By Skimum Paula
The kids are home for the holidays two weeks. By Day 2, I’m ready to send them back!
As most women know, the holidays are seldom restful. Presents, trees, foods, parties, sing-a-longs, trips, and in-laws can lead to a wee bit of stress around the yuletide log or menorah, and when our finely-decorated home becomes a mountain of wrapping paper filled with Cheetos-laden lava, then just watch out, because mama is gonna blow!
If that isn’t your house, then YOU should be writing a blog!
The holidays are stressful, and our hubbies, boyfriends and kids will often tell us to, “Chill,” and that we don’t need to do so much. However, if we don’t make the marshmallow sweet potato soufflé that is on the Thanksgiving table every year, then the first words after grace will be, “But we always have it.” And when my teen son sweetly asked me at the last minute to make the Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake Layer Cake on the cover of Southern Living magazine, of course, I said, “Yes, darling.” (Reminder – hide or cancel that magazine)
Most gals I know are great multi-taskers. Most are also terrible delegators – myself included. I’m making a promise to myself this holiday season to do more and delegate more. Sound oxymoronic? It might be, but this is the plan.
I will carve out a half-hour each day (doesn’t matter when) to be alone. Like my beloved iPad, I need to recharge my battery, too. So, when I wake up, I will either hide under the covers for 30 minutes or pick a time during that day to lock the door, drive off and stare at the mountains, ski a few runs on my own, read a book, whatever, but I will put it on my iPhone calendar with an alarm and do it. The idea is the same one Skimums talk about all the time – when we give a little to ourselves, we can give more to others.
Second, I’m going to delegate more. My kids like to cook. So, they will be assigned (in a way that makes them think they volunteered, of course) to make a meal. I don’t care if we have popcorn for dinner, because, as we all know, they won’t complain if they cook it. Actually, in the past, I’ve ALWAYS been surprised at the seriousness they’ve displayed when doing this. I must be a better cook than they tell me I am.
These are not silver bullets because, in the end, we’ll still do more and stress more than usual, but maybe we’ll be a little more self-aware and self-assuring. We are our own worst critics. Know that these are “problems” brought out of our desire to give to others, a good thing. Chocolate is a good thing, too. We just don’t want it to weigh us down. Happy Holidays! Cheers!
Dear Skimum Paula,
Your message is so timely. We were attending a holiday party last weekend with many families we have known since our oldest son Alan was in kindergarten. The conversations frequently turned to anticipation of college acceptances and where our teens will be this time next year. While the teens uniformly seemed apprehensive, the parents overwhelmingly expressed a sense of excited anticipation and for lack of better words, even a sense of relief.
Yes we will miss seeing our children on a daily basis, yes some of them will be too far away for frequent visits; but we have done our job, and it has been a long hard exhausting one. We will never cease to be parents. We will never cease to love our children, but we are happy for them and happy for ourselves.
We look forward to spending more time with our spouses; time that has more to do with why we married each other in the first place, and less to do with the “divide and conquer” carpool regimes. The moms in particular look forward to a little more time to do what is important to us; read a book, ski, create art, write, relearn a language, maybe even shop for a new dress.
How many times I have said recently that I really do not need any new clothes?
It is with excited anticipation that we celebrate this holiday season when everyone in our family is living at home together at the same time for the last time; and I am sure there will be no greater joy than hear the voice of our son Alan when he comes home for the holidays next year!
Blessings of the season,
Kelly B in Houston