Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Madness: When Everything Can’t Get Get Done

Why haven’t I blogged in, what, weeks? I’m going to brazenly pass the buck and blame it on Christmas . . . and Hanukkah . . . and the fact that, when you live in dual-career household while trying to raise small children, it’s virtually impossible to keep up with everything, especially in a holiday season where you celebrate not one, but TWO major religious observances. Seriously.

As Christmas cards started filling my mailbox beginning on the Monday after Thanksgiving (!), the pressure to get our family cards done and mailed has continued to mount. (I wouldn’t open the cards for a while, simply shoved them into a corner in the kitchen because their presence was making me anxious about the fact that I hadn’t yet done ours.) Because I foolishly hand-make our cards – my December essay in Parents and Kids attempts to explain the irrational rationale behind my holiday card mania – and I haven’t had sufficient time to work on them. I’m way, way behind, even by my lax standards.

Hanukkah, which we celebrate in my interfaith family, is over. Yet in my house, we’re still pretending as though it’s on-going. Why? I completely forgot about lighting the candles on Monday night. When the kids remembered that we hadn’t lit the menorah, just as I was putting them to bed way past their bedtime, they went nuts. Of course they didn’t remember about the candle lighting either and The Spouse, who’s been working late into the evening many nights recently, wasn’t around to remember to light the candles either. Regardless of what the calendar says, we’re going to keep lighting the candles until we’ve officially celebrated all eight nights.

What about our Hanukkah cards, which I hand-make at the same time I do the (*ahem* not even started) Christmas cards? Well, my Jewish friends and family members, we’re going to pretend that the Festival of Lights is a tad longer this year.

I haven’t finished Christmas shopping. I haven’t baked Christmas cookies with the kids. I only got our outdoor Christmas lights fully up and operational yesterday (we had one of the few dark, light-less homes on my street). I’m still trying to figure out what to get The Spouse as he’s one of the hardest and pickiest people for whom to shop. In a weak moment two weeks ago (my mind clouded by the medicine I’d taken to battle back against a cold that wouldn’t end), I allowed my eldest son Jonah to convince me to buy a gingerbread house kit. Yeah, we’ve got time to stop everything else and put together a gingerbread house which likely won’t make it a full 24 hours without getting crushed or irreparably damaged by my 6-year-old son.

My kids just wrote their letters to Santa this past weekend, which means they just decided what single present they want from the big guy. (They didn’t want to give Santa a list of choices.) Jonah, clever child that he is, wrote his letter in secret, then sealed it and taped it closed and has been “checking” on it for the past few days — shocker, I haven’t yet mailed the letters — to make sure that neither The Spouse nor I have peeked at its contents. (Yes, it’s a test.)

Oh, and did I mention that Jonah’s indoor soccer league is extremely active (two, count ‘em, TWO games this past Saturday, scheduled several hours apart by the genius scheduling gods). My 9-year-old daughter’s basketball team has a game a week, one practice and a separate “open gym” time. AND The Spouse coaches both teams.

My father-in-law’s 75th birthday party – which most of his grown children are throwing for him – is this weekend. (We have neither purchased a gift nor bought the ingredients for the food we’re supposed to bring and make.)

My father just had knee replacement surgery, yet I’ve only been able to take the kids to see him once since his operation.

My daughter has a sleepover birthday party this weekend (she’ll attend after her grandfather’s party) for which I had to scurry to pick up a gift.

A church religious class just decided to do a holiday gift swap which will take place after the nativity play where my 9-year-old son will play the role of an inn keeper who denied Mary and Joseph lodging on the first Christmas Eve.

Despite my repeated distribution of salt all over our icy driveway and front walk, there remains a slushy snow/ice mixture that I haven’t had time to shovel away. And since The Spouse has been out most nights or is coaching one of his kids, the mess just refreezes every night. (I’m praying it will melt away.)

Our pantry is precariously barren. (How many consecutive nights can I serve breakfast for dinner before the child nutritionists descend upon my house?) Throw in the fact that it’s the end of the semester where I teach and the pressure is on to read dozens of papers and calculate grades, it’s no wonder I feel buried with stuff, domestic and professional.

In the winter issue of Hybrid Mom Magazine, a publication that emphasizes stories for down-to-earth moms both at-home and working, I wrote one of the lead stories on how to embrace the “Reason for the Season,” how to try to chill out and streamline your holiday “To Do” list while being realistic about what parents of small children can truly accomplish during this very busy time of year. I interviewed several women for the article, many of whom offered very sage advice. Unfortunately, I haven’t heeded a word of it.

So I face this choice: Either I just chill and let go of some of these tasks (For example, do we have to make everyone’s favorite Christmas cookie?), or I’m going to be in a distinctly bah humbug/Grinch state of mind until January while attempting to get everything done and done well. For the sake of my family and my own sanity, I chose Option #1.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Ok, just READING what you need to do wiped me out. It's just crazy how crazy the holiday season has become; I can't imagine celebrating two major holidays as you do. At that point I'd just want a nice padded room, complete with room service for Christmas. Whew.