A Mom's Guide to Surviving the Nutcracker
One of the biggest challenges during this season is time management plus feeling like you’ve got all your bases covered. Let’s be honest, moms are juggling A LOT right now. Here’s how to attack this season with a plan to feel organized and rested, to enjoy this holiday season and make the most of it ❤︎.
1. Prioritize family time - Try to make family time a top priority no matter how busy you are. Feeling connected as a family by spending quality time together is important. This will bring a sense of balance and rest to your dancer's life as well as to the rest of the family. Don't allow let the busyness of the holiday season to detract from spending time together. Making memories as a family is irreplaceable. You can prioritize this by getting your dancer’s rehearsal schedule ahead of time so that you can carve out time for special family outings, holiday themed activities together and a weekly family dinner. Once you have these penciled in, protect them and prioritize everything else around them.
2. Frozen meals are your friend - If you have frozen meals and snacks on hand, you will gain time as well as some relaxation. You’ll also make healthier choices instead of settling for quick take out when you’re in a crunch. Take a day to food prep a bunch of meals and healthy snacks for your dancer. I love keeping frozen energy balls and other goodies in my freezer that I can just grab when I’m on the go, hitting the gym, or too tired to make dinner.
3. Honor your own desires for this holiday season - What’s important to YOU this holiday season? Moms can get so busy serving everyone else that we forget to think about what we want this holiday season. Self care is not selfish. You are the backbone of your family so it's important to care for yourself too. Ask yourself, “what’s important to me this holiday season?” Give it some thought then write down what you envision that brings you joy and excitement. For me, spending time doing silly, holiday activities as a family is priority, as is being really PRESENT. So I make time to do these activities and I don't over commit myself. If I'm not spread too thin then I feel more rested and relaxed. This helps me be more present :).
4. Can you carpool? - It is SO helpful to have rides taken care of to/from the studio as well as rehearsals. Find out who has a similar schedule to your dancer and see if other moms are willing to carpool with you. You could even tag team with 2 other moms and possibly cut down your driving time by more than half per week! If parents need to stay at rehearsals, see if you can take turns watching and being in charge of several dancers at a time.
5. Food delivery apps - If you or another mom is “on deck” during rehearsals and you need to feed your dancers, save time by using a food delivery app! This saves you from having to pack them full meals or having to run back out to get something.
6. Christmas shop while you wait - Nowadays, it’s almost easier to get all your holiday shopping done online. So while you wait during those long rehearsals, why not sip on a cinnamon latte while getting your shopping done? Mmmm.
7. Start getting Nutcracker gifts now - If your company is big on Nutcracker gifts, start planning and ordering these now. If you’re on a budget, look up some DIY gifts that you can make with your dancer! This could be a great time for the two of you to connect and for you to hear how Nutcracker is going for them.
8. Clear your schedule for tech week - Planning ahead for tech week can alleviate a lot of stress. Try to clear your and your family’s schedule as much as you can for this week. Encourage your dancer to develop a plan for that week: when will they study, when will they rest, and what do they need from you? It’s good for dancers to develop their own time management skills and to be responsible for stuff too so it doesn't always fall on mom :).
9. Make a packing list for your dancer - Remember what it’s like running out the door to get to rehearsal on time with every item in the bag? Not to mention performance time when your grabbing at hair nets, hair spray, and makeup galore. This year, why not make a check list? If your dancer is old enough, ask them to be responsible for packing their own items using the list! Then you can be sure you head out the door with each item they need and no shoe left behind! If you don't know what you need, ask more seasoned moms for a list of "performance essentials" so you aren't running around last minute trying to gather stuff.
10. Practice that stage makeup - New dance moms may want to practice their stage makeup skills ahead of time so you know what to do when the time comes! Ask your artistic director what their preferences so you don't have to redo anything last minute, backstage :).
11. Help where you can - Part of enjoying the Nutcracker is by getting your hands dirty in the production process. You can do this by helping wherever you're needed. The artistic process is collaborative and takes many hands. Take this time to make friends with other moms and support your dancers together as an artistic community. I loved seeing moms bring in holiday treats for our costume staff and sew tutus by their side as they reminisced about past shows.