Mom Talk: Managing Holiday Stress

From baking cookies to decorating and buying gifts for friends and family, the holidays are a busy ““ and stressful time ““ for all parents. The season, however, doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

We asked three busy moms how they keep their stress hormones in check each December. You’ll want to add their tips and tactics to your holiday survival toolkit.

Moms managing the holidays

Plan ahead and get organized

“Christmas is such a magical and exciting time for the children, but an extremely stressful and manic time for me,” said Emma White, a “supermom” of six children and three stepchildren, ranging in age from 19 months old to 15 years old.

With such a hectic household, how does this mom of nine manage the holiday season without going crazy?

“This house thrives on organization and routine. Without it, we would never survive a day,” Emma explains. “With so many children, you always have to be prepared and have activities planned. [Kids] soon get bored and that’s when the mayhem begins. We try to have an activity planned for each day.”

Vivian Kirkfield, mother of three, agrees that organization definitely helps manage the holidays. She recommends planning weekly meals ahead of time and shopping for only the ingredients you need.

“This saves money, because you can look at the store sales circulars and buy sale items and plan your menu around them. Turn on the oven and roast a chicken, make a couple of casseroles . . . In a couple of hours, you will have meals for every dinner and leftovers that will be great for lunches.”

While such planning is key, Emma warns that a certain amount of flexibility is important too.

“Not everything will run like clockwork. A child may become ill on a planned day out. Your hubby may have to go into work. Always have a back-up plan,” she advises.

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