Are You a Perfectionist? Me Too. Here’s How I’m Embracing the Messiness This Season

Tip 1: Delegate.

By Brandy Joy Smith
burrata appetizer for holiday dinner

Confession: I’m a recovering Type A perfectionist. You might know us as the ones that unpack our moving boxes immediately (the day after we give birth), are always working on a Pinterest project, won’t attempt anything we can’t make perfect and tend to take on all the tasks so that we can control the outcomes. Sound like anyone you know? Maybe it even sounds like you? If so, I get it. And I’m here to tell you, it’s a lot of unnecessary pressure to carry around.

That pressure can compound itself around the holidays in the most unnecessary ways. A few nights ago I spent a good 45 minutes looking for the perfect pair of family pajamas for Christmas eve/morning when I knew I should have been sleeping. Basic, I know! Guess what? They don’t exist — because there’s no such thing as perfect.

As women and mothers, so many of us feel like we have to create this perfectly curated experience, magical memories, breathtaking tablescapes. I want to remind women that it is essential to have imperfect moments and to allow the messiness! These are the times your children will remember; baking cookies (even though the kitchen might get destroyed) and they’ll remember tearing through the wrapping paper or staying up late trying to catch Santa. They won’t remember your perfectly coordinated table settings. To be honest, one of the stand-out memories I have of my childhood Christmas is the year my dad fell through the window trying to put up our Christmas tree. Don’t worry, he wasn’t hurt! We laughed so hard together and told that story yearly.

matching family christmas pajamas

It’s also important to be mindful that your family wants to be there and to help you. Allowing your MIL to bring the pies doesn’t mean you’re less than. Everyone is here to enjoy the experience; you shouldn’t overwork for days and not have the energy to enjoy yourself because you’re too tired. So how does a self-recovering perfectionist move forward? We delegate, and we embrace all the imperfect moments. Because let’s face it, sometimes they make the best memories.

Here are my three quick tips on how to delegate and enjoy more of the holiday magic!

  1. Write down the tasks you enjoy. Keep those and go ham on them. Then write down the things that gave you the most stress last year. Delete those or see if someone in your family might enjoy them more. When I was little, I would bribe my sister to do my wrapping. She loved it; I was not too fond of it—win-win!
  2. Ask your family how they might want to chip in. Remember, it might not be done to your standards, but you’re allowing someone to share with you. 
  3. For the big tasks get everyone involved and make it a team effort. 

family game night

Sometimes these pivots can be easier said than done. But making a conscious effort to weave in these small changes really will help to alleviate holiday stress. I recently stumbled upon a book called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. This book’s premise is to put all of your New Years’ resolutions together and knock one off your list each month, gathering them up throughout the year. By the end of the year, you’ve worked to complete each resolution. Think of your holiday stresses in this way. Each day you slowly do (or don’t do) a task, the closer you’ll come to enjoying family time rather than stress about it. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!