Grumble, gripe, and moan seems to be the less than merry refrain from nearly every woman I’ve encountered in the past week, as the break-neck pace of parties, school events, shopping, decorating, planning and scheming, card-addressing, and baking hurtles us toward Christmas. Women as a whole make Christmas happen, seemingly holding up way more than half the proverbial holiday sky. It’s a time of year that challenges the ever-teetering balance that we’ve carefully wreaked out for our lives. Yoga class, a daily run, healthy meals, time to sit and breathe, or any other form of hard-sought self-care seems to vanish like snowflakes in Dallas. What’s a mother—or any other woman, for that matter—to do?
Change that harried voice in your head, the one that says either “I’ll never get everything done” or “I can’t stand this craziness.” Here’s some new phrases to try:
Mantra #1: It will all get done. Just like one of my favorite lines from Shakespeare in Love, one of my favorite movies: “It all works out—magically.” That’s paraphrasing, but you get the gist of it.
Mantra #2: You are not alone. Every other woman in your age/life group probably feels exactly the same way. Take solace in the fact that we’re all holding up this Christmas sky, shoulder to shoulder.
Mantra #3: You are not a bad person because you hate the crazy preparations. Who can enjoy such stress?!! Try another version of one of my favorite mantras: love the kid, hate the job. You can love the end result, and still hate the process that gets your loved ones to that magical Christmas moment.
Mantra #4: It will all be over soon, and you’ll survive. Women do. Every year.
Meanwhile, just squeeze in twenty seconds for a great big exhale every hour or so. Calms that revved up fight or flight mechanism and brings a teensy bit of sanity. You’ve got twenty seconds.