Holiday Stress...

No matter how Merry the Christmas season can be, it also comes with a lot of stress, especially when you're a M.O.M. Suddenly, on top of packing lunches, changing diapers, and generally acting as the CEO, COO, and chief secretary of your household- all while trying to not detonate the angry cries of a three year old because- well- you put her shoes on, you're also tasked with shopping for and wrapping dozens of gifts, endless holiday events, and the elusive job of making the season crazy magical for your children. It's enough to make you wish Santa could send some of his elves down to your house to help (and not just the kind that sit on the shelf.)

However, there are some simple ways moms like us can make the holidays more joyful and less anxiety inducing.

1. Find seasonal childcare. Sure, your regular sitter is booked through the New Year, but not all childcare hope is lost. Many gym, kids' play spaces, and park districts offer inexpensive holiday drop-off hours designed just to give moms time to tackle their holiday to-do lists.a. Here are just some ideas in our areai. Adventure Kidsii. Call College Sitters and book them for a few hoursiii. Southlake Moms usually has recommendationsiv. Local college kids home from schoolv. Mom Date-Night swap. One night you watch the kids, another night, your friend does!

2. Have your gifts wrapped. I can be a little anal about gift wrapping... who am I kidding- I use bags! But when I learned about the gift- wrapping services available in our area, suddenly the nicer gifts got even nicer! Even I had to prioritize ease and beauty over the almost too easy bags that take the fun mess out of it all. Splurge on gift wrapping when you shop online or find a local spot that offers the service, and you'll save yourself hours and rolls of tape.a. Here are some of the places that offer the service in our area:i. Paper Source, Southlakeii. The Gift Store, Southlakeiii. Prim and Proper Gifts, Fort Worthiv. Box & Ship, Fort Worth

3. Manage your kids' expectations. Sure, Santa is magic, but that doesn't mean he's endlessly generous. Make sure your kids know that not everyone gets a Star Wars Drone, Bey Blades (I had to google that when I saw the lists) or Hatchimal under the tree. Also, have your family donate toys, food, and time to those in need to help teach our littles about the reason for the season: giving, not receiving.

4. Don't say yes to every invitation. Between holiday parties for work and school, get-togethers with friends and family, Santa visits, light shows, concerts, and local Christmas walks, it can feel like there's a hardly a minute to actually sit back and enjoy the season. Give yourself permission to RSVP no to the next party you're invited to and to pick just one or two family-focused holiday events that you all enjoy. The best holiday memories, after all, come from spending time with your loved ones, not from the bell choir/Christmas tea/freezing lights tour you force your kids to attend

5. Limit gifts, especially for adults. Once you have little ones in your life, gifts for every single adult in your life can seem a little ridiculous. Suggest to grown-up friends and family that you limit how much you give and spend. Just be sensitive that kid-less family members might feel slighted if they're giving to your kids and getting nothing in return

.6. Celebrate your inner kid. Go make a snow angel, blast your favorite Christmas music, sit on Santa's lap, or buy yourself a generous "to me, from me" gift, wrap it, and put it under the tree. Whatever it is, find that one thing that has always brought you holiday joy and embrace it!


Carly Alacahan