It’s almost Christmas and I see you.
I see all you mamas feeling stressed, feeling overwhelmed, feeling the weight of making Christmas perfect. I see you.
I got back from being gone for 3 weeks and all of a sudden it was half way through December. I hadn’t made neighborhood gifts, printed Christmas cards, or even put up my tree. I was feeling the pressure. I was overwhelmed. I was failing.
That all changed on December 15th.
I don’t think I’ve ever decorated later than December 1st, but this year as December 15th approached I still didn’t have our Christmas tree up. I was excited because it was one of my favorite things to do. My kids were also beyond excited to help this year because they had spent the last couple weeks seeing Christmas trees at all their cousins and grandparents houses. Believe me, I have answered “Why isn’t out tree up yet” approximately 1.2 million times.
My husband brought all the boxes in and before we knew it my kids were putting every decoration we owned on the tree. I turned to my husband and said that we should just let them have fun and we can fix the tree after they go to bed to make it look nice. But… that didn’t happen.
Just as we were getting ready to go to bed we all sat down in the dark as daddy plugged the tree in for the first time. This might be one of my favorite nights in December, I think it was my moms too because we did this growing up and it was always a big deal. As the lights turned on, my daughter turned to me with the biggest smile on her face and said, “Thank you mom! Thank you for the most beautiful, wonderful tree in the world. We made the best tree ever!” Anyone who knows my daughter can just hear the excitement that came out of her. It was then that I realized my husband and I would not be making any changes to the tree. How could I possibly change what was already beautiful to my 4 year old, because, believe me – she would notice.
I had the ugliest tree out there. Literally. Add one more fail to my list- now I’d have to make an excuse every time someone came over. I was overwhelmed with projects for other people and not getting my own stuff done, my husband was working crazy hours and wouldn’t even be home for Christmas. That night after the kids went to bed, I had a sit in my closet and cry night- the ugly cry kind of night.
I was exhausted, and frustrated. December was literally flying past me and I was feeling like I couldn’t get a hold of it. You guys, I am the mom who buys and wraps every gift before Thanksgiving so I don’t feel any need for Black Friday shopping and so I don’t have to set foot in a store in December. To give myself credit, that was done. But I was still feeling like my to do list was so long I wasn’t getting to do all the things I wanted to do for my kids. I was just too tired.
I gave myself a minute to feel bad, cry it out, and then I remembered to breathe. I pulled myself together. I sat down and wrote in my gratitude journal and found more than I could imagine to be grateful for. I could literally feel the stress melting away. Not entirely, I mean I’m still a mom at Christmas time, but I felt better. A lot better.
I was grateful for my children and the fun they had decorating the tree.
I was grateful for the neighbors I had who I cared enough about to want to take them gifts and send cards.
I was grateful for the skills I had to help others, even if it kept me busy.
I was grateful for my husband’s job that provided for my family, despite the long hours.
I was grateful for the time spent with family this year, even if it had me back home well into the holiday season.
I was grateful for my Savior, the one person who can take the burdens off my shoulders. The brother who is always there to pick me up when I fall down. The friend who listens and loves unconditionally to everything I think and feel. The one who this season was all about. I was grateful for Him and the peace he brings into my home.
My list went on and I was even starting to be grateful for that tree. The ugliest Christmas tree out there, because it represented two children who loved me and wanted to help me decorate. It represented two children who found beauty in even the ugliest of Christmas trees.
I made a list for the holidays of everything I needed to do – and then I took a marker and crossed off everything I didn’t actually need to do. I simplified. I was grateful. I decided I was enjoying this Christmas without the pressure of Christmas, because I have all I need, all I want, and I don’t have to live up to any expectations except my own. That right there brought so much peace. I was enough. My family was everything I could possibly want this year and we were happy. I had everything I needed to make Christmas perfect right in my home.
To the other mamas sitting in their closets, I see you. I feel you. I get you. Get a notebook out and write down everything you are grateful for. Make your list of everything you have to do before Christmas, then cross off everything weighing you down that don’t need to do. You now have your new list.
Put your to-do list next to your gratitude list and make this Christmas the Christmas you were enough, the Christmas where only the important things mattered.
What are you grateful for?