Flying Through the Holidays


Welcome to the December Mindful Mama Carnival: Staying Mindful During the Holiday Season

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival


The holidays are happy times: families come together. They set aside their differences and reconcile and celebrate. They eat, drink, and be merry. All is well during the holidays.

Except that it isn’t. Behind every great party, every family get-together, every gift decision is stress. How will I get everything done for the party? Is my house neat enough? Cousin Amber has allergies – what do I do about dinner? What’s an age-appropriate gift for my nephew? When will we have time for our holiday cards?

Holiday stress is very real, and it is easy to get so caught up with the worrying and the uncertainty. How can anyone stay mindful, or at peace, during this busy time of year?

A year ago, I would have had no clue. Six months ago, I would have been stressed to the max. Each year, before we even get to Christmas, we have a lot of celebrating: my husband’s family celebrates Thanksgiving as its big holiday celebration. My husband’s birthday fall in early December. My son turns two on Christmas Eve. That’s a lot of planning.

Three months ago, I discovered mindfulness in an unexpected place. I was standing in the middle of my messy, cluttered, overwhelming kitchen wondering how things got so bad. I picked up my iPad off of a pile of clutter on the counter and asked how to make things better.

It led me to Fly Lady.

Fly Lady understands that tackling a big, messy, unkempt, cluttered house all at once is asking for failure. She advocates spending small amounts of quality time taking on one task at a time. One focused task, fifteen minutes a day. Baby steps towards big goals.

There’s mindfulness in there. It took me a little while to see it, but now I live it every day.

She begins with shining your sink. Something simple, something that’s not overwhelming. But something that will give you a great feeling of pride when you are done. Every night I finish all the dishes and polish my sink until it gleams. It takes only a few minutes, but it lets me focus only on the task at hand. It is a quiet, peaceful time for me. And the results? Every morning I come downstairs to a gleaming sink, with no dirty dishes. It calms me.

And from there, Fly Lady baby-steps you through each room of your house, fifteen focused minutes at a time. And she admonishes you: if you missed something, you are not behind! Don’t try to catch up, just jump in where you are.

Boy, did I need to hear those words.

So how did Fly Lady help me stay mindful during the holidays? Let me count the ways:

1. I’m not stressing about my house being “clean enough for company.” That’s always my biggest holiday stress. But now I know it is clean, and it will continue to be clean.

2. Since my cleaning tasks are more focused – more quality than quantity – I have more time to take care of other details like gift buying and meal planning.

3. Fly Lady suggests keeping an organizational notebook or “control journal.” Control is a wonderful feeling. I’m the queen of organization now, and that organization has gone well beyond having a clean house. My office is more organized, our family time is more organized. My holiday planning is in order.

4. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Fly Lady has your back specifically as to the holidays with her Cruising Through the Holidays plan. I particularly like her 11 Stressers into Blessers.

Did I mention that Fly Lady is a free site?

This year, I have achieved a balance that I’ve never had before. I’m looking forward to the holidays, the family get-togethers, the big meals. I’m not stressed about the planning and preparation; instead, I’m enjoying this special time of the year.


Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!

On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Enjoying Busy Times Moment by Moment Amy at Peace 4 Parents offers a handful of simple pointers to make the most of any busy season in your life.
  • Staying A Mindful Mama During The Holiday Season Terri at Eco-Crazy Mom shares her thoughts on being a mindful mama, while keeping your sanity throughout the holiday season..
  • Holiday Parenting: The Gift of Natural Play Moorea at MamaLady shares her holiday plan for mindfully spending time with children in her extended family.
  • The ABC’s of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama provides a comprehensive list of Mindful Parenting Resultions for 2012. In addition, she briefly reviews her mindful parenting journey for this past year.
  • The 123′s of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares part 3 of her Mindful Parenting series (Link will be live tomorrow, Dec 14).
  • Mindful Mama Guest Post from Hybrid Rasta Mama Zoie at TouchstoneZ is honored to share Part 2 of Jennifer’s series on staying Mindful for the Holidays.
  • Saying No to Plastic Toys Nada at minimomist and her husband Michael, have certain rules when it comes to toys for their daughter Naomi. Here’s how they deal with well-meaning gifts that don’t quite work for their family.
  • Can you LOVE WHAT IS at Christmas? with so many expectations and no many people’s needs to accomodate, Patti at Jazzy Mama has decided to simply accept what can’t be changed and love whatever happens.
  • Minimal Temptation, Minimal Gifting Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares how not exposing herself to tempting purchases, as well as having fun family traditions, helps keep her Christmas list under control.
  • Choice And Consequence In Conscious Mindfulness Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her realisation that consciously monitoring our thoughts have a powerful effect on our lives, regardless of circumstances or influences.
  • Nature-Inspired Christmas Tree Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling describes how she and her children discovered the beauty and simplicity of a nature-inspired holiday tree.
  • Giving The Gift of Life Free Range Mama at My Healthy Green Family shares about teaching children how to look beyond the well-wrapped box and learn how to give. .
  • Can a collection of moments be more than the whole? Tat at Mum in search asks how do you turn a holiday from hell into a series of beautiful moments?
  • Flying Through the Holidays Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses how a simple organizational plan has kept her holidays balanced.
  • Celebrating Advent week to week Lauren at Hobo Mama finds that counting down weeks instead of days helps children with the long wait.
  • 5 Ways to Stay Mindful This Holiday Season Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares ideas and photos that help her stay mindful throughout the holidays.
  • Simplifying the Holidays Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how simplifying the holidays has made them more special for her.
  • Mindfully Managing the Mania Erica at ChildOrganics fights against “the gimmes” and shares strategies for staying balanced during a time of year when it’s easy to overindulge.
  • Six Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Losing Your Mindfulness Rachael at The Variegated Life shares tips on thinking less, planning less, doing less, and remembering.
  • The Gift of Presence Darcel at The Mahogany Way explains how important it is to be present for and with her family during the Holidays.
  • Mindfully meditating on celebrations Terri at Child of the Nature Isle desires meaningful celebrations for the whole year.
  • What Does It Really Mean? Staying Mindful Through the Holiday Season Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about how she stays in touch with what the holiday season means for her and her family, in spite of all the temptations to do otherwise!

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8 Responses to Flying Through the Holidays

  1. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    I'm so inspired that FlyLady's working out for you so well! I'm (ahem) a FlyLady dropout. But we need to do something to get back on track, and you're motivating me to give it another shot.

  2. Tat

    It sounds like a fantastic site to check out! I remember using the baby-steps-at-a-time approach when my son was a baby and it worked wonders, I'm not sure why I never stuck to it in the long run.

  3. Rachael

    My goodness, everything I hear about FlyLady is so appealing! I've been stalling at getting started with it, because I've been focusing on working other changes in my life first. But maybe I should move FlyLady up from the bottom of the list?

    Enjoy the holidays!

  4. Sylvia@MaMammalia

    Boy, did I need to hear your words! I live in perpetual clutter and I'm dying to de-clutter because it definitely adds to whatever stress might be going on in life. My ultimate goal is total minimalism, but you'd never guess from the mess. Does FlyLady tell you what to do with a pack-rat husband? I'm definitely going to check it out.

    And then to be able to use organization as a time to practice mindfulness — totally cool!

  5. Kerry @ City Kids Ho

    Such a great post, and I will definitely have to check out that website! I also find that little things like a dish-filled kitchen sink can make me feel overwhelmed and frustrated, and it's a good reminder– especially during the holidays– to be mindful about what truly is important during our days.

    -Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling

  6. Terri Babin

    Thank you so much for sharing this post, I often have so much to do I don't know where to start either. I look forward to checking out Fly Lady, it sounds like an incredible resource!


    Terri Babin


  7. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ

    Thank you for participating in the Mindful Mama Carnival.

    I am a fly lady drop out, too. I found the number of emails overwhelming and it just became too much to keep up with. But, I really need someone to kick me in the booty so I can get the clutter under control. I'll have a look at her program again, because I agree it is a mindfulness practice to focus on the task at hand. Being in service to my family and my own peacefulness is a huge thing for me.

    I'll just ignore her insistence on wearing shoes in the house ;)

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