Most of us are familiar with the oxygen mask parenting analogy. In case you’re not, it goes a little something like this: should a plane begin to plummet, we risk being unable to save our children if we don’t first don the life-giving air masks ourselves. The holiday season can leave me feeling a little like that, like I’m spinning out of control.
That’s why this year, I’m putting on my Smarty Mama “oxygen mask” by being kind to myself through 12 intentional acts of self-care or indulgence over the 12 days of Christmas; otherwise, I can’t be the best parent (or spouse) I can be on the heels of giving so much during the holiday season to others. I hope these ideas spark some of your own. What brings you peace? What brings you joy? More of that, please.
Here’s the thing to remember though. Let your list guide you rather than restrict you. I’m now about halfway into my list, and things haven’t gone 100% as planned. I’ve been able to enjoy about 50% of my ideas. I’ll get there though because I’m committed to being better to myself this year. (On second thought, maybe I need to create a Valentine’s version of this?)
Who says my “12 days of Christmas” have to end on January 5th though? Who says your “12 days” can’t start today? Let us know in the comments something you plan to give yourself for the “12 days of Christmas.”
1. Saturday Dec. 25: While my children gorged on candy canes filled with M&Ms and peppermint bark, not sharing any with dear ol’ Mrs. Claus, I was fine. My stocking was stuffed with a JF Chocolat artisan caramel bar almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
2. Sunday Dec. 26: Not wanting to feel more bloated and fatigued than I already did, I fixed a couple pretty and tasty alcohol alternative cocktails using Ritual tequila and gin. Smarty tip: You can find a sampler pack at Total Wine.
3. Monday Dec. 27: What a dreary day this could have been. What better treat than a movie, holding hands with my husband, buttery popcorn, and two hours of entering another dimension through Spider-Man: No Way Home.
4. Tuesday Dec. 28: Sometimes all we need is a new LBD and lipstick to feel brand new. With a fun NYE planned, I decided to pop into JT Posh Luxury Consignment to see what I might find. I popped out with an adorable designer dress (tags still on, half the price, saved from the landfill). Then I snagged some peachy goodness in a Burt’s Bees gloss tube at the drugstore to add a little more sparkle. Bring it, 2022.
5. Wednesday Dec. 29: While restocking groceries after a whirlwind of being a hostess, I placed some magazines and a bottle of rosé prosecco in the cart too. The plan is to find a cute set of PJs during pesky mall returns this week. That way, I can lounge in them while the impending rain pours and enjoy my supermarket scores.
6. Thursday Dec. 30: Who better to teach my daughter that she needs to be good to herself than her mama? We hit the nail salon to get some sparkle and shine and a foot soak as we prepared to ring in a new year in style.
7. Friday Dec. 31: Ideally, I’ll be in a coffee shop for this one. If I wind up in my living room though, unable to sneak away, I’ll at least take time to reflect on my takeaways from 2021 and my hopes for 2022. Pretty planners are great, but my favorite of all time is the black, blank spiral bound for $6 from CVS. It has lined paper on the front and grid paper on the back –– helpful for bullet journaling. A friend once told me to “schedule my priorities rather than prioritize my schedule.” Taking the time for this is important to me as it helps me pencil in wellness appointments and ways to spend my time more wisely.
8. Saturday Jan. 1: Not sure how I’ll feel after being up so late, so I’m reserving this day as one to be creative. This may mean finally putting together one of a thousand backlogged photo albums, working on a crochet project, doing a puzzle, making a what-to-read list for the year, or simply coloring in an adult coloring book.
9. Sunday Jan. 2: I’ve had a ravioli press for about five years now. I’ve used it zero times. I have even taken a pasta making class. It’s time. Enjoying a glass of wine, while making a decadent dinner leisurely, with music playing sounds pretty luxurious to me.
10. Monday Jan. 3: With the kids home one more day before school starts, we will set out to Discovery Place Science or Nature, grab a sweet treat, and end the day making our “WANT To Do” jars. This is where we place popsicle sticks with hobbies or activities we’d like to do more of in an old spaghetti jar. This way, when we have down time or feel bored, we can stop debating how to spend our time and just pull a stick and get started.
11. Tuesday Jan. 4: I have an annoying habit of bringing home castoffs I see on the side of the road that are perfectly usable. One such find was an “in-perfect-condition” barrel planter that costs about $40 new at home improvement stores. I want to finally get my hands dirty and prepare it with some winter lettuces now and herbs in the spring.
12. Wednesday Jan. 5: For the first time in the new year, the house will be still. While I will have some work projects to catch up on, I do plan to book and enjoy the massage I was given at Christmas. I also will enjoy an extra cup of coffee and turn my power walk into a lingering stroll. Before the kids arrive home, I am also going to enjoy “a proper chat” with my close friend (who lives in London) over tea. I want to take the time to remember how good it feels to do life slowly and simply before forging ahead into whatever 2022 shapes up to be.