Psst! We don't have to wear these ridiculous hats. Seriously. Who better to tell moms how to keep it together than other moms? This month, Shine's Parenting Gurus blew us away with their totally helpful, sometimes snort-worthy advice on getting through the holidays with most of our brains intact. Here's a short list of our favorite suggestions:
1) Annoying family? Get a strategy! Meagan's great "Dealing with parent critics over the holidays" is a perfect start, while RRG Mama offers up this genius tidbit: "Before you see someone you know will push your buttons, make a list of all the things you think they'll do to raise your blood pressure. Then, when Uncle Fred tells the same old hideously embarrassing story, pats all the female guests on the rear, and teaches the kids how to belch "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," remind yourself that it's nothing new. It cannot consume you - it was on the list."
2) Skip the latest, greatest, hottest toy. That stuff they say about the box being better? Manic Motherhood has lived through it, and has good reasons for you not to do the same.
3) Get the word "perfection" out of your vocabulary! For Sarah Lynne, that means accepting the flawed-but-great-for-us plastic tree, while for Amy, it's tapping into the joy of family decorating, even if "the red light bulb for the front porch and the big "Ho's" to hang in the front window looked a bit more Amsterdam than North Pole…"
4) Give your kids just one gift each. Sound crazy? Check out Melanie's post and now tell us who is crazy.
5) "Avoid the mall the entire month of December. Figure out the dollar amount you're willing to pay for your sanity and make peace with spending it in shipping fees," says FitsNGiggles, following with this awesome logic: "This is why Al Gore invented the internet."
6) "Slow down with puzzle pills," says Tina. "Bring out your card table, set it in the high-traffic area of your house, and plop down a few puzzle boxes. Your family will suddenly remember to stop, chill-ax and slow their pace while they put together that 1000-piece puzzle your Aunt Fanny gave you way back when."
7) Give yourself a little leeway-everyone else will. As Jerri puts it, "I actually enjoy the annual opportunity to go a little nuts. People are more forgiving of madness during the month of December and I take full advantage of that."
8) Just say no to doing more than you want to, says A.C., who just doubled her foster mom duties by taking on two more kids, but draws the line at too many parties. (Did we mention we love your priorities, A.C.?)
9) Opt out of the madness. For Clare that means ignoring some of the hustle and bustle to just make a nice, simple day for her daughter. "Is my kid kind of getting the shaft here? Oh maybe. But she still absolutely loves this season and lights up on Christmas morning." Likewise, Lyn advises: Keep the focus on family!
10) Get a little Zen, especially if it makes you laugh. For inspiration, check out how going to Pilates class without her cell phone makes Julie actually relax, or follow Kathy's suggestions on "How to eat an elephant." (That's "one bite at a time," according to Kathy and preferably with a big fork, according to us.)
11) Don't spend Christmas in the car! As Mommyfriend oh-so-wisely points out, giving your immediate family a full day of attention is better than trying to please everyone else for half an hour.
12) Share the responsibilities. For Boston Irish, that means getting up the tree together, for Nicole, that means getting friends together for a gift wrapping party, and for Older Than You, that means getting hubby to help with the big deal things, like buying presents.
13) "Tell everyone you're going out of town, and don't!" says Carpool Mom, thereby making us snort over our morning tea, and hatch an evil plan for next year...
14) Remember that other things still matter, too. Last but not least, this month's winner for the Solving a Problem We Didn't Know Could Be Named, Let Alone Solved prize (yup, it's a pretty big, awkward award) goes to Maya Hope's Mom, whose fantastic "Dancing the Birthday/ Holiday Mambo" addresses the needs of those of us whose birthdays fall way too close to Christmas (ahem) and therefore get completely ignored (AHEM). If this applies to you or anyone you love, help is just one click away.