Christmas Stress

 Maybe it’s because of the intensity and stress of the election last year, or maybe because I have adapted a simpler lifestyle. Maybe it’s because last Christmas, we overindulged our son and vow not to do so this year.  I don’t know what it is, but this Advent, I just don’t feel as stressed.

I started planning for Christmas back in July — presents I was going to make, shopping sales for things for our son, planning what gifts I was getting for people, and so on. I’m sure this all contributed to less stress this season, but I don’t think that’s the big reason. Everything is maybe a little more in perspective for me this year. I’m trying to turn over a new leaf about not stressing about things and not worrying about all the things I’m not. I’m not the Martha Stewart of Housekeeping. I like a clean house, but it’s probably never going to meet some people’s standards. But you know what? That’s okay. I was talking with an old friend this week who was stressing about all the things she’s not. I told her I had an earlier crisis this year, upset about what someone else thought of me.  Then I told her, after crying a little, I sat in bed and told my husband, “You know what? I’m freaking awesome!”

Yes, it was not a humble comment. But I think that I tend to, like many women focus on the things I’m not. The way I fail. The way I can’t keep all the balls bouncing in the air. As a small business owner, veterinarian, Lay Dominican, friend, family member and active member of my Church, and let’s not forget my most important roles as wife and mother, I do a decent job. I won’t be getting an award for anything and I’m okay with that.

At the end of my life, I’m not going to look back and say, “I wish I would have spent more time cleaning,” or “I wish I would have made Pinterest-perfect cookies.” I will look back and say, “I’m glad I sat at the beginning and the end of the day admiring the majesty of a Christmas tree with my son and reading to him.” I’m not using the above to be an excuse for all the things I can improve (rest assured, I still carry a list with me of ways in my life I could get better and my husband may periodically remind me of some of them). But instead of focusing on what I’m not, as the “Year of Mercy” ended last year and we are moving into a New Year, I’ll give a little mercy to myself and try to give more to others.

We are never enough, we are never perfect enough, that’s why we are reminded that we NEED God, because we aren’t enough on our own. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, remember, you are Freaking Awesome because He is BEYOND Awesome. God has given us the gift of His Son. This time that we celebrate this year and through Him who strengthens us, may we be “Enough” in Him. Have a happy, peaceful Advent.

Read our other Advent 2017 articles.

Copyright 2017 Meg Herriot


About Author

Meg Herriot is a veterinarian and Third Order Dominican. She enjoys spending time with family, friends, and pets and blogging at All Creatures Great and Crazy about being a veterinarian, mother, wife and most of all a Catholic trying to grow closer to God in a chaotic world.


  1. Meg, I really enjoyed your post. This is a reminder that we can’t hear enough!

    On a side note, I would love to hear more about being a Lay Dominican. I have been seeing titles or brief mentions lately of those who are lay members of different orders, but I know very little about what that means. I would be interested in seeing posts on different aspects of that – such as the overall journey to becoming one, as well as how you live it out within the context of your vocation as a wife and mom. I thought I would mention that in case you have any interest in sharing this part of your story in future posts. I will skim through your older posts and look on your blog – it might be that you have already written about this.

    Merry Christmas! Enjoy those holiday moments slowing down with your family and not allowing thoughts of comparison rob you of that precious time together.

  2. Thank you Meg, this hit home. I have had people make comments about my house and I found myself explaining why I did not get to cleaning out a room etc and than I turned 60 and decided I do not owe any one an explanation, Over the years I have been actively involved in my parish, scouts and helping people when needed, many times puting what I needed on the back burner. Now I am still volunteering,and not over stressing of how perfect the house should be. I am trying to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas and enjoying time with my family.
    Merry Christmas!

  3. Thanks for the feedback Amanda and Debbie. It’s always reassuring to know you’re not alone. Amanda- I do have a blogpost at my blog that’s from a while back about becoming a Dominican, I certainly can blog about it more. I kind of “fell into it” as I was looking for a Dominican spiritual director and was told I couldn’t get one until I came to the Lay Dominican group… and thus I got brought back in and found out I was always a Dominican in spirit and it was “home” for me. While I will blog more about it, feel free to e-mail me and I’m happy to discuss it one on one if you have any questions!

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