I think I've done a fairly good job of keeping the holiday stress low this year. You might remember that I kind of lose my mind between Halloween and New Years every year. So far, so good.
But it really starts this weekend. I have to get everything ready for our Thanksgiving meal, I still have no idea who is coming and who isn't (ahem). I have to start getting the house clean. And when I tried to start a little Christmas shopping, someone told me that he's "just not in the mood yet."
The mood doesn't strike this particular person until about 3 pm Christmas Eve, unfortunately, which drives me a little insane. I'd rather have all of our holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving.
The calendar is already starting to fill up for December. I know that we're going to be making at least 4 separate trips to Grammaland before Christmas, probably 5 before New Years. With two small kids, a huge dog, and a business to run, that gets a little overwhelming. Allison will, of course, be headed home for the break, too, so there goes my childcare. Thank God for the Mommy's Time Out program at preschool - I plan to do a lot between 9 and 11:30 on Wednesdays and Fridays.
It seems like we've increased our commitments exponentially this fall, between preschool and having both the girls in gymnastics, regular playdates, my work, and everything else... well, time is flying, and I'm not sure how I'm going to manage it all.
Do you other moms feel like you're responsible for everyone else and their happiness during the holidays? I sure do... I feel like if the food isn't exactly right, if the gifts aren't exactly right, then I'll ruin the holiday for someone. It's a lot of pressure. I haven't noticed this tendency in the dads I know. I'm trying to just relax and have fun, for the kids' sake, and to tell my inner Martha to go jump. They're going to remember whether Mom was a stressball or a relaxed, happy, fun person a lot more than they'll remember what they got or what they ate.
We have close friends who got married in their early 20s, and who told their families, "We aren't leaving our house on holidays - if you want to see us or the kids, you come here..." I wish I could do that. We tried one year, and everything was off. No one ended up having much fun - us included - so we're back to doing the circuit and running around like crazy people for the next month and a half.
On the one hand, we're blessed to have so many people (many of whom are reading this right now) who want to see us and spend time with us during the holidays. On the other hand, I don't think everyone always appreciates how difficult it is to do what we end up doing every year with two small kids, a big dog, and a business. (All the end of the year tax stuff? Yeah, that starts soon, too...)
I guess what I'm saying is, if I don't get you The Perfect Gift this year, don't let it ruin your holidays. If my baked goods are burnt around the edges or, God forbid, have a long curly hair in them from one of my helpers, please don't judge. Remember that I'm doing my best... And that it wouldn't kill you to come down here once in a while. Last I checked, the interstate actually did flow in both a northerly and a southerly direction.