother, I find the stress creeping in when I begin to tick off all the things I’m NOT doing to make lovely Christmas memories for my children. Though I have the best intentions, they often fall flat—along with my failed Christmas cookies that come out of the oven!. And browsing photos of other friends’ wonderful holiday mommy moments on Facebook often only makes things worse.
And so this year mothers (and dads!), if you’re feeling the same, please join me in reciting my Guilt-Free Christmas Pledge. It often goes best with a glass of wine and some fudge, per pledge number ten. Enjoy!
This Christmas, I (insert name) pledge to not feel guilty if:
1 .My “homemade” cookies are crafted from the Nestle Toll House refrigerated dough rather than the “completely from scratch cut-outs with homemade frosting” Martha Stewart recipe in my (still untouched) cookbook on the shelf.
2. I am the only mother on the planet without an Elf on the Shelf. (And if I am experiencing Elf on the Shelf envy after viewing all my other friends’ Elf photos on Facebook, I will remind myself of the 30 dollars I’ve saved and still not succumb to that mischievous little guy.)
3. I do not complete a single cutesie Pinterest project I anticipated making, even if I have spent an arm and a leg on supplies and countless hours online preparing for said project.
4. I regift my well-meaning but slightly weird aunt’s present from last year to another slightly weird and hard-to-buy-for relative.
5. I do not send out Christmas cards this year and claim I’m going green, when in reality it felt like too much work to lick all those expensive stamps.
6. I use a family photo from our summer camping trip rather than a professional one for our Christmas cards because gathering five people in one place and getting them to match and smile and look at the camera all at once is just too much work.
7. I do not get around to writing the annual Christmas update letter and reason that everyone knows all my important business on Facebook. (After all, does anyone really read those letters anyway?)
8. I stuff all presents into gift bags instead of painstakingly wrapping each one with fancy homemade bows because the time I’ll save could be much better spent catching up on the Real Housewives of Orange County reruns.
9. I skip the annual neighborhood holiday party because I gained ten pounds and don’t feel like going out and buying a little black dress to impress folks who see me in sweat pants 90 percent of the time.
10. I eat all the leftover fudge from the kids’ class Christmas party after they’ve gone to bed and top it off with a glass (or two) of red wine.