It was about 7 o'clock in the morning. I had a batch of holiday biscotti, intended as a gift for teachers and neighbors, baking in the oven while wrapping paper adorned the kitchen table. I was making a mental checklist of how I would orchestrate the day to get my work, shopping and classroom parties accomplished. I was holding a hot iron, just unplugged after straightening school clothes, in my left hand and a wine glass, from the night before, to the right. I ran down the stairs to start breakfast for the boys. I slipped on the top step, careened down the stairs and ended-up in a pained heap in the front hallway. I laid there and cried.
"I'VE HAD IT WITH THE HOLIDAYS," I sobbed - tired, distracted and over-wrought.Then, I felt guilty. And alone. Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.But, it turns out, another mom, Desperate in DC author Phoebe Thompson, understands the sentiment and even refers to herself as The Grinch. "The funny thing is, I used to feel bad and think something was wrong with me for feeling like The Grinch. I've been trying to analyze it for years and now I'm just comfortable with it," says Thompson. "For me, Christmas was great when I didn't have to organize it."She, like many of us, is somewhat of a perfectionist: "I want the tree to look pretty and the house to look great but it never does and I just feel like a failure."But, her writing partner and co-author, Crystal Walker, calls herself the "Merry Mother" and offers these tips to get through the season.*FAKE IT UNTIL YOU FEEL IT. "As a harried mother and wife, I think we can say, 'Let's think of all of this over-the-top-nonsense as a way to enjoy capturing our children at a special age,'" says this mom of four. Really, it is all about the kids, right? Simple joys and togetherness. Keep thinking: magic, magic, magic!*ASK KIDS TO BE ELVES. "Let's think of it as a time when we can be jolly, we can ask them to do things like help us wrap the gifts or plan the menu," says Walker. *TREAT OURSELVES IN JANUARY. Let's be honest, life never slows down. But, when vacation ends, the kids return to school and the decorations go back to the attic, we should take time for MOM. "We should be able to carve out that one hour for ourselves, doing something we consider decadent in our ordinary lives," says Walker, suggesting a manicure, pedicure or massage at the spa...ALONE.Thompson, has some tips, as well.*PRACTICE THE POWER OF "NO." If the party invitations and volunteer requests are too much, just say NO. "If you feel uncomfortable saying 'no', schedule a little out-of-town trip mid-season," laughs this mom of two. It's OK to eschew unrealistic obligations and expectations.*ONE-TO-ONE RULE. When it comes to shopping, don't forget yourself. "For every gift I get someone else, I get another fabulous trinket that I may not give to someone and it becomes mine," says Thompson.*TRY SOMETHING NEW. For the first time, Thompson is starting a theme of international holidays. This year, she's focusing on Sweden, decorating the house with wreaths of candles while cooking-up new foods. "Basically it will be an IKEA Christmas," she says, excited to shake things up.The truth is: I don't hate the holidays. I absolutely love seeing my boys wrapped-up in the spirit of the season on the North Pole Express. I tear-up every time they race to the hearth to find their gifts from Santa Claus. Now that they are 11 and 9, I am seeing a change...some of the magic is ending. And, that makes me sad. So, I'm embracing the whole thing, as long as I can...appreciating the homemade gifts from my wonderdul sons, the twinkling lights and the beautiful holiday cards from old friends, arriving each day in the mail.But, make no mistake, I'm getting that massage. January 5th.I can't wait.