(Disclaimer: We are all for the modern Mom. We are modern Mom's. With full-time+ jobs. With dogs. Houses. Husbands. Etc. We're not here to cut anyone down or argue, but rather encourage you to carve out time for whats important in a crowded world fighting for moments of our time.)
Another week, another article circulating on Facebook about lowering the notch at which we hold ourselves as parents, a proverbial lowering of the bar for special events and holidays. While I feel passionately about this topic (especially how we are all guilty of wasting the time we used to spend with each other on things like social media), I try to be sympathetic to both sides and the reasons why I truly believe, compromise is key. The tooting of my own horn is also not why I am here, but seeing as I have been called "super mom" etc. many times since we had our daughter, Q, 4 years ago I feel like I'm obligated to share my secrets. Why? To save you time, and to help you feel the same!
Disclaimer: This "super mom" title is something that I am proud of, but I also shudder at the sound of it-----because I feel like it adds pressure to me and our other parent friends. But hear me out......I am writing today to share how I take tiny, easy, quick steps to make sure that every holiday feels special without overdoing it and most importantly, without adding SO much extra pressure, financially, monetarily, etc. Here are my secrets:
In our attic we keep a tub with combined holidays. It's not stuffed with fleeting items I collect yearly from the Target dollar section, but it is fine-tuned over time to contain items passed down, items we purchase that have meaning/purpose, and some items that Q just finds entertaining as a child. See this little porcelain bunny house above? I distinctly remember it as a child from my Mom's house. She would carefully get it out every Easter and fill it with jelly beans. As a kid it felt like a magical little house, and now every year we place it on our own mantle stuffed full of jelly beans.
Every holiday I try to come up with at least one fast project that only uses items we have at home. Instead of spending 10 extra minutes scrolling my Facebook newsfeed, I get Q engaged in a project that stimulates her senses and makes memories. Does this require rounding up fancy art supplies from the hobby store, or expecting her to spend an hour on a masterpiece? No way.....because ultimately that's not what is important here! Our Pinterest board is loaded with ideas that have been curated by me, a Mom! Click here to browse for yourself.
Turn School Celebrations into Reasons to Party
Now we're not saying that things like 100th Day at school needs to be the household mantra for a day....but imagine if we actually enjoyed watching our kids use their imaginations. See, it is my belief that the reason parents today feel so stressed about things like this is because instead of letting our kids "bear the burden" so-to-speak when it comes to using their imaginations to make an idea come to life, we internalize and make the projects about us. Instead of challenging our kids to have the BEST 100th day costume in the history of ever (which in turn stresses us out) why don't we allow them to choose something they find meaningful. I know Q would be 1,000 times more proud of herself if she came up with a paper hat covered in 100 Q-tips than if I engineered up some fancy-schmancy thing and guilted her into making it.
Repeat and Reuse
One of the best things I have learned as a Parent is that our kids are often pleased by repeating activities/projects that they once found pleasurable. These can be tweaked over time to adjust for their growing mental capacity and used to fine-tune new skills. We don't need to reinvent the wheel as Parents, I wish we all understood this! Does your child have a favorite painting activity from last year, but now they're learning letters? Combine the two for a new, challenging spin on an old favorite.
Be kind and forgiving to yourself. It will take a full trip through the holidays to get into a groove of your own, but after that you will be on auto-pilot! That being said, remember that you have the power to say "no." Sometimes I have to real Q back in and remind her that life is ordinary and hardly filled with rainbows and unicorns, but having a positive attitude is what makes the difference. Carve out time when you have it, and say "no" when you don't----as long as you're being honest with yourself you can't go wrong!