There are a few things you can do to make the holiday hustle a little easier. For us, the hardest part was going to all of the gatherings. Three at Thanksgiving, and sometimes up to five at Christmas.

Let’s face it, being a parent is exhausting when you have babes & tots, but even more exhausting around the holidays. You may be feeling overwhelmed, you may be dreading the holidays because to you it means babies off of schedules, extreme fatigue and rushing around. But, there are some things you can do to make the holiday hustle a bit easier.

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Plan ahead

It may sound like a no-brainer to plan ahead but really this tip cannot be overlooked or taken too lightly. Plan ahead what you will need – from baby bag, to stuff in the car, to the food you will bring. If you need to, have a second baby bag that you will pack just so you can have it packed and ready to go days before you actually have to leave.

If you have room, go ahead and start putting stuff in a designated area of your vehicle. For instance, if you have a mini van, consider sticking a tub in the back that you can start putting in things like a bag of extra baby clothes, the baby bag, any other baby stuff you may need.

Put it all in crockpots

Crockpots aren’t glamorous but they get the job done. When everyone signs up for the food to bring to the family gathering, sign up for something you can bring in the crockpot. From sides to desserts, there are tons (I mean TONS) of recipes on Pinterest to help a mother out and bring something in a crock pot.

When you bring crockpot food to a family gathering life becomes much more simple. Look for recipes like this Slow Cooker Creamed Corn – just a few ingredients, dump them in and go. In colder climates you could even dump all of this in a crock the night before and load it into the crock.

Using crockpots not only makes packing up easier, but it guarantees you won’t have to go back to the house multiple times to pick up food!

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Get creative

If you’re so inclined you could get out of making food altogether. Ask the host or hostess if you can bring stuff like napkins, plastic utensils, a centerpiece, or some other extra. This saves you the hassle of cooking or preparing any food and you can put these items in the car ahead of time.

You could also order a pie from a local store and have it delivered to the hostess’ house or pick it up on the way to their home.

Take care of the family pet

If you have a family pet, make arrangements for him so you don’t have to keep stopping home during the day. Either take him with you or consider asking a neighbor who will be home to come in and let him out.

Plan for the best, prepare for the worst

You may have been given this advice on your wedding day – and it holds true for holidays with kids – plan for the best but prepare for the worst. In other words, mentally prepare for if you kid has a meltdown because the cranberry sauce wiggled, or you forget the baby wipes and have to use toilet paper (been there), or if someone says something less than kind. Let it roll off of you like water off of a duck’s back and focus on the good.

Let other people help

If someone, anyone, offers to help let them! I think this is one area that most of us can use improvement in most of the time. And why is that? Do we think we need to be able to juggle all of these things on our own in order to be a real mom? Are we somehow less than if someone offers to help?

Honestly we have to get over ourselves and realize help is a good thing so if someone offers to hold your baby – let them and go eat. If someone offers to make a plate of food for your tot – let them and go enjoy the company of others, or heck, go take a nap.

Brave mama, I commend you for venturing out into this holiday hustle with young kiddos in tow. Know that you can do this. Not because of these awesome tips (wink wink) ok, maybe partially because of these awesome tips – but MOSTLY because you are enough. You can do this. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. Now go have a great holiday, take lots of photos, eat way too much, laugh often and enjoy.

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