Scheduling Secrets for Holiday Happiness [for Moms]
By Molly Gold

Most Moms I know love to execute a fun-filled holiday season without wearing themselves out. But lets face it...the life of a moms during the holidays is beyond hectic. Many of us find ourselves hosting one winter holiday and traveling to another, not to mention finalizing year end reports and increased functions we are "required" to attend that occur on many a school night.

The hectic pace of having it all leaves us scrambling for everything from presents for teachers to a well-stocked fridge before the relatives arrive. To help families enjoy the Winter Holidays with all its charm and wonder, Moms simply need to plan ahead. Check out GO MOM INC’s Holiday Hit List with the best four scheduling solutions for a Happy Holiday Season:

Apply the Rule of One: One holiday social event per weekend, that is. And when you accept an invitation, contact your babysitter immediately so you won’t find yourself empty handed. We quickly over-schedule during the holidays and then wonder why the season feels more like a treadmill than a celebration. With her planner in tow, Mom can carefully commit everyone’s time, leaving room for winter sports, the usual tour of weekend birthdays, commitments at your place of worship, and just plain hang time to enjoy the warmth of your own home and family. While you are scheduling, review all school holiday performances and events with your partner so if needed, time off can be requested now and sitters for younger siblings can be arranged. If simultaneous events occur, have each partner take one event so everyone is covered with an adoring adult.

Family Traditions: At our house, its Gram Hayden’s Peanut Butter Balls. Winter holidays just can’t commence without a huge batch of these to start the season off right. Maybe you decorate your home Thanksgiving weekend, or maybe you believe in Santa and visit him at the mall every year Christmas week. You need to schedule these celebrations to make sure they occur, just as they do every year, while you zoom through the fun. Offer your children the rituals you cherished as a child. Tell them why they are special and together start your own. You can create a Family Traditions Book where you record each activity with its history and then add to it through the year. Your children will grow to love this routine and you will offer a legacy for their children to cherish someday as well.

Act from the Heart: Teach your children the significance of their affections by encouraging personalized, handmade gifts for their favorite friends and teachers. Offer your child a choice between activities such as baking cookies or decorating candle votives. Check out your favorite parenting websites for craft resources that even the least creative parent and child team can tackle and then schedule family time for baking with your Picasso hard at work. Be careful not to override your child’s creativity with a drive for perfect presentation. Remember the lesson here is showing the value of heartfelt gestures for gift giving occasions. Go one step further and have your children sort through their toys and offer items outgrown or less favored to local charities. Throw away anything broken or recalled and help your children deliver their gifts to their charity of choice.

Entertain Early: Remember flu season? It's back just in time for the holidays. Murphy’s law dictates that on the very day you have your annual open house for 75 friends and neighbors, someone under your roof will have a fever. So what’s a mother’s best defense? Entertain early in the holiday season and be prepared ahead of time so you can handle last minute challenges such as this. Have your event before the season gets the best of you. Then you can enjoy the preparations to welcome loved ones to your home. By minimizing last minute party tasks, you will build in time to handle the unexpected bumps life always hands us. And if you have to reschedule the entire event, remember it is not the end of the world. We are always a Mom first and although sometimes messy, it is always an honor.