The WAHM Survival Guide to the Holidays – Thanksgiving

It’s that special time of year again! Orders are up slightly, time is decreasing dramatically and best of all – the kids are home! Having the kids home is both a blessing and a curse. The days are great fun filled with ornament making and breaking and dessert-face-stuffing, and the nights are filled with work to make up for the lack of time during the days. I love being with the kids, but it’s a whole new juggling act when the holiday season approaches.

As I write this, I have one week of school left until Thanksgiving vacation. Hurray for the break, at least, but it’s going to be tricky making a new schedule that fits everything in without a handy conference period and quiet lunchtime during the day. Fortunately, I’ve done this before (a few times even) and have some tricks of the trade!

Step 1: Don’t schedule anything at your house for Thanksgiving.

If you want to have friends over, that’s fine, but the rule is – if you have to clean and prepare for longer than thirty minutes, it’s not happening. Making your sister or your mom host the big get-together is the number one way to remove the stress of the season. Now you can just pig out in someone else’s immaculately cleaned house and leave yours as it is.

Step 2: Make a list of what’s most important for the holidays.

Around our house, my little men are ready to set up the tree about three seconds after early release on Friday. We haven’t even thought hard about Thanksgiving dinner by then, but fortunately nobody comes to our house for Thanksgiving so they don’t have to know that we’ve set up the tree in mid-November. It’s a big thing for me to get the house cleaned before the decorations go up, so that goes first on the list. (6 days and counting…)

Then I need to finalize the shopping over the break, so I’ll need a list of which presents are still outstanding to make that shopping time with two kids highly targeted and effective. (I have a thing about shopping with crowds). Finally, I need to think about what’s most important with the kids while they are home. We have at least three different day trips over the week of Thanksgiving and plenty of house time since I’m determined to hit every closet and cabinet in a giant clean-out this year. Cleaning is so….cleansing for the soul.

Step 3: Work your work in.

The last step is to look at your family schedule and then look at your work calendar. In my case I’m actually more rested at the end of a day with my kids than a day with the teens at school, but I’ll not want to overload myself. I’m flying solo with my husband working at the dealership until close to nine every night, so daytime work is out with two kids. That leaves evenings, and I’m taking at least two of them off in the nine days I’ll be home. Bottom line, work goes into the routine, but it’s going to be well padded with time and intent.

Step 4: Enjoy the break!

We work at home to have more time with our kids, and this is one of the shining moments you can make that possible. Go on day trips and visit with family. Take the stress out of the holidays by making these days more like a vacation at home. That’s my plan at least…until Christmas arrives.

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Rebecca is a full-time everything. She teaches English and reading to her much loved, if challenging, high school students during the day and is a freelance education writer in the evenings. With almost ten years in the classroom and advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca specializes in materials that inform, educate and entertain. Rebecca indulges herself by pretending to have spare time and writing about the ups and downs of being a freelancing mama whenever she gets a chance.

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