While we love to talk about the merry and bright side of Christmas, as mothers we know that there are so many other feelings that go along with the season. It’s so stressful. Our to-do lists have doubled and tripled while our bank accounts have not. It’s getting cold and dark outside much earlier and this shortens the hours in our days to get things done.
We put immense pressure on ourselves to make this season “picture perfect,” and in reality most people’s lives are not. Divorce, economy, physical and mental illness, family strife, sickness and just everyday parenting can be extra challenging in the last few weeks of the year.
Personally, I understand this. I’ve moved through so many of these seasons in the last decade. I’ve watched my older children graduate and make their own decisions (and mistakes). My ex-husband and I divorced after 20 years, and all of a sudden, I found myself splitting my children for holidays. Friends and traditions that I once held dear were gone, and my holidays became very silent when they were at their dad’s.
Three years ago, I decided to start over with a wonderful man. We have a beautiful little girl and I’m cherishing ever giggle. Every wide eyed wonder filled face when she sees Santa. All the mess and all the joy. But there are still moments of sadness.
I remember many Christmas seasons when we were very poor. The struggle to just have a few things under the tree. Seeing other people’s happiness in your social media feed can easily cause us to feel sorry for ourselves.
A teenager’s ungrateful attitude or a toddler who’s just at their limits of stimulation. The emotional instability of a family member causing so much chaos on a night where I wanted things to be perfect. So many thing that as mothers we tuck away and put on a brave face for everyone else, when we are really crumbling inside.
No matter what’s going on in your life this season, try these steps for dealing with the holiday blues.
Sadness, depression, melancholy, hormone shifts, hopelessness. Whatever you’re feeling this season, allow yourself to feel it. Don’t push it away and ignore it. Holiday blues are very real. It’s ok to not be overflowing with holiday cheer.
Talk with someone
Text your tribe, call your bestie, tell your partner you need a hug and a mommy time out. I can guarantee you that there are people in your circle that feel the same and understand.
Take a break
Got to Target by yourself, pour a glass of wine and sit on the back porch, go for a run or take a hot bubble bath. CRY. Do what you need and communicate with your partner to make it happen.
Don’t set unrealistic expectations
Your Christmas does not have to look like the neighbors, your perfect sister-in-law’s, or some random TV star. It needs to be yours. Big or small, enjoy where you are and let go of perfect.