Over the years, I’ve tried to be a lot of different types of mom. I’ve tried to be what the world around me seems to fancy so much: the crafty mom, the baking mom, the activities mom. I’ve tried to please everyone else with little regard for myself. But this year, I decided to give myself a gift. I decided to just say no.
What am I talking about, you ask? Well, let me tell you…
The Crafty Mom
I’ve tried to be the crafty mom. You know the one. She’s the mom who makes all the decorations and ornaments and little trinkets. She’s the mom who has drawers filled with scrapbook paper and glitter glue. She’s the mom who always has a Pinterest worthy project in the mix.
Yep, I’ve tried to be her. And what I’ve learned is that I actually dislike crafting. I dislike it very much. I’m not someone who likes to make all those homemade things. I get annoyed by all the paper, glue, glitter, ribbon, and embellishments. Having drawers or tote bags full of that stuff stresses me out. And sitting down to craft is anxiety producing.
In the past, I’ve traveled to the craft store and purchased numerous items to make the holiday season “fun” for my kids. I’ve purchased kits for snowmen, kits for reindeer, and even kits to make their own snow globes. And I’ve purchased all sorts of other craft supplies to allow imaginations to soar. I tell myself that I’m doing what every mom does, and that I need to just suck it up and craft with them because if I don’t I’m lazy, terrible, Grinch-like, or whatever else… Basically, I have berated myself into doing an activity I don’t enjoy. Who does that?
The Baking Mom
I’ve also tried to be the baking mom. She’s the one that always has homemade cookies both on the counter and in the oven. She’s got frosting made and sprinkles ready to make all the Christmas cutout sugar cookies come to life. She’s the mom who bakes for not just her family, but for the neighbors (the whole block!) and her husband’s coworkers as well. She’s the mom who volunteers to take treats to whatever gathering might be going on.
I’ve tried, but the hard truth of it all is that I really dislike baking. Heck, I dislike cooking in general. And when it comes to baking, if it isn’t an easy mix from a box then I get stressed. I know that following recipes isn’t difficult, but I’ve never enjoyed spending days in the kitchen. I don’t enjoy the actual act of cooking or baking, and I don’t enjoy the mess that results from it all.
In the past, I’ve purchased cookie cutters in all the Christmas shapes, all the ingredients necessary, and I even got myself a rolling pin to do it just right. I’ve scheduled days where I’ve said the Christmas baking was going to happen. And then I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the commitment to do something I loathe that I’ve made myself sick over it. And for what reason?
The Activities Mom
And finally, I’ve tried to be the activities mom. She’s the one who plans to take her family to every holiday event in town. If there is a concert, play, tree lighting, or live nativity scene she is there. And not only is she there, but she is dressed to impress and makes sure her kids have all the necessary Christmas stuff, like candy canes and hot cocoa, to make the night even brighter.
Oh, how I have tried to be this mom! But I can’t. It’s just not me. I am an introvert. Peopling is hard enough for me on an average day, but the extreme amounts of it during the holidays is absolutely exhausting.
In the past, I’ve tried to plan all the activities and make sure my kids see and do just about everything. But the fact is, I don’t like it. And, the confession many moms refuse to make, my kids don’t like it either. Too much is just, well, too much! I get stressed out, overwhelmed, and begin to shut down mentally and physically. It’s not worth it.
The Just Say No Mom
So this year, I gave myself a gift. This year, I gave myself the permission to just say no.
I said no to crafting. I gave the kids the empty wrapping paper tubes and told them that they could make whatever they wanted. Then, I stepped away from it all. That’s right, I left all the crafting to some cardboard tubes. There are no kits and no glitter glue. The kids sat (on their own) at the table laughing and creating and enjoying those silly tubes while I read a book. No one was upset and no one missed the glitter.
I said no to baking. The only holiday item I made was fudge, and that is because fudge is the one thing I actually enjoy making. But I did not bake any cookies. I did not get out that rolling pin. I did not make a batch of anything to send off with my husband to work. Rather, I bought some of those super soft, frosted sugar cookies from a bakery. And when I set them out last night, everyone smiled.
I said no to excessive activities. Rather than going to all the things, we chose only two. We went to watch a light display set to music one night, and today we are going to the Tuba Christmas concert. Both are things the whole family enjoys. And by limiting the activities to the two things we really enjoy, everyone in the house (especially this mom) is a lot more relaxed.
By giving myself permission to just say no, I’ve given myself the ability to enjoy the season more. I may not be what society calls the perfect mom, but I am certainly a less stressed one. And being less stressed makes for a much more enjoyable Christmastime with my family.
Wishing you a less stressed Christmas as well. Happy Holidays!