Christmas is the most chaotic time of year

This one has definitely snuck up on me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have any childlike naivety that Christmas is anything other than utterly stressful for parents but wow! This one particularly seems to have flashed past in an exhausting heap of childcare, airport runs, entertaining, dog walking, then back to the beginning again.

New Years Eve feels like the longest day on earth

Honestly I’m not even sure why! Maybe we put too much expectation into the coming year and don’t realise that we’re already setting ourselves up for failure buy staying up later than usual on the last night of the year.

This year I was lucky in that I didn’t have the early alarm clock of kids on New Years Day but staying up until 2:30am still wasn’t the best plan. Time to remember that I’m 36 and need sleep, not 26 and can carry on partying all night and well into the next day.

Communication is key

There’s always one (or two) occasion(s) during the Christmas/New Year period where I end up a sobbing wreck, totally overwhelmed and crying that I want to see my best friends who live in the U.S. I think it’s more because I imagine the peaceful bliss of flying solo for 9 or 11 hours, than actually wanting to see those friends (just kidding – love you guys!)

This year felt different as I was better at talking when things got tough. My partner is an amazing communicator and said he finds it frustrating when I don’t communicate. He encouraged me to keep talking, even when I was having meltdowns (brave man!) It definitely made the festive period easier for us all.

Set bedtimes are a must

I speak as someone who did not follow this advice. Keeping the kids up for Christmas night, Boxing Day, New Years Eve was all fab and really fun at the time but the resulting days of tears, tantrums, all the kids falling out and then having to re-establish bedtime routines was not fun. I’m hoping that at the end of 2018 I’ll revisit this list and remind myself to put the kids to bed!

Returning to work and school is harder than any other time of year

It could be because the kids are only off school for 2 weeks. Maybe it’s because of all the chaos, the ‘fun’ activities and visiting relatives. Or spending approximately 20 hours in queues just before the shops close for a grand total of 1 day. In any case, most parents are returning to work feeling as though they’ve been run over by a truck. The kids aren’t faring much better having spent 2 weeks fulled by sugar and late nights. Luckily this week they become school’s problem once more. Must remember to buy the teachers a great gift at the end of term!