Some holidays are high on oxytocin, the mothering hormone that makes you actually love these little people who are running you ragged all year long. Other years the holidays are a matter of survival. Put one foot in front of the other. Focus in on their eyes. Listen to what's actually being said. Tune out the little monologue in your head and help yourself to another plate of turkey--tryptophan as mommy's little helper.
I'm having one of those Thanksgiving weekends this year. Nothing too tragic, just the overall awareness that nothing's perfect and there's more than a little repair work to be done in this fixer-upper life of mine. Here's my Rx for holidays that are more feel-better than feel-good.
Send in for the supersisters. Go ahead, lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes and dial out. Your supersisters can totally hang with a five minute conversation to help you regain your equilibrium. An even better option? See if that tried-and-true friend will do the holidays with you. Everything got easier for me on Thursday when Fatou walked in the door.
Do what's right in front of you. That's right. Focus in on the next task and give it all your attention and love. If that means chopping, chop. If that means sweeping, sweep. By drilling down to this one essential moment, you open yourself up to a new point of view that isn't quite so glum.
Leave the heavy lifting for later. Now is not the time to fix your marriage or figure out the intricate missteps of your complicated childhood. No, leave that for another day when you have time and energy to make real progress. If you really cannot leave your family dysfunction on the back burner for now, throw in a movie and let someone else's fictitious rendition distract you. My dysfunctional family favorites? The Family Stone and One True Thing.
Let a little child lead you. Kids know how to have fun any day of the week, whether the turkey is ready or not. See if you can insert yourself in whatever game or activity has them going right now. A little lego-time, one chapter out of a favorite book, even running around and making noise--all of it will help you get out of your head and into the now.
Eject if necessary. Every mother has years where she needs a little break from all the chaos to get her bearings. Volunteer to run the errand, pick up the butter, take the dog for a walk. Even fifteen minutes out of the house can turn things around in a major way.
What helps you turn the holidays around?