Ah, the holidays. It’s that time of year where, until a few years ago, I’d run around wasting a lot of time wishing for a lot of selfish things:
- I wish I were more creative and talented.
- I wish I could sew.
- I wish I had more money/more time/more space/did I mention more time and money?
- I wish I could better balance a heavy workload/volunteer work/kid time/friends & family time.
- I wish I could do it all, and do all of it better.
I would wish for these things while I ran circles around myself trying to make the holidays merry, pretty, sparkly perfect while also working a zillion hours and shuttling the kids to and fro. Not sure whose idea of “merry” I was trying to achieve, but it certainly wasn’t mine (and it often wasn’t merry!).
Most women entrepreneurs I meet all want the magic bullet: the one that allows them to do it all, to do it amazingly well, and to do it all with a beaming carefree smile on their faces.
Let me tell you what you already know: there is no magic bullet. Frankly, if there were, I don’t think I would want it. That kind of perfection scares the bejeezus out of me.
As I immerse myself into my eighth holiday season as a mom entrepreneur, I know the trick, as with most challenges in running a business and raising a family, is simply to prioritize, and to listen to my own heart. What’s important to you this month may not be important to me, and vice versa, so let’s stop looking at what other people are doing and allowing their standards to set the bar for our lives, and instead just celebrate the magic in ways that only we can bring to the holidays.
You want to know the single largest potential obstacle likely to hold you back from having a stress-free holiday? YOU. Not your bank account, not me, not Martha, not your neighbor with the perfect holiday light display, not your job. It’s just you. The person looking back in the mirror is either the one who will guide you to a happy, healthy, fun holiday season – or be your ticket to a spiraling staircase of holiday stress. It’s your choice.
More than any other time of year, this is the time when we women entrepreneurs need to huddle in and focus on what we personally do best and what makes us happy. I can’t sew a straight line (more importantly, I don’t have the patience sewing requires), but I can sew enough. I can create more time/more money/more space, I just need to work at it – and be okay with the work it takes to make things important to me happen. The kids’ rooms are complete disasters this month but our afternoons are bursting with fun holiday activities. I can balance it all by prioritizing and holding realistic expectations, but I can’t give everything my 100% every moment of every day — I can just give the task at hand the best I’ve got and that’s good enough.
For me, December is the month of good enough.
Personally? My happy holidays are homemade ones. Not complicated, perfect ones, but good enough ones filled with humming while designing, goofing off with the kids while baking, messy art projects, and an even messier office that serves as Santa’s Workshop. This means I take on a lighter work load and spend less but do more.
If you don’t enjoy any of that, then don’t do it. It’s that simple.
Take your family to the beach for the holidays to avoid the stress of decorating. Skip the holiday cards this year, or start a new tradition of sending New Year’s cards. Write out kind notes to dear friends, bundle them with bags of tea and honey into a mug or make other easy homemade gifts… or opt for gift cards. Do what is fun and makes you happy, and no matter what, others will love it because they love you.
Just as you are your biggest obstacle, yours is also the only opinion that matters. Making this holiday season merry and bright starts and ends with you, so have a happy holiday season, friends!
What do you do to make the holidays merry and bright (and stress-free!)? Please share in the comments!
MOB Mondays = Mom-Owned Business Mondays. Each Monday, I share stories from the trenches of being a mom entrepreneur. If you would like to contribute a MOB Monday post, please email me with your pitch idea and a link to writing samples.