Emily Souder, LCSW-C, MA, MSW
Start the slow cooker at 8 am. Schedule flu shots for the littles. Order a birthday gift for the neighbor’s little girl. Clean up goldfish crumbs. Work on that business project.
Sound familiar? This is a pretty typical train of thought for me when I’m running through my mental to-do list. Carrying this mental load around is exhausting. Yes, a paper list helps, but there are still a lot of things to juggle! This list is just on a normal day, but during the holidays, the tasks stack up in a way that just doesn’t happen during the rest of the year.
Get napkins for the preschool party. Order school photos. Return boxers to the store because you bought boys’ boxers for your husband (oops). RSVP to the work happy hour. Make brownies for the neighborhood party. Do we need to send out holiday cards? Do I have spinach in my teeth?
The topic of imbalance of emotional labor between moms and dads has been making its way around the internet, and with good reason. We carry so many of the unspoken, behind-the-scenes tasks around with us, and it’s frustrating! Even when we have supportive, present partners, it can feel that we are thinking of things that aren’t even occurring to them, and that can feel lonely. We start to think that if we don’t show up in this way, our world will fall apart. It’s scary to let go.
Let’s try something on together. What if we were able to help counteract the effects of this labor imbalance by prioritizing self-care?
Self-care looks different for everyone, but it can include setting boundaries, delegating tasks, making it to that yoga class, and saying no to the holiday happy hour.
This season, I created a free holiday challenge for moms called Rock the Hustle & Bustle specifically for this reason. Moms can benefit from their own space to practice (and it does take practice) making their wellness a priority this holiday season so they can show up for their families in a healthier, more compassionate, more energized way. We don’t have to feel depleted after the holidays!
Here are some things to consider about the holidays and caring for yourself:
Missing out won’t kill you. It might be uncomfortable, but think about this: by missing out on that thing, what are you getting to participate in? What are you saying yes to by saying no?
We can make choices. If the neighborhood party feels like a source of stress, can you pick up a store-bought dessert instead of making one from scratch? Can you skip it and stay in for a cozy movie night with your kiddos?
Others are practicing it too. There are other moms and parents finding their way alongside of you, and reaching out and making connections with others can be a way to feel energized by friendship and to even have a reality-check partner when you wonder if you’re taking on too much.
So what do you think? Is it time to try something a little different this year? It might feel funny at first, but the benefits will have you feeling so glad you gave it a try.
Emily Souder is a licensed clinical social worker, life coach, mama, and writer in Maryland. She helps mom entrepreneurs who are feeling lost in the demands of motherhood and out of touch with themselves achieve clarity, focus, and empowerment using intuition-informed guidance, mindset work, and skill building. She is married to her best friend (so cheesy, but so true!), has two littles (ages 1 and 4), and is on her own path of rocking her authenticity.