Contemplative Advent?

Every year I’m committed to enjoying the Advent season to the fullest. Not to meet all the people again, answer all the emails, buy everyone a present. This year, I will not pretend that the world will end on 12/24!

I also really want to stick to the deal this time: no presents for the adults. Instead, I will be “present” for my two kids.

They come home from school quite tense. Definitely ready for the vacations. Is baking really a good idea today? But they are so much looking forward to it! And we promised their little friend, too.

"Be the cool, patient, sensitive mom for once," I tell myself.

The kitchen is quickly immersed in a cloud of flour. Mountains of dough, cookie cutters, decorations without end. And the bickering begins: who will cut out the hedgehog, who the cinnamon star? Who gets to mix the lemon icing, who has more pink glitter ball decorations, who gets the most cookies? Kids, kids, please!

But I also scold a lot more than I would like. To calm my nerves, I polish off the remaining couverture chocolate and make myself coffee no. 2, despite the auto-imposed ban on coffee. Where is my serenity, that I meditated so passionately on this morning?

Christmas is the celebration of love, where we think of making everyone happy. We forget that love may also include ourselves. Moms, especially, think of self-care as a nice to have, maybe even a luxury. My partner, the kids, our cinnamon stars - everything is important except me!

In fact, we can only give to others what we have ourselves. When energy and love of life are exhausted, we can't pass them on either. Of course, nobody burns out from one day to the next. Exhaustion creeps in slowly by ignoring our needs over time: for connection, self-efficacy, relaxation.

Dear moms, how about, we try it the other way around? What if love starts inside, and circles around from there? Self-care means giving others your best and not what is left of you!

With that, I wish you a happy, relaxing Advent!