What Are Your Holiday Challenges as a Working Mom?

What are your holiday challenges as a working mom, ladies? Do you find that because you have kids in the picture you feel more of a need to do seasonal decor (above and beyond a Christmas tree)? Do you find that your diet is under attack because every kid-related event you go to has some sort of sweet treat? (Or a neighbor brings holiday cookies, or you just end up going to more holiday parties as a working mom than you did before having kids?) If you have a kiddo who’s active with clubs and activities — or otherwise knows a lot of adults, either as caregivers, instructors, therapists (such as speech/OT/PT), or more — then is there more of a strain on you to come up with “thoughtful” holiday cards and teacher gifts? (Is anyone else fielding a million questions from well-intentioned relatives regarding presents to get your kid that largely amount to research projects for you?) Are you also under stress at work with year-end goals and projects (or do you have a relatively quiet office)?holiday challenges for working mothers Do you have any year-end projects you foist on yourself or your family, such as organizing family photos from the past year enough for a family holiday card, a 2018 calendar, or more?

We played our game of “do, delegate, or nope” last year and rounded up some holiday delegating ideas — has anyone put those into play this year?

For my $.02: I’m still kind of “nope” on the Elf on the Shelf — he’s been hiding behind a chair for about a week now and my kids haven’t found him, so clearly I’m #winning. I definitely feel more of an obligation to put up seasonal decor than I ever did before I had kids — I didn’t even bother with my own Christmas tree until J was 2! I do try to force myself to go through all of the family photos for the past year to pull a holiday card (um, which I still haven’t even ordered yet) as well as several calendars for the next year (wall- and desk-sized). (I’m also going to try to force myself to do a photo album for 2017 while it’s fresh in my head… since I haven’t done one yet for 2015 or 2016. Well, we’ll see.) I’m also going to try to start the review of our finances for the past year for our itemized deductions — but maybe that can wait until January. I’ve been pondering trying to do a kid-related craft for the various adults the kids deal with (now that my second son, H, is in preschool it seems like there are a zillion people), but I may just do a small gift card and a family holiday card and call it a day.

Do tell, ladies: what are your biggest holiday challenges as a working mom? 

Picture credit: Pixabay.
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Celebrating Halloween as a Mom

celebrating Halloween as a working mom - strategies and tipsWith summer weather stubbornly sticking around this year, it’s hard to believe that October 31 is in just a few weeks — but since somehow that’s true, we thought we’d chat today about celebrating Halloween as a mom. So, do tell: Do you have any Halloween hacks that help you with celebrating Halloween as a working mom? (Ha, considering the context, that sounds a bit macabre, doesn’t it? Maybe “tips” is better.) Did you go all out when your kid was a baby but have scaled back now that he or she is older — or is the opposite true? Here are a few other Halloween parenting topics we can have fun discussing:

At what age did you start taking your kid trick-or-treating? On the other end of the spectrum, how old is TOO old, in your opinion? Ever since our son was really young, my parents have invited us to their neighborhood (they’re still in my childhood home, only about a mile from our house) to visit the selected neighbors whom they know well. Some of them have been there for 30 years or more, including the older woman who gives out little bags of homemade popcorn. For the last few years, my husband has also been taking our son around a small part of our neighborhood — lucky kid! I take on door duty while they do that. When he gets a little older, we’ll probably stick to our own neighborhood.

Who stays home? Or do you leave out a bowl of candy and hope for the best? 

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The Best Gifts for Kids with Too Many Toys

The Best Gifts for Kids with Too Many Toys

Does it feel like your kids have too many toys? What have you done about it, if anything? Do you rotate toys so that everything’s not out at once? Yes, it’s a First World Problem, to be sure (too many toys! oh, the humanity!), but if you’ve got kids with too many toys, you know the drill: Stuff often ends up all over the house, many toys sit unused in storage bins for months (or years), and, maddeningly, new toys that are begged for are often played with for a couple weeks and then abandoned.

Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less wrote an essay in 2012 called “Why I Took My Kids’ Toys Away (& Why They Won’t Get Them Back)” that went viral, and it’s worth a read. She explains why she took away her kids’ toys after getting tired of them not cleaning up their room and noticing that they kept wanting more and more “stuff” without being satisfied with what they had. She donated more than half, kept some, and put a few toys on high shelves in her daughters’ bedroom — and she started taking out one at the time for her girls to play with. A year later, Soukup wrote an update and answered some common questions from readers, like “What are your guidelines for the toys that you keep?” and “What do you do about birthdays & holidays?”

This season is a great time to talk about this issue! Here are some ideas of gifts to give kids who have too many toys, focusing on experiences rather than physical things:

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Do, Delegate, NOPE: Holiday Edition

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on holiday delegating ideas. Since it’s that time of year, you may also want to check out our posts on holiday business etiquette.

Let’s brainstorm, ladies: what are some of your best ideas for holiday delegating (or ignoring altogether)? I was thinking about that old game “F–, Marry, Kill” the other day (maybe it had something to do with our celebrity crush open thread over at Corporette) and thought we should start a new series here on CorporetteMoms that’s kind of in the same vein, but about work/life balance instead. For the moment we’re calling it “Do, Delegate, or NOPE.” Here’s the idea: as working moms we all have a ton of things on our calendars and to-do lists at any given time — some can be delegated, some ignored, but some you have to do yourself (or want to do yourself). We’ve talked about being overwhelmed at the holidays, picking the best gifts for your child’s teacher, etc., etc. — but let’s talk about the holiday to-do list in general. These are your options:

  • do — do it yourself, either because you enjoy it or want to make sure it gets done right
  • delegate — outsource/assign the task to someone else (partner, caregiver, third party) because you can
  • NOPE — just ignore the task completely because there’s no room for it in your life

I drew up a list of holiday-related tasks for moms, and you can comment below. For each category (do, delegate, nope), choose at least one of the tasks in the list. (It has Christmas-related things on there just because it takes a lot of bandwidth for me personally, but if you follow another religion please use those to-dos and traditions as well!)

I’m hoping this will be kind of fun — but maybe also we can learn a little from each other, recognize that some things can be delegated, and so forth. It can also be a helpful list to sit down with your partner at the beginning of next year’s season and say “OK, these are the things on my radar — what can you do, what can someone else do, what can we ignore?”

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Seasonal Decor — and Working Moms

Seasonal Decor and Working Moms | CorporetteMoms2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on seasonal decor and working moms. Since it’s that time of year, you may also want to check out our posts on holiday business etiquette.

Ladies, how much do you get into seasonal decor around the house? Do you feel like seasonal decor is harder in some ways for working moms? I’m starting to get into it — when we visited relatives in Texas, my husband’s cousin had the entire house decorated for Halloween, and my older son really liked it. I’m just starting to collect stuff, and it feels like this IS the season — you’ve got Halloween decor, followed by fall harvest/Thanksgiving decor — and, if you celebrate, Christmas decor. (Pictured.)

I like the idea of making our home look nice for the various holidays, and I like the tradition aspect of things, but I will admit, it does seem kind of onerous from a few different angles:

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Mamas, Holidays, and Stress

crazy christmas2017 Update: We still think this is an interesting discussion about mamas, holidays, and stress. Since it’s that time of year, you may also want to check out our posts on holiday business etiquette.

So: anyone else feel like your head is about to explode? Between buying gifts for everyone, including in-laws, cleaning Casa Griffin for company (ok, cleaning Casa Griffin so our cleaning professional can actually clean it), making sure I have all supplies needed for holiday recipes before the stores close — and getting what work I need to get done before everything is making me totally crazy. How is it December 23? What’s my plan of attack, particularly with no school for the next two weeks? Happy holidays, indeed.

I guess this is my fifth Christmas as a mom, but the first time really feeling the stress. Moms who’ve been in my shoes much longer: does it get better? Ladies, do you feel the stress? What do you do to alleviate it during this time of year (other than, you know, not leaving everything until the last minute)? In the great juggle of work and life, which stressor is more significant this year?

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