How the unstoppable mompreneur easily creates sparkle & maintains her sanity over the holidays!
Mompreneurs have an especially challenging month during December. While you’re wrapping up your business goals, finalizing sales, planning for the coming year and juggling your finances, you are also called to manage the home fires, shop, entertain, and support your family and their crazy schedules this time of year. It’s no wonder so many mompreneurs feel burned out and empty. Here are 9 tips to help save your sanity this holiday season!
- Set Reasonable Expectations – One of the biggest contributing factors to mompreneur burnout is that most of us are overachievers. (Raising my hand here…) – and that, coupled with over-the-top expectations is a recipe for disaster when the holidays show up. The truth is, you only have time for what you have time for. No one will grant you more than 24 hours in a day. That said, the single most powerful way to get the most out of the holidays is to sit down with yourself and have a heart to heart conversation about your own expectations. One of the best ways to do this is to define two things for yourself, your business, and your family:
- Define ‘enough’ for you and your family: This definition, applied to nearly everything in your business and home is a very valuable understanding for you to have. When you know what enough is (in terms of gifts, budget, time with friends, work, parties, engagements, family time… etc.), you can make better decisions and set reasonable boundaries.
- Identify & defend ‘non-negotiables’: Non-negotiables are the proverbial lines in the sand, or the unwavering boundaries invisible to the world, but very tangible to you. Identifying your non-negotiables and sharing those with your closest family and friends will help you protect and defend them this holiday season. By doing so, you’ll be much happier!
- Create ‘Me’ Time DAILY – The formula I am trying to support now is to begin with my OWN needs for health and exercise. I’ve literally begun the practice of meditation and exercise in my day, and I can feel a difference in every part of my life. My husband has a saying: “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy…” this is so true. When I’m burned out and ragged, not much goes well. I don’t feel like cooking healthy meals, I’m off my game, I don’t have a plan, it’s hard to catch up… and the list goes on. The fact is, if I don’t take care of me, the very reasons that drove me to launch my business in the first place such as flexibility, availability, and support for my family disappear. It doesn’t matter if you only have 20 minutes a day. SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOU.. EVERY SINGLE DAY! (Yes, that is me screaming at you…)
- Plan Your Big Events Early – If you want to be happy and sane this holiday season work backward from the big events. family traditions and commitments, blend in religious customs and any obligations, add kid’s concert and performance schedules, then add any other scheduled events, parties and gatherings will blend in from there.
- Schedule Date Night – While on a recent vacation with our extended family, my husband and I had a late night custom – we met at one of the restaurants on board the cruise ship for a late night snack at midnight… and although the cruise was amazing, grand, awesome, fun and decadent, my favorite times were the quiet times we had alone together. After all, date nights help you reconnect to your source…. love… and it’s all built on that. If you haven’t yet, schedule at least one-holiday date with your partner this season. Even if it’s just a walk in the woods during a crisp day – you’ll cherish the moments.
- Follow the 3 D’s for Holiday Decorating – The 3 D’s stand for Decorate, Ditch or Donate. While putting up your decorations this year, streamline your collection. There are plenty of donation repositories such as the Salvation Army stores, consignment or second-hand shops and shelters that will happily receive your discards. But follow these three steps to determine your donations. 1. If you love it, Decorate with it! 2. If its broken, ugly or trashed – Ditch it! 3. If you haven’t used it in 2 seasons, or it no longer fits in your style or taste – Donate it! And if it’s sentimental, take a picture of the item(s) and scrap it!
- Get Help From Others – Some of the best ideas I know come from my friends. When our kids were young, often my friends and I would share and swap certain tasks to lighten our loads. One may watch the kids or take them to the park, while the other focused on errands, and another went to the grocery store for all of us. I’ve also seen moms successfully share and co-op in certain chore tasks such as organizing a closet or pantry, while another cooks meals, or cleans and vacuums. Working together makes even the most mundane tasks easier to manage. A co-op of 2-4 means that you can rotate tasks and homes every couple of weeks and help each other out.
- Enlist Those Kids – Depending on the ages of your children, it’s best to create age-appropriate tasks, chores and holiday traditions that each can handle. It is important for the child to make the task reasonable and ‘doable’ so they are encouraged and successful rather than stopped due to a tasks’ difficulty or complexity. Assigning certain tasks and traditions to children during this time of year helps lighten your load and really contributes to their level of success, happiness, and commitment to the holiday traditions.
- Create Meaningful Traditions – Kids remember the traditions more than they remember the presents. Creating traditions like recipes, music, certain ways you decorate and set up your home over the holidays all last longer than any gift you’ll give. Sit down with your family and discuss the traditions that matter. Allow your children to hold you to them yearly.
- Gifting – After working many years with private clients to declutter and simplify, gifting has changed it’s meaning to me. I used to be known as the gift giver – working so hard to find something for everyone. Now, I work from a very specific plan and have lightened my commitment to purchasing around the holidays. To make gifting work, it has to make sense in your budget and be reasonable and meaningful. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Brainstorm a Master Gift List for everyone you wish to give a gift
- Keep Inexpensive Hostess Gifts On Hand – Tis the season to party. There are invariably impromptu gatherings, luncheons, cocktail parties etc. that popup. I love to have a few bags of special chocolates, handsoaps or useful gifty items on hand to tuck into the car as I visit friends and attend gatherings. I set my budget at $20 for the season and purchase small items that make nice hostess gifts.
- Remember – It’s the thought that counts – a nice, heartfelt card can be more meaningful than a gift.
- Model behaviors from the start – When you purchase gifts for your children and smaller families, consider that you are conditioning them to behave and respond in a certain way. Be sure you are modeling the behaviors that your values support.
- Home-made beats store bought – My favorite gifts are the homemade ones.
- Exchange names for large groups & families – Exchanging gifts helps keep the meaning in place but is a less financial burden. Get together for a gathering and pot luck to make it complete!
- Use a small Notebook to keep all your receipts – As soon as the purchasing begins, I pick a small hand-held notebook up at the local Dollar Store and staple any receipts into it to keep with me – One per page. I jot down what the item was, and who it was purchased for and note if there is a return policy, deadline or restrictions for easy access.
- Schedule errand days – Be sure to schedule time to return any unwanted items after the holidays within the return time frames. Most stores allow a 30-day return policy, but be sure to check your receipts and policies.
What are some of your special sanity strategies for surviving the holidays? PLEASE share them below so other readers can benefit from your wisdom.