parenting, self care

My Top 5 Tips To Stay Sane This Holiday Season!

Let’s face it the holidays can be overwhelming! There’s a bunch of stuff to be done and everybody is depending on you to do it right?! I use to despise entering into the holiday season. During a time where you should be enjoying family you are bogged down by the business of the season, not able to fully enjoy and embrace this time. Well no more! I’m going to give you the top 5 things I’ve done to make the holiday season cheery and bright again. So let’s do this…

1.       Make the decision today to not lose your cool. Now you may be thinking that’s easier said than done and you’d be right. I consciously make the effort to make sure if I feel myself getting overwhelmed I take a moment. I find a place that allows me to just breathe and be. When I go to this place I don’t take any to-do list with me or my phone, I inform my family that I am going to need a few moments (giving no reason) and I just step away. As moms we get so wrapped up in the details making sure things are good for everyone around us, all while not taking a moment to just take in the fact that this is a season to be with the ones we love. #MommyNeedsAMoment is real and we must take advantage of this practice so that we can be more present in our lives.

2.       Plan & Prepare! Often times our failure to plan and prepare prevent us from enjoying our holiday time. Mama you can’t do everything and that’s okay! Break out your calendar, update events that you must make an appearance at in red, events that you would like to go to but may not have the time in yellow, and events you want to say no to in green. Now let’s organize that calendar. Place the red ones on your calendar in pen, if dates cross see if you can call on your village to help you meet the obligation. If not you will have to choose and deal with the outcome of that decision. Trust that people know your heart and if you could be there you would. Now place the yellow ones on your calendar in pencil. If you come across some free time and can attend then do so if not then that’s okay too. The green invites don’t make it to the calendar, they are a flat out NO! RSVP in a timely matter for the events you choose to attend and don’t allow anyone to guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do. This is your opportunity to set boundaries and give yourself permission to be free!  Make a list, check it twice! I have become the queen of lists. This may be new to you but list can save your life. In the evening before I decompress and prepare for bed I list what I would like to accomplish the next day. I get detailed with the list so I can be prepared. Even in the event that something disrupts my plan I can always get back on track or adjust my list. For example: 

To-DoHow or What
CleaningAll the rooms upstairs
LaundryWash/Dry/Fold 2 loads
Purchase giftsMom/Dad/Anissa (Budget $150)
Prep for Ugly Sweater Christmas PartyPurchase sweater/RSVP to party
Schedule beauty appointmentsHair/brows/mani/pedi


Whatever you place on your list, don’t be discouraged if you don’t accomplish them all that day, just try again the next day. For time sensitive items prioritize them first.

3.       Budget! We make a big fuss out of this time of year. There’s decorating, gifts, places to go, and things to do. Yet we are still working with the same funds we do throughout the year. Reality check…DON’T GO BROKE during this season! It’s one season! If you plan on attending activities then budget for those activities and stick to that budget, if you are buying gifts make a list of the individuals you need to buy gifts for and budget for each person. You control how you will spend your money. This is supposed to be the season of love and goodwill toward everybody, remember a gift is just that a gift, it truly should be the thought that counts!

4.  Rest! Most of the time when I’m frustrated and easily angered during this season is because I have not gotten enough rest to deal with myself let alone anyone else. There’s always something to do or some place to be. Thus the reason for #2! Daily fit in some time to take a nap, sit, or meditate. We all need time to clear our minds of the wrestling of things going on around us. When we don’t get rest we can’t focus which makes it harder for us to engage with ourselves and others.

5. Do unto others! One of my favorite things to do to keep me grounded in this season is doing something unexpected for someone else. Tis the season right?! There are plenty of things you can do that lift your spirits and help someone else. Suggestions:

  1. Adopt a family in need for the holidays and fulfill a wish for them (remember to budget for this)
  2. Volunteer at a retirement facility. There are a lot of elders in our communities who are alone and would enjoy your company.
  3. Visit with a friend! We often talk about getting together but life happens and we can’t. Make it a priority to just go, sit, and be with a friend.
  4. Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
  5. Send out encouraging notes to help people jump start going into their new year. (budget for this)
  6. Volunteer on the teen floor of a hospital! I always want to hang out with the babies they are adorable, let’s not forget the other children in the hospital who could use that same love. 
  7. Take a little kid to the dollar store for Christmas shopping. Help them create their gift list and give them their budget. This has been one of my greatest joys to see what they think people need or would like.
  8. Make homemade gifts for teachers. This is also one of my favorite things to do with my family. This requires some budgeting as well, but let’s face it our teachers deserve it. I’ve pinned a few of my favorites here.
  9. Invite another family over for cookie baking, hot chocolate, holiday music, and time together. You can split the cost for this and enjoy time with each other.
  10. Call up people you may have lost touch with. Note: Not all will be receptive, but hey you’re making an effort! We are entering into a season of loneliness for some it’s nice to know that we are thought of.

If you know of someone and this is their first holiday alone or their 10000th holiday without a loved one, be mindful to love on them extra hard this season. Living without someone doesn’t necessarily get easier and a little love can go a long way!

How do you keep from being overwhelmed during the holiday season? Drop your tips in the comments.

parenting

Tune in!!

Here are a few of my favorite guest and podcast episodes from the last year. I appreciate all my guest giving me the opportunity to share their story. Tune in! Click the links!

No Longer Powerless Featuring Sharone ThomasNo Longer Powerless Promo

Policing Our Communities Featuring Jamaal Ansaripolicing our communities

#BOSSMOM Featuring Sherita Carthonbossmom

Dating After Divorce Featuring Clotea Mackdating after divorce

Donnie Lynee Artist SpotlightDonnie Lynee Promo

parenting

“The Talk”

As my son sits on the couch I’m not sure what to say. There are so many things I need to tell him. I need him to understand that this talk we are about to have is one that will save his life. I need him to know that he needs to take me seriously, he needs to absorb this information like a sponge and carry it with him every where he goes. I’m about to have “The Talk!” with my son.

As parents we will have plenty of talks with our children. There is a talk for just about everything they go through, as their parent we have to become the expert to introduce them to the information they need. This past week Black-ish and Grey’s Anatomy brought to light “The Talk” African-American parents have had to give there children since birth. “The Talk” brings to light how African American young men are viewed by society/police and as of late we’ve had to begin giving this same conversation to our daughters. It’s a sad but true fact police brutality is alive and well in our community. “The Talk” is real in our homes, it’s not something we joke about, it’s not something that we are being dramatic about, the fact is just like parents in other cultures we want our kids to go out into the world and be the best them they can be and we want them to come back home and tell of their adventures and how they plan to conquer the world and achieve their goals. All too often though African American children/adults are not making it home to tell these stories. Between street violence and police brutality we are losing more of us with each passing day.

Now some will say that we kill each other everyday, this would not be a lie. Street violence has and still is running rampant in our communities. Due to poverty, lack of parental supervision, generational gaps, our communities have been plagued by violence. We give this talk to our children as well. The difference between street violence and police brutality is that the police take an oath to protect and serve, that oath of protecting and serving does not say I have be a specific ethnicity, it’s suppose to cover us all. BUT IT DOES NOT! Lack of training, racism, lack of African Americans taking the police exam, contribute to our children not making it home to tell their stories. It’s disheartening that this is still a talk I have to give and unless things change drastically I will have to give this talk to my youngest daughter as well.

My talk- 1. Listen to each of their commands and follow them, 2. Answer questions that are asked about your biographical information, questions beyond that ask them to call your parent. DO NOT TALK TO THEM WITHOUT ME, 3. If you need to move tell them what you are doing with each motion, let them know what you are about to touch and why, 4. DO NOT SPEAK WITH ANGER, 5. In the silence of your mind say a prayer and ask God to help you make it home safely.

This may seem like common sense, but just imagine as a child having someone point a gun at you, asking you questions, accusing you, maybe even threatening you, would you know what to do? I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m looking for people to wake up and realize that we are not equal and until we address these issues in our communities we will never be equal. My hope is to spark conversation about how we can change so that this talk becomes unnecessary. Until then leave in the comments how you have handled talks in your family.

(Grey’s Anatomy- S14 E10 Personal Jesus, Black-ish- S4E12 Bow Knows)