Editor’s Note: I was chatting via email recently with the author of this post and I wrote to her, “…so pathetic that just tonight our 10 year old said that my husband should take me out for a date tomorrow during the day as he didn’t have to work and he said, “oh, Mommy would never do that cuz she always has so much work to do”. UG. I really should just walk away from the computer and go to the movies with him!!!! ” I’m sure my comment partly inspired her to write the following:
The holidays are here again, and we all know what that means! Rushing around, searching for that perfect gift (and many of those perfect gifts!), endless shopping, cooking, wrapping gifts, etc….and very little time to breathe! The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year for many families. Many women take on more then their fair share of the burden when it comes to shopping, buying gifts, cooking, preparing, and creating that perfect family time we all want for our loved ones. But men and women both share in one large burden- the financial strain that comes with holiday spending. This year may be especially tough for many, with unemployment rates high, under-employment rates higher. With that green monster being the number one thing most couples fight about, remember this holiday season- it is NOT about the “stuff”. It is about those you love. Can you afford to give your little angel everything their heart desires? Maybe not. I know I can’t, either. But I love them, and I can make this a wonderful holiday season. I don’t want to spend my holiday stressing about what I truly cannot control, and it is more important to have a loving holiday then one where everyone gets every toy or gift they desire.
You will spend more time rushing and preparing at this time of year then at most others, and November through January will seem to stretch forever, and doubly be over in an instant. Take time for you. Burning yourself out will not help you in the long run, and your family would rather have a happy, rested mommy (wife, sister, daughter) then a perfect turkey (or insert family favorite here!). What relaxes you? Do your nails, take a walk, shop alone (let dad watch the kids!), do some yoga, whatever makes you feel more like YOU at the end of the day. You are the creator of family life- you need to be happy, and most of all- sane!
And lets not forget dad- if you are married, or in a relationship, take time for the two of you (alone, yes, alone) as well. It is a proven fact that happier marriages are made when couples spend time alone together at least once a month. These marriages also tend to be the ones that last. Is it hard? Yes. Is it work? Yes, it is. It is not easy for many of us to find a sitter, or even find the time. But we were lovers before we were parents, and it is so important to keep that alive. Your children will be OK without you for the evening. We need to remind ourselves that we are grown-ups, that we are in love, and we deserve to be both! (And give your yucky mom-or dad-jeans a break! Dress nicely for each other, you will both appreciate the effort the other one has put in to make the time special.)
If you truly cannot get a sitter, then plan for an evening IN. Make it special. Set the mood, dress to impress, have different, fancy, or favorite foods. Just the two of you. Don’t underestimate the value of touch- holding hands, running fingers though hair, a hand on your (or thier) back. Gentle reminders that you care, you love them, you value them.
The holidays can make mom-sters out of so many of us if we let them. These are the best years we will have with our kids, they will grow and be out of our homes before we know what happened. Make the most of them. If your tree is not perfect, your turkey is dry, and your sweetie didn’t get that doll- it will all be OK if they have what really matters. You!
Stay calm, stay safe, and give yourself some time to breathe.
Have a Happy Holiday Season, everyone!
Samantha Feuss is a late-20-something momma and teacher. She loves her job (usually) and her kids, and of course, “her very patient dear husband.” She is the Head Pre-School Teacher at her school, and has several degrees (in education, literature, and women’s studies). Also a recent graduate student, lover of books, travel, yoga, animals, children, and fun. Always on the lookout for adventure, you can read more about Samantha and her family on her aptly named blog Have Sippy Will Travel.
Follow-up editor’s note: Last night I did walk away from the computer and we all enjoyed family movie night under the covers with bowls of popcorn, two pairs of little legs, and giggles. 🙂