Come Up for Air

The holiday season is officially upon us, pumpkin spice is battling it out with peppermint mocha, and kids are on a constant sugar high. Hallmark is rewarding us with binge-worthy feel-good movies, and shoes are on deep discount at retailers nationwide. As parents, creating joy and seeing smiling faces are the number one goal and ultimate pay off, even if it turns us into balls of stress over perfecting every last memory.

The holidays are merry but they are also HARD. In the pursuit of happiness, mama, do not forget to breathe. Take a break. Let a few things go and take help from willing hands. Come up for air between now and New Year’s.

Growing up, my family celebrated Thanksgiving in non-traditional ways ranging from eating at the all you can eat buffet at Indian restaurants, to fully catered traditional fixings at large gatherings, which were never at our house. As a child I never noticed that we were not at home or that my mom always volunteered to bring the rolls. I took the day for what it was intended, a day of family, and our small family. I get it now; I understand the perspective of keeping the stress level low and the joy level ten. My mom was not in love with the kitchen or entertaining, so she let it go.

I came from a different apple tree, because I personally love having guests circle around our table. If it feels like work, it will be work. The most ironic part though, is the fact that I don’t want to prepare or eat the turkey, ever. For the past few years my husband has dutifully made it perfect by smoking the bird, and before that we’ve ordered one.

If it gets to be too much or I burn all of my pies (admittedly the best part) I know that India Palace will be there for us.

As you run around, or click around for hours on the computer for gifts, decorations, meal ingredients, and toilet paper, take a moment to reflect on what you want. It does not have to a tangible item or something found in a store. Find your happy place while making everyone else happy. For the last two years around Christmas, we have had such amazing nature in our yard, including a big old buck showing off his majestic god-given beauty. Early mornings of silence, with frost still shining on the grass, were between only my coffee and I.

As mamas, we set the bar high, the expectations rising each year as our kids grow. We pressure ourselves into the mold of social media, Pinterest, and our neighbor’s light display.

If lines make you blurt out things that will put you on the naughty list or give you a headache stronger than homemade eggnog, step out of them. If financial pressures are making you dread the day after buyer’s remorse, search resale and secondhand stores. I put the call out to Facebook this year, and as always, fellow moms in the virtual world came through and found exactly what my daughter wants.

Allow yourself joy.

Give yourself a break.

Emily lives in the hill country with her husband of over a decade, two young children and an array of animals. Texas has always been home but she loves to escape it( and the heat) frequently. Road trips were the excuse to buy a minivan, even though she still cannot park it in the lines. Emily is passionate about keeping our planet clean and it’s citizens happy, and instilling these values to her children. Happiness for herself is eating good food, playing games and quiet time to read, or at least go to the bathroom alone. Favorite Restaurant: Cured at The Pearl Favorite Landmark: The Zoo Train at Brackenridge Park Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Fiesta Art Fair