We have officially entered a season known for being hectic and crazy. We sing songs about it being “the most wonderful time of the year,” but how many of us actually live that way?
I want to share a story of a time when I thought trying to do it all was the right thing to do and how it changed my perspective on the holiday season and being an intentional mom.
My daughter was turning seven. We were hosting her birthday party on the first Saturday of December, and I decided I had time to squeeze in a beautiful women’s Christmas event the morning of. This included singing Christmas carols and hearing from an excellent speaker on preparing our hearts for the Christmas season.
As soon as the event was over, I raced home to finish cleaning and put the final touches on the birthday party. As you can imagine, the Christmas joy in my heart quickly fizzled, and I became a completely different person. I ran around the house barking orders at my family members, expecting them to do things my way.
I switched gears again as the ten little party guests arrived. We played games, ate cake, and opened gifts. There was laughing and smiling. After the last child was gone and the remaining crumbs vacuumed up, I plopped on the couch and crashed. Exhausted from the running around, but even more drained by trying to mentally swing the ups and downs of the day.
I reflected on my behavior throughout the day and asked myself if this was the mom and wife I truly wanted to be? Was cramming my day full of activities (even if they were well-meaning ones) serving me well and helping me to be the best possible version of myself?
The answer was clearly “no.” I did not like the person I was. When I had planned the day, I had good intentions, but what good were they if I was not truly at peace and enjoying the activities I was involved in? What kind of message was I sending my children if they had more memories of me being an angry, rushing mom than a cheerful, present one?
From that day forward, I told myself, “no more.” I was going to say no to events that I enjoyed and exchange my crammed schedule, with no room to breathe, for an intentional one that allowed me to remain calm and serve the people around me well.
Since I made that commitment to myself, I have enjoyed the holidays and birthday parties much more. I have space in my calendar that allows me to be a little more spontaneous if need be. Most importantly, I like who I am better. I smile more this time of year, and I’m not inconvenienced by hiccups in my schedule the way I once was.
If you find yourself in a rush this holiday season and feeling overwhelmed, I’d like to give you permission to say “no.” It’s ok to give yourself room in your schedule for you to be free from the stress and anxiety of doing it all. I promise your “no” or “not at this time” will be a beautiful replacement from the person you once were to the better person you will become.