Have you ever promised your little one you’d bake something together only to completely regret it? The first two steps of the recipe go okay, but then your daughter suddenly looks like a little psychotic sous chef with her thick, runny nose, and crazy morning hair all over the place. She’s barely balancing on her helper’s stool with one foot, and kicking you with the other. There’s no way you’re handing over the spoon because this is your last cup of chocolate chips and you’ll be darned if a threenager is going to ruin the cookies you’re planning to give to friends in festive holiday tins. No matter how much you try to let go and enjoy this culinary bonding moment with your child, there’s beads of sweat forming on your hairline and you’re just trying not to scream, You’re killing me, Smalls! Now, if she would just let go. of. the. spoon!
The secret to ditching perfectionism is to release control of the outcome once and for all. Perfectionism fades when you no longer measure success by what you produce. So, this holiday, instead of prioritizing the production of each event or memory, we want you to prioritize the people in them.
When you host:
Set a family “host mode” and let everyone know when this starts! It’s not fair to start barking at your kids about their messes twenty minutes before guests arrive when they have no clue what’s going on. Long before you enter the urgent zone (the hour before the party starts) delegate responsibilities to everyone for how they are to help you prepare the home and the food. After you’ve spread out the tasks, we want you to focus on the answer to one simple question and let it dictate the way you spend your energy as a host. How do you want people to feel while they’re in your home, and then again after they leave?
When you are a guest:
Set the same type of family “exit mode” for packing and preparing for a trip, or a day in someone’s home. Delegate responsibilities with plenty of time for them to complete each task. And more important than any dish or gift you can bring to someone’s home, is how you as a family choose to answer another simple question. Why are you attending this event, and how do you want this family to feel after you leave their home?
When you’re with your children:
If it’s an important time where the outcome matters to you – don’t invite your kids into the kitchen! But, if you simply want to create the memories of baking together – the ones in magazines where mother and child frolic in the flour and touch each others’ noses with frosting on their fingertips – then set aside a time for just that! Have a ‘kid baking time’ and get a whole extra dozen (cheap, non-organic) eggs to practice cracking, and make something extra simple like a bread dough or sugar cookies, just for them to nibble when it comes out of the oven. They’ll be thrilled with their creation and you’ve gotten your sweet memory simply because you chose to let that baking session be productive in a “people only” kind of way.
Releasing control over the production of this holiday will organically prioritize people, and the way you make others feel is a memory that will last a lot longer than a perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies.