Mother and son enjoying a carefree autumn day in nature.
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Dear Moms: It's November, You Can Breathe A Little

I’m not saying November is 100% stress-free, I’m just saying it gives you a tiny break.

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Picture it: it’s November 1, the day after Halloween. You wake up with a slight candy hangover, a vague memory of peeling costumes off of sleepy kids and pushing aside the bowls you used for Halloween cupcakes when you were still willing to be the festive room mom at midnight on October 30. But that vein of stress that’s been blossoming through your body since October 1 — nay, since school started? It’s suddenly not vibrating as much as it was before. It feels a little subdued, a little quieter.

That’s because it’s November. And it’s the best month for moms.

I don’t usually play favorites. Every month, every season, every holiday has its pros and cons. And being a parent means a little part of your brain is pretty much always whisper-screaming “I’m-Forgetting-Something!” But November? She’s the best. She’s the good one, the calm month surrounded by chaos, the one that gives you breathing room. She’s January, but less depressing.

I know — you do feel slightly more relaxed than you did in October, but it feels like a trick. Christmas is like 54 days away or something ridiculous. Santa showed up at the Fall Festival a month ago and your neighbor already took down her pumpkins to put up icicle lights. You feel behind on the holidays and you just got through Halloween.

But that’s the beauty of November. There are no seasonal recitals. There are no dress-up days (unless your kid’s school is still making Native American accessories out of paper bags and feathers, in which case, you should go to a board meeting or something). There are no class parties where you need to donate 72 cupcakes or neighborhood contests for the most impressive Thanksgiving decorations on your front lawn. You don’t even have to go to Target, panicking that a bunch of Thanksgiving costumes and accessories your kid suddenly needs are going to be gone. (I do recommend getting cranberry sauce before November 22 though.)

Is November perfect? No. Is it less stressful than October and December? Yes.Oleh_Slobodeniuk/E+/Getty Images

There’s Thanksgiving. And maybe that’s a big holiday for you and your family and maybe you do have a bunch of cinnamon rolls to make for the neighborhood, but for the most part, November is the month of calm and peace and, best of all, anticipation. Because yes, Christmas is just around the corner. But this is the fun part of Christmas prep. This is the time for slowly, langorously walking the seasonal aisles of Costco because nothing feels real yet. You can let your kids start making wish lists for Santa without panicking (yet) about how you’re going to find a life-sized unicorn that neighs and speaks French. You can bake Christmas cookies without documenting it for Instagram and watch holiday movies on a Saturday without panicking that you’re missing some community Christmas festivities.

The fall sports start wrapping up, the month includes a week off for your kids so even school feels a little calmer — teachers really don’t want to do a whole lot in the three weeks they get before break. And you just get to enjoy it. Even when I was a little kid, Christmas Eve felt far superior to Christmas Day. It was all the excitement and the glow and the wonder without the panic that it was going too fast, that it wasn’t living up to your expectations, that you were soon going to have to wait a whole year for it to come back.

That’s the beauty of November.

So pull out your turkey gravy boat, maybe say a few affirmations to get you through the big Thanksgiving dinner with your “truther” uncle, and put on a festive sweater. November is the run-walk break in the middle of a marathon. You’ve got to keep moving, but you can do it at a reasonable speed. And if anyone asks you to suddenly make 10 pumpkin pies in the next 12 hours or face the Bad Mother consequences, just remind them that November starts with No. Thankfully.

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