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Christmas Hacks for Busy Mums

Christmas is a special time but when you are a busy mum....there are times you basically just cannot face Christmas - but you don't want to be a Christmas Grinch - I totally get it!! blog-final Things just happen when you are a mum which can mean Christmas is on the back-burner. I originally wrote this blog last year while in the thick of finishing my Doctoral thesis! The previous year I was so heavily pregnant and in excruciating pain from pelvic arthropathy I could barely walk or look after our toddler let alone face anything festive. This year despite not writing a thesis (or being pregnant for that matter) life is still running at full steam and all of these tips below have stood their ground in helping me through the overwhelm this season can bring. I know it looks like from Facebook everyone is doing amazing Christmas things, massive decorated trees worthy of being in a magazine, presents already wrapped and parties every night, but do not worry you are not the only one who is literally just taking this month one day at a time! So here are my Christmas hacks for getting through this time of year and still enjoying what is important to you: 1. Christmas Trees – Real ones get destroyed especially if you have fur covered creatures in the house (we tried that one year with epic failure). Large artificial tress can be super expensive and take ages to set up. We have one (passed down from friends!) which is 30cm high, comes out straight from box - with little decorations on it already = done! To be honest I was not sure if we could get away with using this again this year (Master 4 is more aware of Christmas) but after I dug this out from the garage and brought it up stairs it was him that found it at 5am and pulled it out in excitement wanting to build a train around it. Goes to show right!! xmas-tree 2. Santa Parades – avoid at ALL costs – or go at your peril. Even better, bribe a family member or friend to take the monkeys and you actually have a shower/sleep/coffee in peace (did I say that…yes I did!). 3. Food shopping - strictly go at the crack of dawn or late at night. The great thing about children is they are always up early!! I find food shopping with two active toddlers highly stressful at the best of times. Fighting a wave of hectic shoppers and all that chocolate right in eye sight of said monkeys is worth avoiding at all costs. 4. Treat Food – Putting some boundaries in around treat foods will help you feel in control and not get trapped in the guilt cycle of eating poor food choices. Plus, it will save the inevitable bloating and generally feeling crappy. Focus on buying nutritious food that you do not normally get to eat...as that truly is a treat! 5. Keep it Simple! While on the topic of food, one of the hardest challenges of this season the pressure around all the food preparation and having family over. Remember it does not all need to happen on one day AND you can keep it really simple. We pick one nice large piece of meat that requires the oven (hands off cooking!) with some roasted vegetables and a special dessert. Lamb is a sure favourite in our house and I try to buy this in advance while on special and my husband loves port trifle so that is normally our Christmas dessert! (Our family lamb roast is in my cook book Healthy Easy Dinners for Busy Mums!) lamb-roast054-copy 6. Family Events - Can't face extended/immediate/random family have-tos? Honestly just fake child sickness -conjunctivitis works a treat from personal experience (shhhhh). Remember if it is something that is going to take from your tank, do not feel you have to go! 7. Presents – Online shopping is where it is at.... and hello Kmart – open until midnight so you can actually go at 9pm. I got bra for $4 from there recently, so hell, splash out and treat yourself while you are there. I am really not a fan of buying kids heaps of presents; they want experiences not things, and so do I. We get one present for them, and then hit Boxing day specials for essentials. Kids love presents all year around so stock up and then hide them away for those emergency situations i.e horrible rainy day inside with 2 hyperactive monkeys THAT is when you need bribes (I mean presents) - not Christmas. P.S If you are looking for some gift ideas jump on over to my online shop - loads of practical gifts that you can get without even leaving the house, plus we do FREE shipping on my cook book in New Zealand! xmas-ideas 8. Just One Thing - When the day seems really overwhelming, I find it really helpful to just do one thing which makes you feel back in control. I previously wrote a blog about this when I was writing my thesis. It may even be as small as sitting outside for five minutes with a cup of coffee. Personally I find making something in the kitchen really calming and like I have done something that will help ease the pressure in a small way - check out my Coconut and Date Truffles, they are perfect to take to a function or gathering with very little work! 9. Christmas Outfits - I am a sucker when I see cute Christmas outfits on the kids it fills my mummy cup and the Christmas magic is sparked. The $2 shops have all you need and this can help even the most grinchy peeps get in the mood! smushie 10. Your Special Thing – Have a special tradition that you do every year and it can be small but that makes you know you have done ‘something’ for Christmas. Mine is a photo is Santa every year at the mall – one day these monkeys will be too cool do this with this us so for now I am lapping it up…we still have this years one to do!! christmas-collage MOST OF ALL – just enjoy your time with your loved ones, THAT is what Christmas really is about, even if it is a sleep deprived slightly zombie like cuddle with your husband and a baby strapped to your chest/boob/leg. Merry Christmas!! xxx Dr Julie Bhosale

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