The past few weeks have been busy with work, routine, and the Thanksgiving holiday. My husband and I appreciated the precious time away from work and the time together at home with our kiddos.
But as every parent knows, the grass isn’t always greener. And we did have some extra challenging moments.
Fa La La La Blah
At one point, both children were sick, and we had to bring out the steam cleaner to work its wonders on the living room carpet. In addition, our three-year-old son had several meltdowns as our baby daughter endured the pushing and hitting that accompanied his jealousy and frustration. Plus our daughter’s tummy hasn’t been the same since she ate a blue crayon, mommy too busy to even notice what she was gnawing on until it was halfway consumed. And our son refused to nap most of these days and screeched like a barn owl every time his sister came within a twenty-foot radius of any one of his toys.
Somewhere in this, both my husband and I became sick, too.
To top it off, it’s the holiday season, a time of love and tradition and family. We didn’t have time to be sick when there are things to do! There were family engagements lined up, lights to hang outdoors and we were planning on going to the Christmas tree farm. At one point, I began crying… one of those deep bellied-feels-so-good-to-cry cries. It was just all so much: the noise and emotion and running interference and simply trying to keep it together. Sobbing, I felt sick and helpless and like a mother who was failing her family.
Life was looking like this:
Go Easy on Yourself
On the day my husband and I were most sick, I kept hearing my mom’s words, “Everything will be better in the morning.” I decided to make peace with myself as I fed the kids Spaghettios, crackers, slightly-old strawberries and cups of cider. After all, it was just one meal.
I also cut myself some slack as I pressed repeat over and over on The Muppet Christmas Carol DVD. I apologized to my husband - my sweet, kind, gentle husband - to whom I had been relentlessly crabby. I calmed my thoughts down in regard to the upcoming holiday season. There would be plenty of time to bake Christmas cookies and play in the snow and do all of those family fun traditions.
“Everything will be better in the morning.” Spaghettios, muppets and all, it was.
Pressing the Reset Button
The thing about being a parent is that you can’t press the pause button – you have to keep going. People need to eat, puked-on sheets must be washed, and baths must be taken. But what you can do is press the reset button.
So, that next morning, when everything was a little bit brighter and better, we embraced the day. We pressed the reset button.
There are good places to turn when you need help getting over the hill and to the reset button! I’ll share them now in case you, dear fellow parent, need friendly encouragement:
“World's Okayest Mom” from the TutasFamily blog
Here’s a great post about why being imperfect is okay. And a lovely printable “Be The Mom You Want Them to Remember” – free to download!
“It’s Time to Tell the Truth About Motherhood” by Lisa Jo Baker
A poignant, honest reflection on parenthood, here’s to all the mamas who are brave enough to embrace and speak up about parenting: the good, the bad, the ugly! And here’s to lifting each other up.
And then there is this:
A New Holiday Tradition: Letting Go
I’ve decided to challenge myself this holiday season. Instead of rushing about and trying so hard to give my family wonderful memories, I am going to let things happen. I am not going to plan and hustle and bustle…. my Type A self shall go with the flow and enjoy the season.
We started this already. This past Sunday, the final day of Thanksgiving vacation, we had cleared our calendars. Nothing was planned. We woke up and, at the request of our son, began watching (surprise!) The Muppet Christmas Carol for the umpteenth time. My appetite was back, and I made a big, delicious healthy breakfast for our crazy little clan. Our daughter napped! I played outdoors with my son who had been craving fresh air and a chance to dig and dance in the snow. My husband said, “How about that Christmas tree?” and we piled in the car, spur of the moment, and visited Molyneaux’s Tree Farm, an absolute Upstate NY gem!
The reset button worked some fabulous magic. It’s funny what can be, if your mind and heart remain open.
Happy Holidays to all those crazy clans out there! Remember to be honest, be kind to yourself, and to slow down and let the memories come naturally.
What are your special family holiday traditions? How are you planning on winding down this season? Share on Twitter with @LuckyMamaJ.