It was the best of time, it was the worst of times…
If you’re a total fan of Charles Dickens, you’ll know that those are the immortal words of opening narration of “A Tale of Two Cities.” Or, if you’re like me and you can’t stand anything written by Charles Dickens (except for “A Christmas Carol”), you might simply think that those words are talking about the holiday season.
Right around August, we all start freaking out because just as the back to school retail displays are clearing out, it’s time to get ready for Halloween, sometimes a full two months in advance. And this year, my son Evan gave me a challenge.
Mommy, this year, I want our house to be really decorated for Halloween!
Um, okay, I thought, knowing that I hate tacky decorations almost as much as I hate crafting them myself. But I did my best. I put a ghost on our lamp post. I hung a bat above our door. I set up our spooky tree and put candy corn lights on our bushes.
It was almost perfect. All I needed to do was carve all seven of our pumpkins (yes, we only have three people in our family – not sure what we were thinking), put up our spiderwebs, and make really amazing costumes.
In reality, I got two of my pumpkins carved and helped Evan with two of his.
I forgot to put up the spiderwebs, forgot to light my special Halloween candle from Yankee Candle, and even forgot to take a picture of Evan dressed up for Halloween this year. I FORGOT TO TAKE A PICTURE OF MY CHILD IN COSTUME.
Sounds like a total mom fail, right?
But I don’t believe in mom fails. We put enough pressure on ourselves to take care of our families which means cleaning the house, doing laundry, cooking healthy nutritious meals, running our kids around to extracurricular activities, walking our dogs, and getting EIGHT hours of sleep while we also work and work out.
I don’t know about you but I’m not winning in any of those areas.
So how do you stay unstoppable during the holidays (when it’s only going to get worse)?
At Thanksgiving, we need to not only cook for TWENTY people but also make sure we’re paying attention to our highly allergic nephew, our vegetarian sister, and our extremely picky child. We also need to make sure we’ve consulted Pinterest for the most amazing, homemade Thanksgiving centerpiece (yes, I do actually have a Pinterest board for this), and have a magazine ready table setting.
Then, in the blink of an eye, you have to clean all that up, put up your holiday decorations all while buying the perfect gifts for everyone we know and staying within a budget.
It sounds almost impossible when you look at the season as a whole. And that’s where you have to stop and give yourself a break.
On Halloween, I almost got stopped by more than improper decorating. After rushing home from a day out, I had to feed and walk the pets, get my son’s costume ready, get his dinner ready, figure out a costume for ME to wear, all while managing the front door with early trick or treaters.
After my husband made it home, we walked out the door and started canvassing the neighborhood. In less than two hours, we made it back home with tired feet and a full bag of candy. We invited a few neighbors over for a little bit of wine while our kids watched a Halloween movie. Shortly before bedtime, Evan looked at me and said, “Mommy, this was the best Halloween ever.”
He didn’t care that my costume was a wrinkled mess from twenty years ago that I had pulled out of the box. And nobody seemed to notice that we didn’t have all of our pumpkins carved. And even though our ghost got shredded in the wind and the bat got tangled up, it all seemed festive even without the forgotten spiderwebs.
With all this in mind, my advice to you this holiday season is to not get caught up in having everything done or in having everything done perfectly. Take the time to enjoy what you’ve got and know that your kids will remember their time with you more than they’ll remember the perfect Yankee Candle on Halloween.
How are you an Unstoppable Mom during the holiday season? I’d love to hear your tips for staying sane!