Photo by Robbie Caponetto
Have a Stress-Free Holiday
Molly recommends sitting down with your family to pick three words that signify what you want to experience during the holidays. For example, Molly’s family chose “family, joy, and peace” this year. Post these words in a visible place. Before committing to a party, shopping trip, or event, ask yourself if it will help you achieve your family’s goals. Apply this tactic to other holiday activities that are common causes of stress and anxiety.
- Food prep: Set aside a weekend day to spend time with your kids making cookies or crafts. In addition to creating traditions, these budget-friendly goodies are affordable gifts for friends, teachers, and neighbors.
- Shopping: Do a thorough assessment of why you are giving gifts. What are your real motives? Do hours of shopping and wrapping for everyone you know help meet one of your three goals? If not, find other gestures to show people you care, like making donations in their names to a charity (check out charitynavigator.org to find a nonprofit that’s right for you).
- Social commitments: Think carefully about your motives for attending parties, and learn to feel comfortable saying no. Don’t feel pressured to entertain at home, and if you do, accept offers for help and keep it casual.
Molly Gold was the kind of kid who color-coded her calendar in junior high. Her organization prowess paid off in school and her work as a corporate event planner. Then came a major life change: Her first child was born, and she discovered that her old calendars no longer helped her organize her time.
So in 2000, this Apex, North Carolina, resident launched GoMom Inc., a business devoted to helping women of all ages and life stages control their schedules. Nine years later, Molly still works with women to help them find solutions to their time-management challenges. She’s created calendars, a Web site filled with organizational advice, and online classes. With so much information out there now about how to get organized, Molly says even she feels overwhelmed. “If you spend all your time organizing your life, you can miss the joys of experiencing life,” she says.
We talked with her about her approach to staying balanced, solutions for busy Southern women, and how to find more happiness and fewer “to-dos” this holiday season.
Q: What drew you to become a time-management expert?
A: Growing up I was involved in a ton of activities. I loved the anticipation of events and learned to budget my time and keep track of details. I realized I had a knack for juggling many things at once, so after college I became an event planner. But when I had a baby, everything changed.
Q: What happened?
A: I had always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but the physical and mental work of caring for a child was different than anything I’d experienced. As efficient as I was in the business world I thought, “Surely I should be able to figure out how to run a house and take care of a child.” That’s when I came up with the idea of creating a business to help women better manage their time.
Q: What’s your organizational philosophy?
A: There’s no “best” way to approach organization and time management. I suggest women make a list of the things they do well and play on those strengths. It’s important to create systems that work for you, which is different for each of us.
Q: Do Southern women face additional pressures when it comes to having a well-run home?
A: Before the moving truck arrived at my new house, there was already a Junior League cookbook and seasoned skillet waiting on the doorstep. While it was such a kind gesture, it also gave me some anxiety. I believe that Southern women have this ideal they’re striving for and it can be challenging if we don’t meet certain expectations. But, at the end of the day, the measure of a woman isn’t how much you have crossed off your “to-do” list. It’s what kind of a friend, sister, and woman you are.
Q: The holidays bring an extra level of stress. What is your advice for keeping calm?
A: One trap we fall into around the holidays is creating memorable moments but not living them. My family knows what’s meaningful to us, and we choose to focus on those things. If it means we don’t attend every party, that’s okay.
For more information about GoMom, visit gomominc.com.