It’s a manic time. Some of it is fun. Lots of it is high pressure. And sometimes you just creep through to Christmas completely exhausted and in need of drying out and a meal at home.
I once realised on December 19 that I’d attended so many Christmas functions that I hadn’t eaten a meal with a knife and fork for about three weeks. I’d survived entirely on meals consisting of hors d’ouevres and champagne.
Those were the days.
Today, planning during December is a precision event. When’s your work do? And the larger team function? Oh yes and the one you’ve been invited to at your old work? And then there’s the mothers group Christmas, a family function or two, and December is gone. Without even mentioning your kid’s social commitments and school graduation ceremonies.
For working mums, you can feel particularly stretched because the Christmas function may not be held on your work day, and you want to do the things stay at home mums do too. If Santa visits your day care centre, is it on a day your child usually attends? It’s a lot to organise.
Here are some tips to help you survive the silly season.
1. Book some babysitting now. If you haven’t already, stop reading and call your babysitter. And your back up babysitter. The last Friday in December is in high demand. Call today. You will use that free night for something, I promise.
2. Work out between you and your partner/hubby/babysitter which events are REALLY important. Do you mind if you miss your Christmas function? Some people don’t, and getting sleep and proper meals is more important. It’s ok to admit this but if you do love a night out with your colleagues, schedule it in.
3. Schedule in all the other crazy stuff too. Like a night at home online to complete your gift purchases. That time doesn’t happen automatically. If you send Christmas cards, or a Christmas email, schedule it in too. Do you need your eyebrows waxed? Make an appointment now. If it’s booked up with Christmas parties for you and your kids, it won’t happen – or it will happen at midnight on some evening in mid-December. Stressful for everyone.
4. Remember all the stuff that makes your life work every other month of the year. Exercise. Meal planning. Catching up on Glee. It’s all still a good idea.
5. Notwithstanding point 4, give yourself a break. Sometimes doing everything just isn’t possible. Can’t prepare something from scratch for the mother’s group Christmas party? Stop in at your local bakery instead. Shortcuts are ok and an essential way of protecting your mental health – as important this month as ever.
Your December calendar might look a bit crazy. My husband and I send appointment requests to each other’s work diaries when we need to book a night out. Clashes get discussed in the evenings to sort our priorities. Apologies for the nights we just can’t get babysitting are made as early as we can admit we just won’t make it.
It’s never a perfect system, but it helps us manage the insanity just a little bit!
How do you manage your time commitments during December?