It’s that time of year again. Ads are showing happy families, relatives are hugging each other and everyone is sitting down to eat for the holidays. But what did they leave out of the picture? Mom stressing out.
Matriarchs, especially working ones, must balance a lot and that tends to intensify during busy times like the holidays. Why?
- Because the average working mom is running 23 minutes short of the time she needs for herself, and that’s before adding in a major family holiday or gathering,
- Because many moms are expected to create, coordinate and even cook the holiday feast which isn’t part of their normal day job,
- Because she knows the dinner table may be fueled by family feuds, political conversations that turn into arguments, adult children still into sibling rivalry and grown-ups acting like children because their parents are around.
So, if you love a working mother, here’s what she wants:
1. For you to save the arguments or disagreements for another day.
No need to add an extra layer of tension before or during the holiday. If you see an argument about to break out, be the meditator and help solve the situation by suggesting: “Let’s talk about this another time” or “Today is about love and family.”
2. For you to just do it! Don’t ask.
Bring food, assist in clean-up or create entertainment with old family photos or board games. Anything you can do to take the burden off mom is a big help.
3. For you to stick to a routine.
Kids may act out when they’re out of their routine or if they’re overtired. Make sure to keep to their normal schedule or figure out how to accommodate them during dinner.
And if you are Mom, here are some gifts you can give yourself:
1. Manage your expectations.
Things are seldom perfect, especially when they involve a lot of people! It’s okay if things don’t go according to plan. Learn to roll with the punches instead.
2. Take nothing personally.
My grandmother had a poem that went: “Everything they say and do, is information about them, not you”. If things go array, understand it’s not your fault and, therefore, you shouldn’t feel bad about it.
3. Treat your family like friends.
Be patient, considerate, ask questions, listen to the answers and remind yourself that they will go home soon.
4. Expect yourself to be short on time.
In anticipation of a bustling gathering, don’t over schedule yourself and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
5. Don’t compare.
There’s no need to compare your holiday celebrations with those of your neighbors, friends, coworkers or even yourself from years prior. Measuring yourself against anyone or anything else can add an extra layer of tension and stress, which is the last thing you need.
6. Find time to actually enjoy.
When you’re head down in planning, it’s easy to get caught up in on the task at hand. Make sure to pause often, focus on the moment and enjoy yourself, the company and the food.
Whether you’re the one hosting or you’re the one attending, find ways to help each other out. The holidays might not always be easy and may not run as smoothly as you want, but in the end, it’s about bringing people together, the memories you make and the traditions you honor or create.
This article originally appeared on Fairygodboss. As the largest career community for women, Fairygodboss provides millions of women with career connections, community advice and hard-to-find intel about how companies treat women.