The recovery in the change

Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Recovering from the Holidays

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.

 This post went live last week in error, so I apologize to my regular readers for seeing it again, but I do encourage you to scroll to the bottom of this post and check out the rest of the posts from our NPN participants!

Hmmm… how do we recover from the holidays around this kitchen?  Well, in past years it took at least a week. Eating rich foods, staying up absurdly late far too many nights in a row, plus the stress of crazed travel? We were always sick and grumpy the next week. This year, though, I didn’t want to repeat the drama, so I made changes.

I didn’t send out hordes of Christmas cards and photos. I sent out 52. The rest, I just handed to people. We didn’t have massive baking days, I did what I could as I could. I started shopping in July and while I was still wrapping on December 20th, it was peaceful. All that to say, as we prepped to leave the house each day for our events, I kept mulling to myself how all the time I had spent getting myself organized was paying off.  Christmas morning as we slipped out pajama’d children into the car, I actually thought “easy peasy, lemon squeeze-y” as I drank my homemade mocha and settled in for the long drive.

This year there really isn’t a recovery. And for that, I am grateful. My 3 year old has returned to his sweet self now that the anticipation is over. Their gifts were very carefully thought out and I am so grateful for the generosity afforded by not only our current financial status, but in the hearts of our family. The blizzard that forced us to be home bound in the days following Christmas was quite possibly one of the greatest blessings. Instead of feeling compelled to rush out to the store and find storage bins so I could kick the home into top organization, I simply unpacked and wrote thank yous.

Instead of rushing to prepare meals, I was grateful for my panicked Christmas Eve Walmart run for fruit and lettuce. To recover from our holiday meals, we ate fruit and chicken and whole grains. We put together puzzles for days and I watched the kids create train track masterpieces and paint elaborate stories. We watched movies and played games. I folded diapers and washed the sticky kitchen floor under Sylvi’s chair.

This year, I didn’t really need much of a recovery because it was honestly the best Christmas I’ve had in the past 8 years since Matt and I started dating. This year, I wasn’t up all night with sick or nursing babies. I wasn’t dealing with horrible morning sickness. We hadn’t lost family to cancer or babies or miscarriage. Although we were busy and spent a lot of time in the car, we were peaceful. I don’t think life has changed so much as my heart has. Perhaps, just perhaps, my recovery started after last Christmas when I decided it was time to take care of myself. In the last year we’ve become a healthier family: physically, emotionally and mentally. We’ve grown and learned and loved one another more deeply.

Life may not always be so peaceful and easy, but I’m going to enjoy every second while it remains. I learned many lessons in 2012, but perhaps the most important thing I learned was that in order to truly recover, you must be willing to change. In my case, that change was long awaited and much appreciated!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting this March!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • Pinterest Inspiration for Easier Winter Holidays Shannon, writing at Natural Parents Network, shares inspiration for having more relaxed winter holidays from their Handmade Holidays Pinterest board.
  • Seven Recipes for Beans – Post Holiday Cleaning — Destany at They Are All of Me shares her favorite bean recipes that she hopes will help her body recover from overindulging her sweet tooth during the holidays.
  • The Recovery in the Change — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen made changes in her life and attitude throughout 2012 and was pleasantly surprised at how those changes impacted her holiday recovery!
  • Could this question change your life for ever? — To get your new year off on the right footing, Mrs Green of Little Green Blog is challenging us all to love ourselves with commitment and discipline. She asks you to focus on a simple question which might just bring you back in balance…
  • Holiday Recovery — Meegs at A New Day talks about how the holidays can be overwhelming for a toddler, and how she’s helping her 3 year old recover.
  • 5 Ways to Detox After the Holidays — Brittany at The Pistachio Project gives a few ways to help you detox and get back on track after the holiday season has passed.
  • 3 Simple Ways to Establishing Rhythm After the Holidays or Any Time — Sheila at A Living Family shares 3 simple ways to reestablish a rhythm of connection and calm in your family after holidays, visitors, travel or any time.
  • Gemstones For Holiday Hangoverss — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delves into the power of gemstones as an often overlooked means of dealing with the holiday letdown.
  • Getting back to Healthy — Bess at A Warrior Mom talks about the struggle of getting young ones back to eating healthy after several days to weeks of getting more candy and sweets than normal for the holidays and gives some suggestions on how to get them back to eating healthy in the new year.
  • Post Christmas Juice Feast — Sam at Love Parenting explains why she has created a new tradition of juice feasting, and how she includes her toddler when detoxing.
  • The Java Monkey On My Back — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs realizes it is time to kick her cup of Joe habit as a first step toward detoxing.
  • Minimalist Holidays — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t find much need for recovery after her minimalist version of the holidays.
  • Do something for you — Lauren at Hobo Mama urges you to find a silly and indulgent reward of me-time — and she has hers.
  • do we recover? — Kenna at Million Tiny Things wonders what recovery really means in the context of the tragedies of this past holiday season.
  • 37 Easy Ways to Save Money — Shannon at GrowingSlower is sharing these money-saving tips to help get your budget back on track after the holidays.
  • A Two Year Old’s ResolutionsThat Mama Gretchen is putting the holidays behind her with a spin on traditional resolutions — New Year’s goals for her two-year-old! Sound crazy? Read on for an explanation!
  • How to Find Balance after the Holidays — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her favorite ways to start a new year with hope and calmness.
  • Fresh Awakening — For Luschka at Diary of a First Child, the new year has coincided with a return to restful nights. With sleep, she’s found new directions in life, but while she can’t make too many changes to her life right now, she’s inspired and excited about the future.
  • Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season Stoneageparent describes the joys and lows of this year’s festive season, as well as her New Year’s resolutions.
  • Detoxing’ Your Toddler After the Holidays — Does your family suffer side effects from the holidays? Join Christine from African Babies Don’t Cry to learn how she detoxed herself and her toddler off the treats and festivities of the season.
  • Scheduling is OK! — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep explores the possibilities of the — SCHEDULE!!
  • Holiday-Free but not Stress-Free — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot takes it easy after moving with her husband and new babies to Scotland.
  • A Vacation from the World — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children retreats with her family at the end of every year in order to recuperate and enjoy one another.
  • On the Road to Recovery — Dionna at Code Name: Mama isn’t just recovering from the holidays, she’s recovering from a lifestyle.
  • We Never Left the GrindErika Gebhardt compares a typical day pre-holidays and post-holidays.
  • Remembering and Recovering from the Holidays (One day at a time) — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM is recovering from holidays slowly–taking one day at a time–while trying to remember all the sweet moments that passed too quickly.
  • 5 a Day — To get back on track Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy needed a simple system to help her family learn new values.
  • Holiday Detox & Healing: Bieler Broth — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her secret for a gentle, whole-foods-based post-holiday detox: Bieler Broth!
  • I’m Mama Not Supermom — After a year filled with changes Angela at EarthMamas World has to remind herself that she does not have to be supermom while recovering from the holiday chaos.



12 Replies to “The recovery in the change”

  1. I’m glad you had a low stress holiday! We did, too, just by setting our expectations lower. We didn’t have to do everything. We didn’t have to go to every event or make every treat or prepare every favorite holiday dish. Why can we only eat our favorite mashed potatoes on Christmas? There’s no reason why we can’t eat those in February, so it kept me from spending days in the kitchen trying to have everything just so for that one day. We also had Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve so Christmas day could be spent enjoying our new toys and enjoying each other’s company. It was a good holiday.

  2. Well that sounds like a wonderful celebration! My DD usually gets sick because she gets herself SO excited! So we keep paring back more and more, year by year; keeping it simple, not getting myself into a frenzy of obligation and ‘shoulds’. I hear time and time how many people (especially wives and mothers) are exhausted and hate this time of year – it’s such a shame because you’ve shown us how by making a few tweaks it can be a good time for all 🙂

    1. I used to to that! Even as an adult, I’d get myself so worked up over the excitement that I’d throw up. I’m hoping to make it so my own kiddos get to skip that experience 🙂

  3. I think you’ve hit on something that we all need to remember – in *anything* that can be stressful, we need to make self-care a priority. Your holidays sound like they were delightful – I’ll come to your house next year 😉

  4. Congratulations on a low stress holiday! That sounds like a pretty mean feat, but you make it seem easy. This year we never left our house, did our shopping a month in advance, and I was able to look forward to the baking rather than feel forced into it. Even though it was calmer than most, I think I could stand to take a few notes here to make it an even smoother run next year.

  5. Wise and powerful words: “…you must be willing to change.” I am sorry to hear of your past holiday intensity, but it seems like mostly out of your control. I love that you have taken full in hand all that *is* in your power and are leading your family to wellness. Thanks for sharing this experience.

  6. You are giving me so many great ideas for next year! Like starting shopping earlier! I have to say, though, I didn’t find Christmas so much stressful this year — I think because I just had to admit we couldn’t fit everything in, so we were able to choose the important things that fit.

    1. Making that determination about what is important is what I find so hard, though. I’m ashamed to say that it’s taken me this long because I thought EVERYTHING was important… down to what people thought of me. And for the record: this year, I went to Christmas Day in my SWEATPANTS!!! It was epic. 😀

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