There’s a now-cold cup of coffee buried somewhere in the explosion of bubble wrap and crumpled paper that came from me pulling out Christmas decorations. I’m almost done with the decorations that have to be put up without small people, and then tomorrow night we will decorate the tree together. There’s just something about having colored lights and glitter sparkles all over the house that makes it REALLY feel like Christmas is here.
Between the music and the lighting and the arranging of sparkly things, I realized that I am much more relaxed and happy doing this alone rather than with the kids underfoot. They stress me out, especially when we are working on an activity that has emotional meaning to me. Decorating for Christmas is such an important moment for me every year – I look forward to it, and I hate taking everything down at the end of the month. There is a lot of happiness, and sadness too, locked into all these baubles that I am pulling out of the giant box. Everything I touch has a moment, a person, a feeling attached to it. And putting those tangible items out into view brings up all those feelings, and I have to work through them as I go.
I learned quite a while back that I am a worse parent when I am tired or hungry or not in control of my own emotions. I don’t have deep reserves to pull on when the kids start in with the fighting and the need-need-need. I know that it’s better for me to get the bulk of this out of the way alone tonight so that I can limit how much work I have to go through with them tomorrow. If I could deal with them one at a time, I think I would be okay. But they have NO LIMIT to their intrusive nosiness for what their siblings are doing, and I will have all three underfoot the whole time. They are so incredibly jealous of each other getting more of my time than they do, and I don’t know what to do with it. I end up sending all of them to bed, because I would rather deal with none of them than hear them continually bicker. It’s a recipe for disaster – me emotional and them strung out on holiday excitement and new pretties.
*I wonder sometimes how my mother did it. There’s a large gap between me and my siblings, but they are just over a year apart. And god we fought. I did NOT do well with the transition from “only child” to “oldest of three” in barely a year. My sister and I get along now, but that’s only been within the last few years when she graduated from college herself. My brother doesn’t seem to care for either of us, and neither of us push the issue. It’s all our faults, I guess.
*Footnote: This NaBloPoMo could be subtitled “All the Family Dysfunction” at this point.
How do you handle Christmas/holiday/special event stresses? So much of it is emotional and environmental and gets pushed on us whether we want it or not. Do you fight back or run away?