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Challenge: Your Special Traditions

It's the Most Draining Time of the Year: Holiday Survival for the Introverted Mom

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To the tune of It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year:

“It’s the most draining time of the year
…with the kids all demanding
…and parties to be attending
…I just want a nap!
It’s the most draining time of the year…”

Several years ago, I went to a holiday party organized by a local playgroup. I arrived with my three small kids, and we walked into an echo-y gym where about 50 other children ran around--all screaming with delight, Christmas music loudly playing in the background.

Three hours of chaos making, pizza eating, and cookie decorating followed. When we finally got home, it took me the entire afternoon to recover.

We spend so much time as mothers thinking about creating special traditions for our kids this time of year, but sometimes we do so to our own detriment.

And for those of us who are introverted moms, this time of year holds special challenges. We’re more likely to have our margin for rest and quiet eroded, and as people who gain energy through time alone, that can be crazy-making.

There is no magical method that will solve this struggle, but here are a few holiday survival tips that have helped me:

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1. Keep your holiday expectations in check.

Being an introvert does NOT mean that you don’t like people. It does mean that you recharge mostly through time alone, however. Therefore the holidays, which are such a “people-heavy” time, present an extra challenge.

Introverts will not experience the holidays the same way that extroverts experience it. They might not enjoy the same activities that extroverts might. Simply understanding and accepting this will help you be aware of and set appropriate expectations.

Knowing that the hustle and bustle might be difficult at times, I use a gratitude journal to “capture Christmas joy,” writing down the beautiful moments as they happen so I can hold on to them when draining ones inevitably arise.

2. Create traditions that will be fun for YOU, not just your kids.

Going to sit on Santa’s knee at the crowded mall might not make the cut, but a Christmas movie marathon with hot chocolate and fleece blankets could be perfect.

If you need help getting started, find my favorite holiday movie suggestions that you might not have heard of yet here.

Look for win-wins that will suit your whole family, including yourself, when it comes to creating traditions.

3. Volunteer to clean up.

This advice comes in handy during any crowded gathering, whether a holiday party or Christmas Eve dinner.

Cleaning up gives you a role to play that is separate but needed, making it ideal when the background noise starts getting to you. Plus everyone will be grateful that you’re doing a job they don’t want to do!

4. Make healthy self-care a priority.

Each day of the season, prioritize a few moments of quiet.

Whether it's 15 minutes with a new book, a cup of tea and a scented candle, or your favorite Christmas flick while you wrap presents, a few moments alone each day are essential for introverts during the holidays.

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Let’s get ready to ride the waves of the next few weeks with courage and grace, fellow introverted mothers.

There will be times when those waves crash over us, but that’s okay. Now we’ve learned how to swim out from under them and rise to the top again.

Here’s to a beautiful holiday season, introvert style!

Are you an introverted mom as well?

Check out Jamie's new book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.

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