Friday, 20 December 2013

Lesson 9: Don't sweat the holidays.

 Twas five days before Xmas and all through the house,
 No kids were fighting or making a fuss.        
 My presents were wrapped and placed under the tree, 
 School was now done until January.  
 All snuggled in blankies were the boys on the couch,
 So, over my Macbook I tried to slouch.
 It was mama's time to blog and I put on my thinking cap,
 Cause this was the closest my kids would ever get to a nap.                   

  Between having my youngest home full time and holiday prep, I've barely had time to shower on a regular basis, let alone post any new blogs.  At this very moment, I am "watching" old Looney Tunes Christmas shows with the kids and hoping they'll stay quiet long enough for me to finish this post.  All I have to do is nod when they address me, then I answer "we'll see" to every question they ask.  It gives them the illusion that I am actually paying attention while buying myself precious minutes to write.  Hey, at least I'm sitting with them.  That's got to count for something, right?

  I haven't exactly been in the Christmas spirit lately.  My mind has been preoccupied with M's new diagnosis, my break up with Z's daycare, and a badly-timed basement/playroom reorg that I can't seem to finish.  I hurriedly did all my shopping online last week and managed to toss the three dozen presents into overpriced gift bags.  (There was no time to waste on paper, tape or ribbon.)  I spent a whole day handwriting Christmas cards and cursing myself for not sending holiday cheer via email instead.  Plus, my lopsided tree looks like it could use a makeover.  I guess you could call it shabby chic.  OK, maybe just shabby.  I contemplated leaving it bare until my kids made me feel like a grinch Tuesday night.  Blame it on fatigue, the abnormally bad weather, or my busy calendar, but Christmas was starting to feel like such a chore this year.

  This afternoon, I stood folding a daunting pile of laundry, wondering how so many socks manage to disappear into the washing machine's Bermuda Triangle.  I quickly grew bored and flicked on the TV for some company.  House Hunters International?  Yes, please!  A commercial came on soon after and grabbed my attention.  It was a holiday ad for Apple called Misunderstood.  If you haven't seen it yet, you can click play on the video above to watch.  It shows a teenage boy glued to his iPhone throughout his family's holiday vacation. He seems disengaged and uninterested by the festivities and his relatives.  Then, on Christmas morning he reveals that he has actually been filming and editing all the special moments.  It was really touching.  I cried.  (Nothing new these days!) At that moment I remembered that Christmas should not feel like a burden or a chore. Christmas is not about beautiful trees, perfect presents, timely picture cards or gourmet homemade gingerbread cookies.  The holidays are about appreciating and enjoying the little moments in life with your loved ones: breakfast in our p.j.'s, playing in the snow, watching a Muppet Christmas for the fifteith time, hearing my parents' laughter as they play with their grandkids, reminiscing with my sister about Christmas shows we used to put on for our relatives. Simplicity is what the holidays are about.

  So from my family to yours, I wish you a holiday brimming with thousands of happy little moments.   xoxo
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” (Clement Clarke Moore)

Monday, 9 December 2013

Lesson 8: Make a date with yourself.

It's officially winter and I've got the blues.  I woke up this morning to blowing snow.  It had taken over the neighbourhood overnight.  All I could make out from my bedroom window were white outlines of cars and roofs.  Everything outside was buried in the fluffy stuff.

Winter makes me feel trapped.  The big snow banks looming by the side of the road induce claustrophobia.  The kids' soggy mitts, hats and boots piled in my shoebox sized mudroom make puddles on the floor, which inevitably leave us with wet socks and cold feet.  Going anywhere requires  an extra 15 minutes  because I have to shovel out the driveway then brush off snow from my car before attempting to carefully pull out onto the road.  I won't even mention the battle to get the boys into their snow suits.  But I guess it doesn't really matter these days because I've got nowhere to go now that Z is home full time.

Last week I suffered a traumatic break up with my little one's preschool.  After months of unresolved complaints, I had no choice but to pull him out.  So he's home with me... 24/7. My precious three days of quiet are suddenly gone and it's wearing me down.  As I'm trying to write this blog, he's yelling out for more M&M's.  Note to self: 20 M&M's only buy you 12 minutes of peace and quite.  Next time double the amount.

I had a taste of freedom for the last year and a half.  I had a few days a week to post my blogs, to start planning my freelance business, to do some projects around the house, and to just have some quiet time to think.  Those days are no more.  I seem to be back to full time mommy mode.  If I'm lucky, I get to sneak in a couple of minutes of me time on the toilet... although the broken lock on the door often causes a problem.

I keep thinking about the movie Date Night, where Tina Fey tells on-screen husband Steve Carell that her biggest fantasy is to spend time in a room alone, where she wouldn’t be bothered by anyone's  demands.  Although it doesn't always seem feasible, isn't that what all mom's want at some point or another?

So why not make it happen?  I think I will start making dates with myself.  If I can't get away while the sun is up, then I will wait until Mr. Sandman has paid the kiddos a visit.  Once a week, I will take myself out.   Think of the possibilities: the movies, the book store, the coffee shop... even the mall!  And when the weather has me bummed and housebound, my iPad or a good book will do just fine.  

I'd love to hear about any original "me" dates you ladies have been on lately.  Send me your pics and a brief description and I may just post your ideas on my next blog!  And don't forget to share my posts with your friends or sign up to follow me online.