Christmas can be a very hectic time of year and can be particularly challenging for business women with families.
Now, I am sure there are families where the menfolk take on their fair share of the Christmas chores, but I would venture to say that they are the exception rather the rule. Most of the writing of cards, buying and wrapping of presents, the catering and family organising tends to fall on the shoulders of the girls – it’s our traditional role which doesn’t seem to have changed with our entry into the workplace.
This means that Christmas often becomes a juggling act between business and family obligations – often meaning stress rather than fun is the result.
Until a couple of years ago I found it difficult to get the balance right, and two years in a row was actually ill over the Christmas period as a result. It is one of those inexplicable phenomina that as soon as you relax after a period of hectic activity that your body sees it as an opportunity to be ill!
So I decided I had to pace myself to survive and enjoy Christmas again.
Firstly, I try to buy Christmas presents throughout the year – this not only helps with the pacing thing but also helps to spread the cost.
Secondly, I cut myself a little slack and don’t put pressure on myself to provide a ‘perfect’ Christmas. Just because Nigella and Delia have the time and skills to produce endless quantities of delicious Christmas fare, does not mean that we mere mortals have to emulate them. I don’t see the point in spending hours in the kitchen preparing food which my family will demolish in 5 minutes!
Finally, I close the office on the same day the schools break up. This means I can spend some quality time with the boys. I give my clients plenty of notice so we can cover any issues in good time and, in any case, most of them are winding down too.
So, in parting, I would just like to say this, give yourself a break and enjoy the festive season.
MERRY CHRISTMAS – and a happy 2011 too.