The Secret to Holiday Magic is Self-Care

christmas-2910468_640I read an unsettling article on The Huffington Post entitled Holiday Magic Is Made By Women. And, It’s Killing Us.

The writer is honest about all of the ways in which the holidays, more importantly, preparing for the holiday magic, tug at her, until she is left feeling depleted, empty, with nothing left to give.

I felt so sad and helpless as I read about her experience. I also felt anger.

Most of us have been her at one point in time as we try to make everything perfect for the people we love. We do it so they can enjoy this festive season and have memories to cherish as they grow up and grow old. There’s so much magic to the holidays and we want those we love to experience all of it. We do this out of love. It’s a beautiful thing.

What’s not so beautiful is the cost. When was this unspoken expectation that it’s mom’s job to make the holiday magic born?

I asked my husband if he would do half the things the writer listed in her article for the holidays. He responded with a resounding “No fn way.” “Why not?” “Why?”

Why? indeed. It seems men understand the magic of the holidays, but aren’t prepared to burden themselves with it. Because my husband also doesn’t expect me to do it, when I prompted him further. So, why do I feel the need to do it?

December is upon us, and while some are completely ready for the holiday magic, others (like me) are still in the midst of preparing. This article served as a reminder that unless I take care of me, slow down and enjoy the holidays myself, no one around me will either.

So here’s to all the moms that make things happen. The extra touches are always nice, but are they truly necessary? Perhaps, if you’re feeling stretched during your holiday preparation time, take a moment to ask yourself, is this truly necessary?

The holidays are a time for magic, however they are also a time for family and friends. Hopefully this will help when we are in the midst of wrapping, baking, checking off the to-do list. And, in that moment of self-care, when we fill ourselves up so we can fill up the others who need us, we will feel the holiday magic.

How do you plan on making time for yourself during December? Tell me in the comments!

Wishing you a great, restful and magical few weeks before Christmas!

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I Don’t Share My Meals With My Child/No Comparto Alimentos Con Mi Hijo

(Abajo para el español)

Call it selfish.  Call it egocentric and self-centered.  Call it whatever you want – but I don’t like sharing my meals, especially with my son.

I watch as his father and grandparents love giving him food off their plate – sharing the best parts of their dinner with our boy. It is amusing to watch him open his mouth wide to receive the yummiest spoonfuls from their plates.  A few times he has affectionately cuddled into their laps and shares in their meal once he has finished his own.

When it comes to mommy’s plate…not much is really freely given.

At first I thought there was something wrong with me.  Really, Karen?  Really, you can’t share a bite of food with your little boy – to whom you give EVERYTHING?

And there was my answer.

I do give everything of me to my son.  My days and nights revolve around him.  His activities, his emotional, physical, moral and educational needs are at the forefront of every decision I make, of every action I take.  His comfort and well-being is my priority always.

So, when I refuse to share my dinner with him it’s my way of keeping something for myself.  Of reminding myself that I matter too.  This is a lesson that parenting has taught me quite clearly – but that’s another post for another day.

I think every mother keeps something to herself – something to remind her that she too matters.  And, I don’t mean the big things – like time to exercise, time with friends, leaving them an extra hour at day care for “me time”, or even separate vacations.  I mean little things in the daily grind, like not sharing food, keeping a secret chocolate stash or extra t.v. time for them while a steamy book is read.

After all, a happy mommy equals a happier child and a happier home.

What are the small ways you stay happy (and sane) every day to remind yourself that you matter?

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En español

Digamos que es egoísta. Digamos que es egocéntrico. Llámalo como quieras – pero no me gusta compartir mi comida con mi hijo.

Veo que su padre y sus abuelos les encanta darle comida de su plato – dando las mejores partes de su cena a nuestro hijo. Es divertido ver cómo abre su boca para recibir las cucharadas más delicioso de sus platos. Algunas veces se sienta cariñosamente y recibe la comida de sus familiares una vez que ha terminado la suya.

Cuando se trata del plato de la mamá … no mucho se le da muy libremente.

Al principio pensé que había algo malo en mí. Realmente, Karen? Realmente, no puedes compartir un bocado de comida con tu niño – a quien le doy todo?

Encontré mi respuesta.

Doy todo de mí a mi hijo. Mis días y noches giran a su alrededor. Sus actividades, sus necesidades emocionales, físicas, morales y educativas son la vanguardia de todas las decisiones que tomo, de todas las acciones que tomo. Su comodidad y su bienestar es mi prioridad siempre.

Así que, cuando me niego a compartir la cena con él, es mi manera de guardar algo para mí. De recordárdme a mí misma que yo soy importante. Esta es una lección que la maternidad me ha enseñado muy claramente – pero eso es otro post para otro día.

Creo que cada madre guarda algo para sí misma – algo para recordarle que ella también es importante. Y, no me refiero a las cosas grandes – como el tiempo para hacer ejercicio, pasar tiempo con las amigas, dejar los hijos una hora extra en la guardería para tener “tiempo para mí”, incluso tomar vacaciones por separado. Me refiero a las pequeñas cosas en la rutina diaria, como no compartir alimentos, mantener un alijo de chocolate secreto o alargar el tiempo para ellos ver television, mientras que un libro bueno se lee.

Después de todo, una mamá feliz mantiene a un niño feliz y un hogar feliz.

¿Cuáles son las pequeñas cosas que te hacen contenta (y cuerda) todos los días para recordar que eres importante?