OK, it’s Friday. A perfect day to vent that I’m done. Not totally done with my holiday shopping. (But yes, I’m almost there thanks to online shopping!) I’m done trying to be THAT mom this holiday season. You know the one I’m talking about. The one who always has time to juggle EVERYTHING perfectly during the holidays. And the one who enjoys one-upping other moms for no reason, except to make the rest of us awesome but not-so-perfect moms feel inadequate. You know her. She’s the Stepford-wife-wanna-be who was done with her holiday shopping in September. She’s the first to volunteer with the PTO, PTA and PTB (PTB is not real, I’m just on a roll, so bear with me here) while training for a marathon, four kids and an insanely beautiful house with Christmas decorations that belong on the cover of a magazine.

We moms need to stay sane during the holidays by simplifying, not stressing out more. Life is too short to drive yourself crazy.

Is anyone REALLY going to care that I don’t put a long hand-typed letter along with 15 pictures of my kids on my Christmas card?

That I cheat and use a photo we took during February vacation?

How about the fact that I recycle the same FAKE but oh-so-cute wreath that I bought on sale from Target six years ago? It looks real and I love it.

Or that we cheat and bought a fake Christmas tree (with lights on them) when we first got our Golden Retriever puppy three years ago so he wouldn’t ingest dried up pine needles?

Or how about the fact that I make sure to bake pies and cookies BEFORE Christmas Eve so I don’t waste the whole day in the kitchen especially when relatives have traveled thousands of miles to spend quality time with us?

It’s important for us to not try to do everything perfect, or we lose sight of the good stuff. From snow ball fights with the kids to relaxing get-togethers with friends and family.

Here are some fun ways to SIMPLIFY your life during this busy time of year:

1)      Ask your man. If he doesn’t already, ask your husband (or boyfriend) to help with holiday shopping, gift wrapping or even vacuuming. He might surprise you. (If he doesn’t, then you need to call me and we’ll vent over wine.)

2)      Night-time folding. Do your laundry at night while watching TV. It makes it less daunting and can actually be relaxing. There is NOTHING like folding clothes while watching re-runs of Sex and the City.

3)      Bake beforehand. Prepare pies, cookies and other desserts a few days before the holidays so you don’t spend every waking minute in the kitchen. Freeze meat pies. Freeze dough. It does a mama good.

4)      Time it. Set an egg-timer to ensure that you get something done without interruption. (Without checking Facebook, email or Twitter.) I started doing this for work assignments years ago, and find it helps with holiday tasks as well. I set my timer for 60 minutes recently and filled out almost all of my holiday cards. I was so excited! You can do it too!

5)      Wrap with Carrie B. Make a goal of wrapping at least one gift a day so you aren’t bombarded with gift-wrapping at 11:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Or how about wrapping while watching your favorite show (like re-runs of Sex and the City) (after the kids are in bed). You’ll be amazed at how quickly the time flies and how much you can accomplish.

6)      Make it a family event. Have your kids help you with tasks. They can help you decorate the Christmas tree, decorate the yard, carry in firewood, and take their folded clothes to their rooms. My daughter helped me bake four dozen cookies yesterday and we had a blast. My son always enjoys bringing in firewood with my husband. The trick is to not ask them, but say, “Guess what we’re doing together this afternoon?” And nine times out of 10, they get excited about it.

The key is to stop trying to be all Steford-like and simplify so you can enjoy the holidays. Now get going and enjoy the day!