[00:00:00] Hey, my name is Patricia Ciavarello and I am obsessed with all things motherhood and helping you keep calm in the chaos of motherhood and life's unexpected moments. I am a mom of twins with a doctorate in business whose world fell apart and had to pick myself up piece by piece. I am not an expert, but I have totally been there and I am so far from perfect, but definitely not afraid to get real and vulnerable.
I teach you the secrets to motherhood and life I wish someone told me because as much as we wish there was, nobody hands you on mommy manual. So pull up a seat, get comfy and get ready for me to spill my secrets. This is Real Mom Truths Nobody Tells You. I am so grateful that you are tuned into this episode of Real Mom Truths Nobody Tells You.
Now we all know the holidays are approaching. [00:01:00] And if you're like me, I actually love this time of year. But what I don't love is all the stress and overwhelm that has become associated with it. And literally it has turned into this marathon holiday season that before, you know, it just sucks all the fun out of it.
So this is my guide to you as to how to survive the holidays without all that extra stuff and stress added to it. So first let's, let's just backtrack for a second. If this is your first time listening to the show, welcome, and I want to touch upon something that we talked about last week. Last week, I shared how [00:02:00] I had two very sobering realities with my twins. In different circumstances, they were both taken to the emergency room and that had to be one of the scariest, most petrifying moments as a mom that I wish I could just take it all away from them and, you know, fight it myself. So those two sobering moments were huge for me.
And it got me thinking really about the holidays too, because I remember in that hospital, there were three things that in an instant, I was super grateful for. Number one, first and foremost how precious health is and how precious and quickly it can be [00:03:00] taken from us. Those moments where my kids were sick and all of a sudden they were battling, you know, illness, all of a sudden, you know, you almost like forget how precious life is. And you know, whether you're an infant, a child, an adult, you know, if you've ever had a health scare or if you've ever not felt good, how quickly you learn to appreciate your health when something goes wrong. Right. So that first and foremost was like, I appreciated that they were on the mend on the recovery and that I had my health and that they were recuperating as well.
Second thing that I learned to appreciate in that moment was food. I remember being up all night and in the ER for like 12 hours straight didn't even go to the restroom because I don't want to [00:04:00] leave her or him for a second. And I'll never forget that nurse. It was after we had been up for like almost two days at that point she came in and she said to me, do you want breakfast?
And I said to her, I said, yeah, I'm just waiting for the kitchen to bring something thank you so much. She was like, no, I'm going to Dunkin Donuts. Do you want anything? And it was like the kindest gesture. And we talked a lot about that last week and about her story, but that cup of coffee, that one breakfast sandwich and those hash Browns that she brought for me, it was as if I've never eaten food in my life, because it was, it one, it was delicious because if you've ever been hungry for a long time, I mean, as I said, last week, I would've eaten cardboard.
I was so hungry, but it was the gesture that made it so sweet [00:05:00] because she took the time to help a mom out who has exhausted, who was worried, who was scared, who was all of the above and that small gesture of a simple meal. And she wouldn't take a dollar for it, which we fought about over and over again, that small gesture food, just simple cup of coffee, sandwich, whatever that may be to be grateful for whatever food it is that you have in front of you or to be grateful for that person that is kind enough to bring you food. I mean, those are like life's beautiful and selfless moments, right? So if you see somebody who needs some food or is tired or has no food, help them out, give them something, make their day a little bit brighter because I can tell you now for [00:06:00] certain, I will never forget that nurse.
And there was a third thing while I was in that hospital. And I'll tell you how this relates to the holidays in one second is shelter, a roof over my head, and I'll never forget we were in the hospital at that point for a while. And I mean, just being in the hospital, you know, you just want to take a shower, right.
Get all the germs off. Take a shower. And I remember taking a shower eventually at one point, my husband had came and he said, okay, go jump in the shower. I'll stay with her. And I jumped in that shower and it was as if I never showered before. I mean, just the warmth of the water felt so good.
And it almost like all the worry and the fear and the stress went away in that one hot shower. And I thought to myself in that moment, I said, oh my gosh, how many times do you take a shower? How many times do you shovel food down your throat? [00:07:00] How many times do you take for granted the roof over your head, the heat in your house, and when it's all stripped from you, you can't help but to really find gratitude and appreciate the smallest, the stuff that really at the end of the day means everything, right? Your health, your food, your shelter, your water, you know, being with the ones you love, who are healthy and happy and right beside you. So how does this relate to the holidays? Well, I remember even prior to kids, like the holidays had almost became all about the to-do lists, right? The Christmas cards and the cookies and the presents. And you have to buy a million presents for every single person. And you can't offend, you know, uncle Tom and, [00:08:00] and aunt Jenny, you know, wants you to travel three hours to, you know, Christmas Eve. And it almost became the opposite of what it's meant to be. Right. So, I mean, if you're a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, the stress is overwhelming, right? I mean, it can be really stressful to think about you know, gifts when maybe your financials are tight or, you know, finding that perfect picture to put on a Christmas card or, you know, baking cookies, like, you know, every "perfect mom" does.
And I'm here to tell you to make your own rules, you know, forget about what's expected. Forget about what you should [00:09:00] do or who you should give a gift for, or all the shoulda coulda wouldas of the holiday season and do what works for you and your family. You know, if you guys like baking Christmas cookies in your Christmas pajamas, and that's your thing, do it.
If you don't want to drive three hours to aunt Jenny's house, You know that the kids are going to have a fit in the car. And you know, all they do is argue and bicker when you go there and you really don't want to see them. And Jenny to begin with, yeah, it might disappoint someone. It might call for some hard conversations, but at the end of the day, at the end of the day, don't be pressured by what's expected and really take the time to make your own traditions and do what works for you. And I look, I am by no means saying [00:10:00] that family's not important. Family is actually very important, but having a sense of what works for you and your family and having boundaries and having, you know, there's no need for you to drive three hours to aunt Jenny's house if aunt Jenny's house makes you miserable.
Right. Just because your family does that every year, or if there is, you know, that one relative that always comes over to your house and you cook all day and you, you know, treat them with the utmost respect and care and all they do is bash you or talk negatively about you or undermine you then maybe it's time to stop inviting that person and draw a boundary for yourself and show yourself the love that maybe they don't. Right. And I know it's uncomfortable and I know it's hard and I know you don't want to upset anyone. And, you know, [00:11:00] sometimes we get so stuck in the people pleasing of it all. And, oh my gosh, what are they going to think? But I'm here to tell you that if you were ever put in a position where you have to choose between disappointing yourself for the sake of others, I am telling you to choose you and your family, because at the end of the day, it's those little sacrifices that builds up into resentment, you know?
Oh, here we go to aunt Jenny's house for Christmas, but you know, every time we go there, she insults me or she tells me how to parent, my kids or calls me a no good mom or whatever that may be. Right. It's having enough courage to say no to the things that just don't serve you. You know, [00:12:00] if, if you can't afford to buy 30 presents for every cousin and nephew and neighbor and you know, that's okay because at the end of the day, your worth is not valued by the present you purchase. Right? They should love you just enough. Not just enough, just as much when they get a present, when they don't get a present, whether you go to their house for Christmas, whether you don't go to their house for Christmas and yeah, they might be a little disappointed. But if all they are looking for is your present, and they're not making you feel loved and valued, then what's the point.
You are really just torturing yourself. Right? And remember, at the end of the day, what matters most, are those are the [00:13:00] memories that you create for your family, you know, and sometimes those greatest memories come from your own traditions or from the boundaries that you have to create in order to create that environment that thrives for them.
Right. And, you know, I remember when I used to go to the mall during Christmas time. And I mean, who does that anymore? Right? Everything's on Amazon now, especially as a mom, I mean, everything's Amazon, in my book at least and online shopping for sure. Because if I have free time, I mean, yeah sometimes I like to shop, but I really would like to take the time for me and not spending if I have the extra [00:14:00] time, you know, running around like a chicken without a head doing a million errands. So if I can make my life a little easier and do things on Amazon, or instead of, you know, I don't know, instead of going to that holiday lunch that you really don't want to go to you, go for a massage, do it.
It's if that is going to fill your cup. And that is going to refresh you to be a better mom do it. There's no guilt or shame in that because at the end of the day, the most important thing that you can do for your kids is take care of you.
And sometimes, you know, we get caught up in like the hustle and bustle of it all, you know, the Christmas cards. And now I have to make an appointment to take a picture with Santa and your kids are screaming on Santa's lap because they're utterly petrified. And you make an appointment for [00:15:00] this Christmas village but your kids are not sitting still and they won't put the clothes on you picked out and you know, your daughter wants to wear a unicorn shirt with yellow galoshes and your son is like yanking on Santa's beard. And it just gets to a point where you have to say. What in the world am I torturing myself for? Really why am I? Yes, don't get me wrong. I love traditions. I love visiting family.
I love, I mean, I grew up with a very tight knit family. We were always together celebrating. I mean, I can't even tell you the beautiful memories we have, not just Christmas, or during the holiday season, but all year round, we always kind of gathered together and had, these really special memories as a family.
But I, if I'm being honest, if I'm being truly honest and it's, you know, probably cause my kids are still young [00:16:00] and we're still in the thick of it all, it's, it's been a total different transition to experiencing those things as a mom with twins, because I, I mean, I remember I'll never forget it. It was their first Easter after they were born and my mom got them the cutest little outfits and she was like, okay, we're going to do Easter at my house. And we're going to put them in these cute outfits. And I was skeptical. Right. I was like, this isn't going to go well, but okay. Let's give it a try. And oh my goodness, the worst decision ever.
I mean, they screamed and cried the entire time. They were not happy. You know, they tried putting the outfits on, which lasted all of two seconds. Everybody was in the other room, eating and drinking and [00:17:00] having a jolly good time. And me and my husband are sitting there with two screaming, infants going, oh my God, why did we bother?
Because what ended up happening is we just ended up having to leave early and low and behold, as soon as they got home, they were fine. And that's not to say don't visit family because family, all they want to do is love and enjoy and, you know, be a part of your child's life. And that's beautiful. Right. But there is a beauty into recognizing what works and what doesn't.
Sometimes it's just, you know, things that you did before are different now, you know, and I was always the glue right for the family. Like I would gather everybody up, say, okay, everybody come to my house, we're going to do this. We're going to do that. You know, no cooking, we're going to have fun. We're going to play [00:18:00] games.
And now as a new mom, if I'm being honest, it's been an adjustment because as much as I want to be that glue. And I know that eventually, you know, when they get a little bit older and things get a little bit easier and they're not in this, you know, toddler, tantrum stage, it will be as it was.
But I also recognize that, you know, what, if we can't do certain things like we used to anymore, or if things are a little different right now, that's okay. Because at the end of the day you have to protect your sanity. And if bringing two screaming kids to aunt Jenny's house three hours away is giving you anxiety just thinking of it because you know they're going to be miserable and unhappy and running all over the place and throwing everything on the floor and whatnot. That's okay. And that doesn't make you a bad mom and that doesn't make you ill-equipped and that doesn't make them bad children at all. It's just the nature [00:19:00] of kids. Right. And you have to determine what works for you and what works for your family and give yourself the grace to recognize that and just accept it for what it is.
Look, they're going to be grown and you'll be able to say, okay, jump in the car. We're going to aunt Jenny's and we're going to go on an adventure . Or maybe you never go to aunt Jenny's because you can't stand aunt Jenny. I don't know, but it's making those decisions and those choices that work for you and work for your family.
I remember I always, as a kid, I wanted to bake cookies with my mom and, oh my gosh, my mom was an excellent cook. I mean, she made everything and my family, my whole family. But cookie making wasn't really their thing. You know, like it wasn't a tradition they were brought up with and, you know, they, it just, you know, we never did [00:20:00] it..
So as soon as I had kids, I said, okay, we're going to do this cookie tradition and we're going to make cookies and that's going to be our thing. And last year, actually I did, I made like, oh my gosh, maybe 10 different kinds of cookies. Right. And they were delicious and they were amazing. And I made them by myself because my kids were too little at that point, to even help.
And this year, you know, at one point I was like, okay, we're going to make cookies again. And then, you know, things changed and you know, my husband wasn't feeling great and my daughter got suddenly sick and we were in the hospital and I said to my husband, I said, you know what, I'm not doing it. I'm not doing the cookies.
And he totally understood what I was saying in that moment. And it wasn't about the cookies per se. It was, I'm not stressing myself out over cookies just to [00:21:00] make them for the sake of making them you know, and look, we're going to go to grandma's one day and we're going to make cookies with her and it'll be fun.
But my point is, don't pressure yourself by the, what you " should do" or "have to do." Or, you know, if you don't want to do a Christmas card, don't do a Christmas card. Nobody's going to hate you because, I keep saying Christmas, because that's what we celebrate, but whatever your holiday tradition is, you know, if you don't want to do a Christmas card, don't do a Christmas card.
Like don't be the person that pressures yourself and stresses yourself out to the max and, you know, tells yourself you have to make this five course meal for Christmas or six course meal for Christmas Eve, like do whatever works for you in the moment, if you want to do it and it makes you happy and you want to involve your kids, or maybe it's calming for you, go for it.
But if it is stressing you out to the max, then figure out a different way that [00:22:00] works. You order some food if you can financially swing it, maybe you do a potluck and everybody brings something. Or maybe you do a cookie swap and you make one cookie and everybody else makes one cookie. And that's how you end up with your 10 cookies or whatever.
Or maybe you do a Kris Kringle instead of buying 40 presents. Or maybe say, you know what? My kids have every toy in the world that they can imagine for. How about we do a weekend getaway instead of gifts or, or maybe it's a one night where you all kind of get together and have a slumber party or whatever.
Whatever that looks like for you. Don't be drawn into what holidays have kind of stressed everybody out to, for the max and do what really resonates with you and do what works for you and do what works for your family. And I guarantee you, [00:23:00] there's one thing I know for certain, without a shadow of a doubt, that toy that you're stressing yourself out about, they will quickly forget, but that memory that you make with them will last them forever. And that is what the holidays are all about.
As always, I promise to be here for you and serve you and cheer you on every step of the way and spill all the secrets of motherhood and life I wish someone told me. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Real Mom Truths Nobody Tells You.
Until next time, keep on celebrating you because you, my friend, you are so worth it. I am literally doing my happy dance with you because you just finished another episode of Real Mom Truths Nobody Tells You. I felt like that episode flew by way too fast. Right? If you want more head over to www.realmomtruths.com for show [00:24:00] notes, and if you're looking for a new mom group to uplift and encourage you and for helpful tips, be sure to join me and my community on Facebook. The link is waiting for you at www.realmomtruths.com..