The Holiday Wand

It’s not enough that moms have to juggle kids, husbands, multiple schedules, school demands and meals along with their personal time to stay sane and healthy 11 months out of the year. Now moms have to add the holiday season and the grand calendar finale of December to the mix. Looking back, I remember my own dutiful mother ‘running around like a chicken with her head cut off’, yet remaining gracious and pleasant about Christmas. (Did she keep a bottle of mulled wine in the closet to escape from time to time?) I doubt she even had the time… My sister and I had all the traditional joys of letter writing to Santa, baking cookies, expectations about the decorations (both external and internal to the house) and I guess we just figured it all came together beautifully using a magic wand. Now, that I’m an adult, I know it was “mom” who owned and orchestrated each holiday with that wand and made those memories for us.

Today, who owns the wand in your home? No pressure, but it better be “the” mom! Yes, you are the lucky one who has to learn to take care and make time for yourself so that you stay healthy–mentally and physically–for your family. Unfortunately, the hectic holidays provide no reprieve from this responsibility. I remember that my sister and I thought Christmas was the perfect excuse to eat (more) sweets since mom never allowed sodas or even sweet cereals in the house. We only baked cookies during December and, if lucky, made a gingerbread house. Santa did not stuff our stockings with loads of candy–maybe some gum and a candy cane–and we were taught to give him more carrots than cookies each year. Besides, Santa was overweight by today’s standards. I think those little things were important because they taught moderation–sure, enjoy the holidays since they only happen once a year but be mindful of the big picture and don’t throw away 11 months of healthy habits.

Then there was the winter benefit to being raised in the mid/Atlantic…cold weather and, often, “bad” weather. These events brought hours of fun outside only to come inside to hot chocolate, popcorn and fireside moments. My mom was always an advocate of outdoor play and it’s even more important with the Information Age to encourage at least 30 minutes of outdoor recreation daily and it shouldn’t stop because of 32 degree weather with a foot of snow–our mom, at least, assured it didn’t. Perhaps, that was mom’s way of making time for herself and an ‘adult version’ cup of hot chocolate. Again, the point is to use the holidays as an opportunity, regardless of the weather, to brave the elements and keep moving!

While moms wear several hats during the year, the “ultimate shopper” hat is by far one of the first taken out of the closet this month. That said, with all the buying you are doing and the assistance you are providing to Santa, be mindful that the kids need to give as well. The holidays offer a prime opportunity to give to those less fortunate. In our indulgent commercial holiday fashion, it is easy to forget that ‘to give is to receive’ when you’re so busy creating your own Normal Rockwell moment. Whether it’s via the Salvation Army, an Angel Tree, an Adopt-a-Family program, etc…make the time to add a little Norman Rockwell to someone else less fortunate. You, as an adult may find this second nature; however, a child usually has to be taught to do so. Children will appreciate their world more if they see others who may have less.

Holidays are not just a time of family, celebration, joy and gratitude but also an important time for you (mom)! This isn’t just the moment about Santa, or who baked the best ham, who was what in the Christmas play or what relative is going to drive you nuts; it’s truly a chance to acknowledge yourself! Use the wand to ensure the well being of your family AND yourself. I also think it’s perfectly normal for moms to begin a little ‘sock drawer savings’ in January so that you have something nice to buy for yourself at the end of the year – after all – you’re so worth it! As you look at the December to-do list, the shopping that needs to happen, the baking, the decorating, and the numerous activities–are you stressed out yet? Are you already thinking of the mulled wine? Well guess what? Relax–toast yourself! You own the wand.

*Dedicated to all the wonderful moms out there…especially two of the best–my own and my sister, Amy.



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About Angela Lee, B.A., CPT

Angela has spent 16 years in a high-profile corporate career but elected to follow her dream of educating others to take better care of themselves by becoming a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). She's also a National Physique Committee (NPC) competitor and belongs to one of the nation's largest and successful competitive teams. Lastly, as a survivor of childhood cancer she's learned at a young age the importance of making good choices about health, maintaining a positive outlook on life and the impact both have on overall vitality long-term.