Happy Holidays! It’s the time of year my heart aches for but my Momma heart fears; The Holidays. My childhood memories are filled with so many amazing memories but none quite as fabulous as the magical memory of Christmas. The thing that I now understand though about most Holiday memories is that behind every amazing tradition, decoration or experience is usually a stressed out and almost depleted Momma!
Say ‘no’ more than you say ‘yes’
This year my oldest daughter Charlee is four, meaning she totally gets it. She can conceptualize Christmas, Santa, presents, the whole thing. We can no longer get away with skimping a little on traditions, and we certainly can’t get away with less gifts. I find the hardest part of it all is figuring out a happy medium. How can Momma not lose her marbles, and Charlee and Adeline still experience the magic of Christmas they deserve? To find this balance, I tend to say “no” a lot more than yes! It’s so tempting to say “yes” to every party, every cocktail hour or Christmas party, but it’s just not something we can all do. Here are some ways I find the balance; I hope it inspires you to try to do the same!
Take a ‘mom break’
My biggest “Mom Hack” and the ultimate way to find balance in motherhood ESPECIALLY at this time of year is to take a “Mom break”. There’s really no getting around doing ALL THE THINGS for your family during this time, so it’s important you carve out doing things for yourself. This can look very different depending on your needs, but for me, I like to take 3 hours a week to myself. I hire a sitter and do something I like to do ALL ALONE. It is magical! I get my nails done, meet a friend for brunch, or roam the aisles of Target without my babies by my side needing my attention. This three hour block gives me the energy I need to tackle the week and to get the things done I need to for my family AND myself. Don’t have three hours or the budget to take that break? Run a bath and organize time with your partner or family or friend who can take the kids and give you that time. You really deserve it!
Find your community
If you are unfamiliar with me and my story, I’ll share that my youngest daughter Adeline (16 months) has Down Syndrome. She is thriving, the sunshine in our home and it’s a gift to get to be her Mother. She is healthy but she does require more intervention and care than other neurotypical kids due to her diagnosis. This care does not slow down during the Holidays… It just adds to the chaos.
One thing I find that helps me manage it all is to ask for help. Community is your friend. There are others going through exactly what you are going through and finding that support has saved me. Extra Lucky Moms launched because both Taryn and I found such calm and support from each other and others in the Down Syndrome community. We wanted to pay it forward and create a community where all moms were welcomed with open arms and understanding. Even today I had a 20 minute phone call with a friend in this community who just needed to vent. Sometimes things get tough, but getting it out and sharing with someone who gets it is priceless. Community is everything.
The Holiday season is hectic, but there is room for that magic as long as everyone is able to be present. Moms need their moments too and I encourage everyone to make time for themselves. We deserve it :). Happy Holidays everyone!
For community and support for special needs moms read the Extra Lucky Moms blog here.
She met her husband Matt on a rooftop bar in Manhattan and they were engaged 9 months later. She decided to switch gears in her career and pivoted to the other side of the modeling industry, fashion! Jess worked as a lead stylist for a style-subscription company, in marketing for an international branding agency, and most recently in sales and marketing for a non-profit consultancy.
In 2020, she gave birth to Adeline, who at birth was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. What started as a traumatic and scary diagnosis has propelled her into a life of advocacy and passion for her daughter, the Down Syndrome Community and the special needs community at large. In early 2021, Jess and her business partner Taryn co-founded Extra Lucky Moms. Their mission is to meet Moms in the special needs community wherever they are along their path. They work to provide community, support and programs so all Moms can not only survive but thrive. Jess’s writing has been featured on publications for parenting and Down syndrome awareness as well as podcasts and other speaking engagements.