By Stephanie Totty Ah, the holidays. That special time of year where my stress level increases by at least 75%, all in the name of making the last two weeks of the year as “magical” as possible for my kids. And let’s be honest, it’s much harder these days with social media to feel like you’re getting everything done, or even doing “enough”. Pinterest is like a giant constant stream of guilt for me, and my Instagram account might as well be sponsored by that damn elf with the creepy face. Getting the logistical stuff done (gift shopping, tree decorating, holiday cards) done along with the … [more...]

The first time it happened it was our sweet neighbors across the street. We were new to the neighborhood and the unexpected knock on our door startled us. You can imagine the surprise when we found them standing there, holiday gift in hand (hand carved book ends made of Sandalwood). It happened a few days later when I picked our daughter, then an infant, up from school. That's when I learned the mother of one of her classmates had baked holiday goodies for us. So there I was, twice in the same week, caught flat-footed on the receiving end of a gift with nothing to give back to the … [more...]

Today’s holiday hack is more peace of mind than time management. It’s a reminder that you probably will have to deal with annoying people this month. Why should you think about this before you absolutely have to? Because practicing your poker face can help keep your holiday from becoming a…                 You know you’re going to have to listen to an hour of Uncle Hank’s political views.                   Or your sister-in-law Brandy brag … [more...]

  As if the classroom parties, school breaks (made especially challenging if your kids attend different schools which means different breaks at different times), and holiday gift exchanges weren’t enough, business travel during the holidays makes this month ripe with opportunities for extra stress, and guilt. Since we’re Working Moms Against Guilt here, I’ve got some holiday hacks—I mean, tips—to help reduce stress and manage the holidays even while you’re traveling for work. Let the kids help It’s my experience that even when older kids don’t want to do chores, they’re happy … [more...]

This article is part of our Holiday Hacks for Working Moms series. See the full #holidayhacks list for more ways to hack your holidays, so you can enjoy the season instead of letting it drag you down. What mom doesn't feel the holiday time crunch this time of year? I probably should have considered that booking a Disney Cruise the week before Christmas was going to make December a pretty stressful month. It honestly didn't occur to me until about mid-November when I looked at the calendar and thought what have I done?! On top of trying to figure out how I was going to be prepared for … [more...]

This article is part of our Holiday Hacks for Working Moms series. See the full #holidayhacks list for more ways to hack your holidays, so you can enjoy the season instead of letting it drag you down. "Mom, I want that!" How often do you hear that phrase? Especially around the holidays, kids get particularly vocal about all the things they would like to get from Santa, Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, etc. Hearing it repeatedly can turn any sane parent into a raging lunatic who'd like to call the whole thing off. I found a way to channel this rampant case of the gimmes in a way … [more...]

One thing I’m proud of as a working mom is my ability to still cook dinner most nights. I’m the queen of quick and easy recipes. But I also keep a number of pantry staples on hand—things I know I can use to whip up something fast. Recently, Susan re-posted a list of must-haves for quick-and-easy home-cooked meals that I created goodness knows when. I still believe in that list, but I’ve added items over the years. I cook a little healthier now. I’ve expanded my repertoire. And I’ve discovered new things my family likes to eat. So here’s an update. An addendum, if you will: Edamame … [more...]

Inspired by this new "global day of giving back" #GivingTuesday (much preferable to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in my opinion), I started thinking about what we as parents could do to encourage our children to give. Raising a generous child seems like a noble goal, but how exactly do you go about it? I don't claim to be an expert in generosity or parenting. But I do have a few ideas to share that might help. Maybe you do, too. Show, don't tell. We know kids learn how to act by watching how their parents behave more than what we tell them. So be the generous grownup you wish to see your … [more...]

Remember when we were kids and the holidays were all magic and treats, snowflakes and candy canes, delights to unwrap around every corner? Once you grow up and have your own kids—while simultaneously managing a job and all your other grownup responsibilities—the magic gets lost. The holidays become a source of major stress. We want to provide our families with that magical experience, but somehow, our to-do list spirals out of control and we're left feeling overwhelmed. (There's a book for that. We recommend it as a gift to yourself, your spouse and maybe even your boss.) Here at … [more...]

Editor's note: This article was updated for the 2014 holiday season. Trying to think of the perfect Christmas gift for your favorite working mom? Or have you been too busy to make a list for yourselves, ladies? Lucky for you, I made this list of Christmas gifts for working moms—with the help of fellow working moms I know—and checked it twice. Now it's time for you to be nice. Show the working mom in your life how much she's appreciated! (Moms: Feel free to forward this link to your partners, parents, etc.) Homemade meal-prep service, such as Dream Dinners or The Dinner … [more...]