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Mantras for exhausted parents, to get us through the end of the year

By Justine Lorelle LoMonac

As much holiday joy as we want to create at the end of the year for our families, all the disruptions to routines, added expenses, and pressure to make things perfect can leave us more deflated than delighted. If you’re looking for a little serenity to help you refocus and sail over holiday-season hurdles, here are ten of our favorite mantras for parents that work for the holidays, and beyond.

1. “The days are long, but the years are short.”

This one’s a classic “parent-ism” for a reason! Especially when it comes to the most memory-making times of year, it can be helpful to remember just how quickly these special early years fly by. While we would never insist that you enjoy every second of parenthood (some moments are just hard!), keeping in mind how fleeting childhood truly is can help us get through the tough moments—and find the joy.

2. “You can do hard things.”

Think about it: From the moment you knew you were going to be a parent, there were hills you had to climb. You’ve overcome every single one of your worst days—and you’re still rocking this parenthood thing. You can do this!

3. “My life is so full right now.”

Sometimes finding joy is all about reframing. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all you have on your plate, recognize that many of those things are probably things you want to do or would enjoy…they’re just all happening at the same time. 

4. “I have enough, I am enough.”

Feeling pressure to go overboard on decorations? Or presents? Or big dinners? Or…all of it? Take a moment to reset with this mantra that reminds you that what you truly need, you likely already have.

5. “Presents don’t trump presence.” 

This can be a great one for when you struggle with feelings of inadequacy this time of year. If your reality isn’t just matching up with your big dreams and plans, remember the best thing you can give your family is your time, attention, and love.

6. “No is a complete sentence.”

There’s so much pressure to do All. The. Things. this time of year, but often more peace is found when we turn down some of the invitations and offers that come our way. This mantra is a gentle reminder that you don’t need to explain your choices to everyone—you know what’s right for your family.

7. “I will pause before I react.” 

We all know the moment: Dinner burns. Your in-laws make a comment you don’t appreciate. Your child throws a tantrum on full display of said in-laws. The natural response? Probably throwing a fit of your own. Instead, repeat this mantra during stressful moments to remind yourself to react in a way you’ll be proud of later.

8. “Plot twist!”

If humor is one of your coping mechanisms for stressful times, this is the one for you. Often the best laid plans for busy occasions are the first to go belly up. Instead of panicking or letting the stress get the better of you, this light-hearted mantra recasts you as the main character of your story—who now has an unexpected turn to address twists with wit and grace.

9. “This is what children do.” 

There’s nothing like an audience of friends, relatives, and fellow shoppers at the mall to make you forget that your child’s behavior is totally normal. And because end-of-year festivities often disrupt sleep routines, introduce more sugar, and generally add a mix of excitement and the unknown to our children’s lives, we should expect them to act out more than they normally do. Instead of punishing kids for acting like, well, kids, repeat this mantra as a way to help yourself remember that these experiences are shared by virtually every parent at some point.

10. “One day at a time, one decision at a time.” 

We love this mantra because it can be useful for virtually every struggle you’ll encounter at this time of year and year-round. Sometimes all we can do is get through the moment, no matter what it’s throwing at us. When the stress builds and you can’t see past it, repeat this to yourself as a reminder that this too shall pass, and you’ll deal with each storm as it comes.

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