The last couple of years around November or earlier I’ve set about writing schedules, mapping out the whole holiday season making sure to balance it out properly and spread out the fun and so on. That is what worked well for us and helped us keep our focus. I shopped way ahead, budgeted well and made every effort to be a few steps ahead of the game so we could relish the real reason for the season.
What happened this year?
It’s December 10th (almost) and uh, we don’t have our Christmas boxes out of the attic. We don’t have any lights up. We have no nicely lined up schedule for the month on the fridge. We have a ridiculously jam-packed four day stretch of activities that has already made me cry. Three times.
I did read all the great articles on Simple Mom and other favorite blogs. I did get plenty of advice and tips from the great world wide web. But when it came to deploying all the great strategies to a organized, happy, simple, meaningful Christmas season? Epic fail.
Some things were in place months ago then new things (read: “urgent”) came up I said yes. And yes. And more yes. Because I felt like I should. Like it was my obligation and responsibility.
That was my first and largest mistake. Even though every single thing on the docket is wonderful and ‘fun’ and has fellowship and love at its’ core, it still doesn’t mean our family should be participating in them all.
I went to call my mom tonight in the middle of a meltdown. But I called my little sister first instead. I knew she couldn’t solve my problem. But I wanted her to know that even the big sis falls apart and makes colossal errors in judgement. She didn’t answer so naturally then I DID call the mom.
I know you can’t fix it mom, its my predicament….I just want to know how I should have done this. What should this have looked like if I’d done it right?
She had wise and grace-filled answers. She gently reminded me that just because I’d failed at setting boundaries and thus hadn’t set my kids (or myself) up for success, didn’t mean help wasn’t ready and available. Somehow I think I thought since I said the too-many-yes’s that I shouldn’t get to ask for help. Can we say flawed thinking? Indeed.
The peripheral implications for too-much-on-the-plate days and weeks are many. Piles of clean unfolded laundry=frustrated everyone for not having what they need to wear. Piles by the front door from too many quick ins and outs and trips around town. Not having the time or energy to relish in the small sweet things of this season. Over-stimulated, tired kids. Poor nutrition from too many hurried days. Not enough sleep. A sick stomach (mine) from letting sugar creep back in. Hearing “Wow, they have their lights up, they must really love Christmas” (yes, I know and they know, its not about the lights, but those things are so FUN and special for little people!)….I’m just going to stop there, I’m sure you’re sensing a theme!
So instead of sewing finished edges on the costumes I said I’d bring to the pageant rehearsal tomorrow morning or spray painting wiseman crowns or folding the mound of laundry or finding a way to get into the attic to get Christmas boxes out or anything else that I ought to be doing, I’m just going to bed with prayers in my heart for the grace to get through the weekend and the wisdom to learn from my mistakes.