Whole Parenting Family

re-centering exercises before the holidays

whole parenting family

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Relax your shoulders.

Now relax your calves.

Shrug your nose and smile (relaxes your lips).

Repeat after me:

I (I)

Will (will)

Not (not)

FREAK (freak)

OUT (out)

about (about)

the (the)

holidays (holidays).


Got that squared away.

But really, I do get tense about the holidays for all the wrong reasons.

Instead of focusing on how wonderful it will be to spend Thanksgiving weekend here for a change of pace, I’m worrying about trying to get my pie crusts done this week and into the freezer. When I contemplate Christmas, I start the mental jigsaw puzzle of where everyone will sleep in the house when family arrives and try to make a mental checklist of which gifts I’ve gotten already and which I need to still.

What I want to think about is my wonderful family. My family who helps play and love our children. My family who travels long distances when my sis-in-law is uncomfortably in her third trimester (with her toddler!!) to come and be with us. My sister who will set aside her busy business in peak insanity and come and let loose her kids on my kids’ toys. My nieces who will shriek with joy and trembling at all the insanity of our household with three little ones. My brother who came for a long weekend with his son so we could get special time as they can’t come later for the real holidays.

You know how the holiday stress builds for you. One girlfriend encouraged us in a fb group last year saying this is our magic time, our Super Bowl, our time as moms to pull the magic all together and make the meals happen, the clean up, the later bedtimes, the naps in new places, the thoughtful gifts. When you think about Thanksgiving and the cascading into Christmas or Hanukka, do you freak out?

Golly I hope you can avoid it this year. I hope I can. I’ve embraced a new (read: low) level of organization around here with three kids, four and under. I’ve embraced a simpler version of gift giving — second hand, hand-crafted, art work, the like. I’ve embraced that I’m going to focus on enjoying the meals we make from scratch, and not worrying if some of them end up terrible and we have pancakes for dinner. I’m going to just love my family.

And love this time with them. We’re young, our parents are healthy, our kids are beautiful, and we only have this moment. This very moment. This very special holiday season will never happen again just like this.

Own it. Embrace it. Do not give in to the freakout demon on your left shoulder.

I’m gearing up for holidays at my etsy shoppe. I have no idea what I’m doing. Do I set a deadline for orders as most things are made-t0-order? Do I just lay down and snuggle in these new tribal knits? Someone tell me what to do. Free shipping has been determined: HOLIDAYSHIP for free in the US of A.


{trying to take my own advice early. someone make me a hot cocoa, please???}

Last year thinking about Advent.

Two years ago thoughts for Thanksgiving.


  1. Annery on November 19, 2014 at 7:15 am

    You should probably have a deadline or a set number you think is realistic to finish in time.

    I’m trying to get as much done as I can before Advent starts. I feel like too any times, I’m wrapping presents the week of Christmas and missing out on enjoying the low-key time myself while everyone else snuggles with a Christmas movie.

  2. Laurel on November 19, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Love it. I needed this reminder as I’m already starting to freak out…and I’ve already been in prep-mode for months. The reason for the season!!! 🙂

  3. Jessica on November 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Love this, Nell. It’s so hard to remember to take a breather, especially in this busy season! So much cooking, so much cleaning, so much shopping–and then guilty thoughts of, WAIT, I need to spend MORE TIME doing LESS because ADVENT!!

    Thanks for the reminder to relax. 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 21, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Thanks, Jessica. Glad I’m not the only freak outer!!

  4. Amy @ Motherhood and Miscellany on November 19, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Oh me too. I don’t feel like I freak so much as I just maintain a steady low-grade stress (and then occasionally high-grade!) about all the things you mentioned, plus trying to do Advent stuff which is all completely new to me (last year was our first year observing Christmas as a religious holiday). We should make a pact to be anxiety-free this year!

  5. […] re-centering exercises before the holidays […]

  6. Katie on November 21, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Nell! This was awesome. Thank you for putting it out there in time for all of us to recenter and refocus ourselves 🙂 I think you are 100% right that the key is to focus on loving your family, and making sure that whatever you are doing – making a bed, wrapping a gift, cooking a meal is done with the ability to love who you are doing it for. If you can’t, then maybe you need a break, a nap or a walk, some alone time, some yoga. My holiday crazy usually stems from needing one of those things. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 22, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      Yes, so-oh-yes!! XO

  7. Kelly Meagher on November 21, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    “And love this time with them. We’re young, our parents are healthy, our kids are beautiful, and we only have this moment. This very moment.”
    Such lovely words. Thanks for this post.

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm