Ah……The holidays. The smell of cinnamon & pine wafting through the air, the twinkle of Christmas lights, and the excitement of Christmas. What’s not to love right? Well, that’s mostly true. Let’s be honest though, for a busy homeschool mom it can be a one-way ticket to a straight jacket. If we aren’t careful the holidays can throw our already hectic life into a spinning nose dive of chaos. However, as a veteran homeschool mom, I have learned a few tricks for finding holiday balance. (Well, at least to avoid the straight jacket…hopefully.)
Holiday Balance Tip #1 – Lower your Expectations
This one is probably not exclusive to homeschool moms. We go into the Christmas season with high expectations. We have visions of perfectly wrapped presents, lined up under a Christmas tree that is magazine worthy. In reality, the ornaments hang in various blobs of chaos, tangled in lights and tinsel. In the corner the presets are piled up. They’ve either been wrapped by the 7-year-old or are neatly folded in a Walmart bag. A few years ago I learned to let the pursuit of perfection go and just enjoy the season. I will have that perfect tree when they are older, but for now, I am embracing the scattered tinsel and ornament explosion. I also plan to start a Pinterest board full of Walmart bag wrapping techniques.
(Related Reading: The Pinterest Mom Perception)
Holiday Balance Tip #2 – Scale Back your Schedule
The holidays are busy, busy, busy. Sometimes it’s busy added to an already chaotic schedule. Maybe it’s time to evaluate what you are doing. Is there anywhere you can cut back? When my girls were younger we took the entire month of December off school. We would read great books, do cute crafts, and just be silly together. Now that they are older we can’t take THAT much time off, mainly because I can’t pass off cutting wrapping paper as “school” at this age. We do still take a smidge more time off than the public school kiddos because that’s one of the perks to homeschooling right? Plus who has time to grade papers when you are trying to find new places for that goofy Elf that you wish would go back to the North Pole to stay FOREVER?
(Related Reading: Managing Chaos in your Homeschool)
Holiday Balance Tip #3 – Take Care of Yourself
We all know this is the first thing to go right? It sounds something like this…..”I’m too busy to exercise I think I’ll skip it today.” Or this……”There’s no way I have time to make a healthy meal, these cookies have oatmeal, that counts right?” Yeah, as moms we let ourselves go first.
The problem is this just defeats our purpose. By doing less for ourselves we fizzle out earlier, then we actually accomplish LESS than if we would have remembered to take care of ourselves. (For example, falling asleep BEFORE you move the creepy Elf.) Make time for yourself this holiday season and I promise you will end up being more productive in the long-run. On a side note, I won’t tell if you eat cookies for breakfast once, I mean I just told you not to expect perfection. That would just make me a hypocrite, at least make them oatmeal though.
(Related Reading: The Mom Check-Up)
Holiday Balance Tip #4 – Delegate
Are your kiddos old enough to help out? Then, by all means, it’s time to assign some chores and enlist some help. Even the smallest kiddos can help pick up, and if you have older kids you are golden here. There’s no reason that ALL the work needs to fall on mom. My girls help with the cooking, cleaning, and wrapping. We call it life lessons. I think I’ll put that in the portfolio.
(Related Reading: Sanity Saving Chores)
Holiday Balance Tip #5 – Don’t Try To Do It All
The holidays are jam-packed with opportunities for fun. Here are a few examples…
- Pictures with Santa – Because fighting crowds at the mall is a holiday tradition!
- Christmas caroling – Be sure to take hot chocolate and homemade gifts for the neighbors.
- Christmas movies – Don’t forget your delicious Christmas colored kettle corn that you made together as a family.
- Crafts – Loads of them, all with GLITTER!
- Baking Cookies – Don’t forget the sprinkles, gotta have something on the floor with the glitter.
- Christmas light viewing – After bedtime, in PJs with hot chocolate, because nothing can go wrong with hot chocolate at bedtime.
- Gingerbread Houses – Awww, who doesn’t love those little inedible houses that NEVER stick together.
The truth is it’s okay to skip some things. Oh, and on the same note, I promise we won’t take your homeschool card if you don’t have your children complete a writing prompt about what it would be like to be a reindeer for Santa.
Confession time…we have NEVER completed a science experiment with candy canes (gasp!), but every year I feel guilty because we didn’t. Fit in the fun when you can, but you don’t have to do EVERYTHING out there. Save some things for next year.
So there you go, my 5 steps to finding some holiday balance. Will this ensure a chaos-free holiday? NO WAY! (I’m not a magician you know.) Hopefully, it will save a bit of your sanity though.
Need someone to share your holiday frustrations with? Head on over to my Facebook page so we can laugh them out together! Just stay away from my Pinterest page, you know it’s dangerous over there this time of year. 😉