So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

As a therapist who specializes in helping moms, I hear day in and day out about the unique personal struggles EVERY kind of mom is experiencing in the time of COVID-19. We are struggling to decide who to spend the holidays with or maybe making the gut-wrenching decision to not spend time with family and friends at all. We are trying to find ways to keep up our kiddos’ spirits when we struggle to find ways to keep up our own holiday cheer.

Here are some creative ways that stressed out moms like you are trying to keep the holidays special.  

Go With the Flow

This seems to be the mantra for 2020 after social distancing. This year all of us have had to learn how to be flexible, and for the holidays, it won’t be any different. Some ways to continue to be COVID safe and holiday flexible include:

  • Taking an indoor gathering outdoors by holding small outdoor holiday get-togethers (if you can). Some of my mom clients in Minnesota are having 1-year-old birthday parties outside in snowy weather with outdoor patio heaters. 
  • Wearing a holiday-themed mask to your social-distancing gathering. I’m sure it will go nicely with your ugly sweater.
  • Preparing yourself and kiddos for plans to change at the last minute. Change is hard and 2020 has taught us this lesson. Continue to have conversations with your kiddos about how nothing this year is set in stone. 
  • Attending virtual faith services or online prayer groups. A lot of families have already been doing this, but if you normally get up for morning church in your PJs while you Zoom in, then consider changing it up by putting on your best holiday attire for these services. 
  • Making Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners virtual events. Screen fatigue is the real deal, but if the only way you can get together with the extended family is through Google Meets, find a way to make the event fun.  

RELATED: Dear Holiday Season, We Need You This Year More Than Ever

Create New Traditions

Moms are the best at being ingenious. I mean, look at the candy shoots for trick-or-treating that were hot this past Halloween. Now is the time to whip out our creativity and come up with new holiday traditions. Consider: 

  • Ordering takeout instead of cooking the whole holiday meal to mix it up for the holidays. 
  • Creating a new tradition at mealtime by adding something special. For Easter this past year, my 6-year-old decided we would have an Easter tea party since we couldn’t get together with family and friends. It’s now our new Easter tradition. 
  • Doing a makeover on an old tradition. When I was little, we would drive around and look at holiday lights. Now with my kiddos, we bring along sugar cookies and hot chocolate and they get to drop off a big candy cane to the house they think is the winner with the best lights. 

Acknowledge Grief and Loss

The holidays are often about surrounding yourself with family and friends. When you’re not able to be with them, either because they passed away or because of the current COVID-19 circumstances, a lot of grief and loss could bubble up to the surface this holiday season. Ways to acknowledge grief and loss include:

  • Finding a special way to remember the loss of a loved one, including setting a seat at the table for them, lighting a candle, or hanging up their stocking. We hang up a stocking for my stillborn daughter. I know moms who set a place at the table for others they have lost. 
  • Talking about any loved ones you might have lost due to COVID-19 and how this impacts your holiday season as well as your future moving forward.
  • Sharing your feelings of grief that have occurred due to the changes COVID-19 has brought and the limitations it has put on holiday gatherings and traditions is an important way for your family to know it’s OK to talk about their hard feelings, too.

RELATED: The Holidays Are Different After Child Loss

Make it Fun and Consistent For the Kids

Right now as a mom all I am craving is consistency, and I know from working with other moms they and their kiddos are craving it too. Try to hold onto the traditions that you can by:

  • Maintaining holiday traditions that are focused around you and your family, including continuing and making a bigger deal out of the Advent calendar, lighting the menorah, or baking big meals.
  • Sending silly holiday cards. If you already send holiday cards, consider sending a great themed one to acknowledge the craziness that is 2020. 
  • Be a new kind of Secret Snowflake and drop off a surprise batch of cookies or a bag of candy to your neighbors and friends. There was a great version of this going around for Halloween with, “You Got Booed.” Let’s keep it up for the rest of the holidays. 

Make it Easy on Yourself as a Parent

Let’s be real, we moms put the magic in all the holiday seasons. We as moms carry the mental load of magical holiday making. Since it’s been a crazy year, let’s consider letting up on how magical we need to make the holidays by giving thanks to ourselves by taking time out for us by:

  • Giving ourselves permission to take all the breaks we need to recharge our batteries so we can get back to bringing about holiday cheer. 
  • Scheduling more downtime by saying no to the added activities we really don’t want to do, like volunteering for our kiddos’ online school holiday party.
  • Moving up bedtimes for the kiddos. It’s the only cool thing about daylight savings time. When the sun goes down the kiddos can too. 
  • Lowering your expectations. It’s probably the most important thing we can do for ourselves this holiday season. The one space we still might have some control over is our brain, and if we can be kind in our mind to ourselves by lowering what we expect from ourselves, our kiddos, and family and friends, then we just might make this COVID holiday season a little easier for everyone.

RELATED: In the Chaos of This Holiday Season, Can We Just…Stop?

Originally published on the author’s blog

Lindsey Henke

Lindsey Henke is the founder and Executive Director of Pregnancy After Loss Support, writer, clinical social worker, wife, and most importantly a mother to two beautiful daughters (one too beautiful for earth) and one sweet-cheeked baby boy. 

Here’s to the Strong Ones Living with Type 1 Diabetes

In: Living
Pregnant mom on beach, black-and-white photo

This is a shout-out to all the sweet girls. The ones hustling so hard to live like normal. The ones with type 1 diabetes. Some of you have been living with diabetes as long as you have been breathing. Some of you are newly diagnosed and need to know someone who has been managing diabetes for years. I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 17 years, and I see you. Whether you have been diagnosed for 17 hours or 17 years, chances are I’ve felt what you feel too.  I’m here to tell you that type 1 diabetes...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Lose Yourself to Be a Good Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman brushing wet hair

There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity. But what if you don’t want that?  When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself? Why are you less of a mom if you...

Keep Reading

No Screens Before 7: How Our Family Broke Free of the Screentime Habit

In: Living, Motherhood
Kids using smartphones

“We still have three more minutes!” my 7-year-old says, bouncing with Christmas-like anticipation and excitement. “Well,” I say, looking from him to his 9-year-old sister, “what could you do for three minutes?” “Leg wrestle!” they exclaim and run to the carpeted living room. This life-filled exchange was not happening in my home just a couple of months ago.  In spite of my best efforts, screen time had taken over. Both the kids and I would slip into this zombie-like, space-time vortex. I would look up and know it wasn’t healthy, but it was just so easy to just keep on...

Keep Reading

Witch, Please! Hocus Pocus 2 Release Date Means the Sanderson Sisters Countdown Is ON

In: Living
Bette Middler in Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+

“Lock up your children!” screeches Winifred Sanderson (played by Bette Midler) in the teaser trailer for Disney’s long-awaited Hocus Pocus 2 movie. But I say, “Mark your calendars!” Disney revealed the release date for this much-anticipated sequel and I’m happy to report that the Sanderson sisters will be flying above Salem and to your Disney+ stream on September 30th! The countdown is ON! Check out the trailer and get excited! But first, a confession:  I have to be honest, I was 16 when the original Hocus Pocus came out, but for some reason I never saw it until I was...

Keep Reading

Good Dads Make Great Grandpas

In: Grown Children, Living
Grandpa walking with two grandsons, color photo

This is not only written for my dad, but for all the dads out there who aren’t the typical, everyday dads. The hands-on dad, the dad who goes on bike rides, the dad who watches his grandbabies. The dad who creates a legacy whether he realizes it or not. The world needs more of you.  It’s not every day you get a dad who enters a diaper changing contest and comes in second place. Yes, that happened to my dad. He would take me up to the local mall to walk around and one of the stores was holding a...

Keep Reading

Dear Friend, I Don’t Want To Lose You

In: Friendship
Two women smiling, color photo

I’m sorry I don’t text you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t call you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t check in to see how you are. I’m sorry this friendship can feel one-sided at times. I’m sorry I’m so distant. The truth is I’m struggling. I’m struggling with life. I’m struggling with finances. I’m struggling with trying to please everyone and do everything. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it The problem is I try to please everyone—everyone who doesn’t matter. My problem is I’ve gotten so content with our friendship that I know you’ll...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

I Traded My Body for This Full Life

In: Living, Motherhood
Happy family smiling

It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. I was cradling my firstborn child—my rainbow baby—tenderly in my arms as she contentedly nursed. I looked down at this beautiful miracle, unable to mirror her blissful content. Six weeks after the birth, I was still feeling like garbage. Being a first-time mom, I figured the fatigue was par for the course. My other symptoms, however, were suspect. Will I see my daughter grow up? were my thoughts as the streams of grief flowed, pooling on her swaddle. At my medical check-up, I brought my concerns to my doctor...

Keep Reading

The Truth is I’m Drowning

In: Living
Woman with hand on face sad

I find myself sinking. Really disappearing. Everyone around me sees me. They see my smile, my involvement, my willingness to please and participate. No one notices how easily I shift between despair and real tears and conforming to what the situation requires of me. Sometimes this shift happens within the matter of minutes.  Not waving, but drowning. I’m on a weight loss journey. The scale told me I am down just over four pounds. And I feel really good about that. I know I have another 15 to 20 to go, but I am four down. I made a promise...

Keep Reading

Older Kids with Special Needs Can Get Overlooked, and it’s Lonely

In: Living, Motherhood
Two hands held together next to a wheelchair, black-and-white photo

Middle school is tough. I have three girls—two of them now teenagers—so I know firsthand how tween insecurities can quickly spiral into friend drama and subtle bullying. I’ve watched my girls get left out and left behind, and we’ve had lots and lots of talks about what it means to be a good friend. And as much as I want to tell you it doesn’t hit differently with my third daughter, I can’t. Because it does. When your tween daughter is in a wheelchair and has endured—and is still enduring—health and physical challenges that would destroy an adult, a mama’s...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime