Dear Young Mama Of Tiny People,
I hear you in the bathroom, locked behind the door and trying to unwrap a piece of chocolate with shaky fingers. I see you on Instagram, admitting where you failed and showing us your sad eyes and the crumbs in your hair. I read your Facebook status, the one where you can’t figure out how to get everything done with the little people under foot.
Oh, honey. I hear ya.
If you had time, I’d pet your hair and ply you with coffee and speak in soothing tones. But you’re short on time these days and I know those holidays are looming large on your calendar. You’ve got lists a mile long of obligations and cute things you pinned on Pinterest to do for your tiny people.
And that’s really sweet of you. You’re a good mama who is anxious to make good memories for her people and to celebrate with her loved ones. Well done, you!
But lemme put it to you straight: Do. Less. Stuff.
Lower your expectations for what is humanly possible in one day. Now think about how many toddlers you have and lower them again.
You have all the reasons in the world (imagine me pointing to those sticky little fingers that even now are exploring your nose while you read) to say “no” right now, even to yourself when you want to do something fun. If it makes you yell, it’s a No. Every time. Gotta take food to X place and know that you will end up screaming while you cook? “No, I can’t right now. We will swing by and pick up a bucket of chicken.”
If baking cookies and watching your kids sling sprinkles all over the kitchen is going to make you yell today? Then no. Don’t do it. Always choose the relationship with your kids over the Advent activity that makes you scream. Always choose the Simple over the Pinnable.
Listen, the only person who expects you to accomplish All The Things on that list? Is you. You must extend to yourself the grace that others are already extending in your direction.
You can apologize for showing up with the grocery store cupcakes if you want, but you don’t have to say you’re sorry for choosing your kids and your sanity over perfectly piped buttercream icing. You know what? The lady at the bakery can pipe buttercream beautifully, too, but she can’t read Thomas the Train with the proper voices like you can. Everybody at the party knows that. So apologize if you want. But you don’t have to say you’re sorry for choosing wisely.
Look me in the face at my serious eyes: This is not your season to do all the things, some of the things, or most of the things. It is your season to do A Thing. I tell you that not to be a downer but to let you know that you will slay the crazies in your mind and the guilt that you feel when you flip your lid if you will pick ONE thing per morning. ONE thing for the afternoon. And rejoice if everyone is still alive at the end of the day.
Ready for some good news? Your small people who make everything hard? Because God is a gracious God to us tired mamas, they won’t remember this. They won’t remember that you yelled yesterday. They also won’t remember the Elf on the Shelf or the terrifying visit to Santa’s lap from your list of Fun Things To Accomplish. Nope. They’re just going to remember a warm, fuzzy, maybe slightly squishy version of Mama. They’re going to remember you were THERE.
So put up some lights, because those are magically soothing to young babes, and cross everything else off your list. Say NO to more this season. Your family traditions and “making memories” can wait another year, until that toddler is out of diapers or the baby quits nursing every half hour. This holiday? This season?
Just be. Be warm, be fuzzy, be slightly squishy. Be in the moment, be on the couch sniffing the baby’s head, Be Still.
Do less stuff.
And then tell me all about it on Instagram…