I’m Not That Kind Of Mom

There are those moms that go all out at every holiday. I don’t judge them. Good for them for having the money, energy, and patience to go through all of that. I don’t think they are any better or worse than me; just different. And that’s okay because we all have our own parenting styles. Some holidays do get more priority in my book than others, for instance the only one that I actually care about which is Halloween. Easter is just another money grab from the candy company, I spend enough on it at Halloween.

By the time Easter hits, assuming I remembered, I’m all tapped out from birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Halloween to even bother with the holidays that I don’t really concern myself with. I don’t make heart-shaped anything on Valentine’s Day, which is honestly another holiday I often just forget about. I don’t turn everything green on St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t even like boiled dinner or corned beef and cabbage. I eventually suck it up and do it, but I don’t like it. This year when Easter hit, I just grabbed whatever was left in the store and made something of it. Fortunately, my youngest child’s favorite candies weren’t anywhere near sold out. The only toys that I could find was sidewalk chalk and giant $12 plushies. Yes, I saw the price, said “No way”, and just grabbed the chalk.

Do I go the extra mile? Half the time I barely think my kids are going to make it out of the day alive. I’m frequently reminding them of why putting random stuff in their mouth is a choking hazard, why you can’t live off of just salt & vinegar chips or chocolate, and other things that I feel like are a more important use of my time than whether or not I spent $100 on an Easter basket. Which I would never do, because I’m also extremely cheap.

I bought the ham. We had a nice low fodmap Easter dinner to stick with my husband’s new diet. We went for a walk and let the youngest run free at the park. We sat outside and let him draw all over the driveway, sidewalk, and front steps with his chalk. I’m trying to teach my kids the importance of the little things. It doesn’t matter the stuff they received. It’s just stuff. Those aren’t really the memories I want them to have. I want them to realize that stuff doesn’t equal love. It doesn’t mean anything. The actions, those little moments, those are the ones that I want them to treasure. Are they absolutely spoiled in stuff and in love? Yes. But being spoiled doesn’t mean that I have to teach them to equate material items and cost of things with how much another person loves them.

I only spent $20 on the basket items. My youngest doesn’t care. He cares that he was remembered. He cares that the Easter bunny gave him his favorite candy. We don’t need to go broke for material things to prove that we love people. We need to remember those little things, like how much they love Reese’s and Starburst jelly beans. How much they love to help make the Easter ham and spend time with their family. Material items are just around for so long, much like the people in their lives. They won’t remember all of the material things. I’d rather make the memories so that they can carry those memories long after I’m gone.

In the Christmas Spirit

I’ve never been one to have the Christmas spirit. I remind readers and my friends of that all of the time. I just don’t dig it. I do have some great friends that knew exactly what to get me: wine. While I haven’t been able to indulge in it as of this writing, I’m sure I will eventually. They didn’t spend a fortune on the presents that they gave me; it was the thought that counted. And I loved the gifts and very grateful for them. I have friends that didn’t give me anything except wishing me health and happiness for the holiday. I have the greatest friends in the world. Knowing that I had their friendship was equally important as the bottles of wine. I don’t need gifts. I need the things that can’t be bought.

The problem with the holiday, and part of the reason why I can’t get into the Christmas spirit, is because of the idea of materialism. It’s all about the stuff. People get mad because you didn’t spend enough on them, equating the love of the gift-giver to how much money they spent on the gift. Equating the cost of something rather than equating one’s love to the thought that was put into the gift. Sometimes I think that people who equate the monetary to the love of another is a selfish person. I feel as though they lost sight of what’s important. It doesn’t matter that my ring is smaller than some people; what matters is the love of my husband. I barely even wear my rings because it’s just stuff. Stuff doesn’t matter. Stuff can be lost or you can outgrow it. It’s harder to lose people or outgrow the person.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand the importance of fancy gifts. My parents always raised me of the belief that it was the thought behind the gifts. I remember one year my parents bought me some of what would be my favorite CDs to this day. They didn’t spend an exceedingly massive amount of money on those gifts. But they were music that I loved and that meant more to me than anything else. My parents raised me to be grateful for whatever we were given, even if it was just a simple card with well-wishes or a hug. It’s those things that matter. Not some expensive object that you may never use.

I made it my mission to not use any credit cards this Christmas. Everything that I bought was with our debit card, even those more expensive gifts the kids got. Why? My husband wants a new car and my oldest will be going to college. So I had a budget and I stuck to it because it wasn’t how much I spent on the gift; I believe that it matters more gift was something that made them smile. That was perfect for them.

There’s always the pressure of outspending people because other people value the monetary value of the gift, rather than the idea of the gift. It makes people anxious. It causes people to go into debt unnecessarily. It’s not important. The gifts aren’t the important thing. It’s the phone call from family, just talking about the holiday because you couldn’t be there with them. It was the waves through the window after they dropped off gifts. It’s the reminder that they are there for you, just to be there for you. That’s what’s important. And it’s sad that so many people forget that.

So be grateful for the gifts that you did or didn’t get, because it doesn’t matter. You won’t remember that so and so bought you this or that for the holiday. But you will remember those memories that you made while eating cinnamon rolls and bacon while watching movies and opening gifts. Or playing a game of Monopoly or playing a game on the new console, watching everyone failing. It’s the laughter and smiles. It’s the togetherness even at a time when we can’t really be together. That’s what the holidays are supposed to be about.

The Case of the “Can’t Evens”

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a Christmas person. I could tag all of my blogs where I talk about my hatred for the holiday, but I don’t think we have the time for that. It’s all a chore. You run around to get gifts, hide them, horribly wrap them so that people think your kids did it when you’re really just a lefty that is incapable of cutting anything properly, only to have to clean up the mess and worry about paying back the obscene amount of money that you spent on gifts. Then you worry you didn’t get enough. The only real joy is the whole 5 seconds after they open their presents before they move onto the next one. Then they give you a thank you, if you’re lucky. (Fortunately, I am.) You go through all that and then 3 months later they don’t even play with that really awesome thing that you got them, that they really wanted. It’s a thankless holiday that doesn’t even give you brownie points that last more than a week.

I know. It’s supposed to be about important things like family and blah blah blah. But the thing is, between other kids and all of those ads on televisions, you do feel like you have to meet expectations. There’s always those people that brag about how much they have under their tree and you get too embarrassed to show what’s under yours. It’s stressful. People play the holiday to put a price tag on love. My price tag isn’t much, so I guess I don’t love my family as much as those people who go thousands of dollars into debt for the holiday.

I’m not sure if it’s the holiday season, my ridiculous levels of sleeplessness, my inability to shake this whatever illness/consecutive illness, or it’s just a case of the “can’t evens”. Spending half my morning arguing with a 7 year old about how maybe his jeans would be skinny enough if he wasn’t tall and lanky like his father doesn’t help. Or that maybe had he not thrown his favorite winter hat in the trash on accident and now I can’t get rid of the smell so I had to make him wear his old Paw Patrol hat. Which apparently was a bad call, since the kids at school made fun of him for it. Which led to him not bringing it home. Which led to me having to give him a Star Wars hat, leading to the “what if they make fun of me for liking Star Wars when I don’t? I just like baby Yoda.” It was a thing, and my eyes couldn’t stop rolling back. I thought I would lose them over this case of the “can’t evens”.

What can you do about the “can’t evens”? My play is to avoid writing articles as long as possible and be lazy. Maybe even brave an attempt to nap. Maybe I’ll blare music and dance around my house. Maybe I’ll actually work on a project I want to work on or get back to knitting that blanket or finally get back to reading Liz Phair’s memoir “Horror Stories”. Because I can’t help but to link my lack of sanity to my lack of knitting lately. Maybe I need to go back to Michael’s to get that awesome yarn I used to knit my baby nephew’s blanket with so I could make a giant one for me.

It’s okay to admit that you’re struggling, especially this time of year. It’s a time when we should be giving back to those in need, not stressing about getting that toy for your child. It’s the time when you have to mentally prepare for 2 week Christmas breaks and Christmas parties where you stand around feeling awkward all the time. Christmas is rough and the only ones who don’t think so are drinking too much eggnog or oozing an annoyingly high level of Christmas cheer as if they are trying out for Elf. (No hate intended. Just sayin’.) Don’t let others tell you how you should be feeling this time of year. It’s as okay to love Christmas as it is to hate it.

The Right to Mock without Judgement

I’m a Scrooge. I admit it. I have a deep-seeded hatred of most holidays aside from Halloween. I don’t believe in a War on Christmas because I believe that some people just want Christmas to stay in it’s lane. I believe that when I’m shopping for Halloween stuff in September, I shouldn’t have a Christmas tree hitting me in the face. I believe in celebrating one of the crappy holidays that society tells me I have to celebrate at that time. Christmas doesn’t come before Halloween; it comes after Thanksgiving.

I want a break between these holidays I’m forced to smile my way through. I want to worry about not overcooking my food on Thanksgiving, not whether or not my Christmas tree still lights up or my ornaments are broken. I want to take some time without worrying about affording what my kids want for Christmas when I’m trying to Trick or Treat. I want to worry about the holidays when I’m supposed to, not because people want to call me a Scrooge or grump because I think it’s ridiculous that other holidays are supposed to be celebrated during their own time.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think you should. I will mock you for it, but I won’t judge you for it. You do what makes you happy. If celebrating for Christmas in early October is your thing, than own that. I’ll make jokes about it, but I don’t mean them as an insult to you. I’ll make a joke, but I am not there to insult you for how you live your life as much as I don’t think I should be insulted for thinking holidays need to stay in their own time without encroaching upon other holidays that rightfully deserve their time. As excited as I am about Halloween, I still wait until October to decorate for it.

The point is people should do what makes them happy without society telling them that they are asses for not wanting to do it or because they are drinking peppermint mocha lattes when November hits or pumpkin spice in August. I don’t particularly like the label of Scrooge just because I hate the holidays anymore than someone likes to be called crazy for their obsession with any given holiday. The world is terrible enough without taking the joy out of other people’s lives when it doesn’t affect you.

So I will post memes about Christmas’ intrusion where I don’t think it belongs because I find it funny. I will make comments about how holidays deserve their due respect because I believe that. I’m not doing these things to target people because I honestly don’t care what other people do. There is the capacity to believe something without having to put those beliefs on other people.

The Thanksgiving Spirit

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was full of family and there’s nothing more I could ask for.

The Thanksgiving spirit is the topic of today’s post. Why am I talking about the Thanksgiving spirit after the holiday has passed? First of all, Christmas has started to even encroach upon my favorite holiday of Halloween. As much as I despise the holiday, it should get a month just like Halloween and Thanksgiving should get. 1 month is all you need for 1 holiday. There isn’t a war on Christmas, there’s a war on every other holiday that isn’t Christmas and I won’t stand for it. You don’t need to start putting out Christmas stuff 2 months early. You deserve the blizzard. /endrant

The point wasn’t for me to go on a tangent about my dislike for Christmas and it’s encroachment on other well-deserving holidays. To be fair, I’m not even a huge fan of Thanksgiving. For those of you who haven’t sworn me off yet, let’s continue. The point is about what the holidays are about. This is a time for kindness because if you’re not going to be kind for the rest of the year, this is the one time a year that you should focus on being a better human being for at least a few months. This is the time to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate as you are. The holiday spirit is about bringing light into other people’s lives, doing selfless acts for at least a month or 2 out of the year.

As I was looking through social media, I was happy to see those special moments from families. The pictures of adorable babies enjoying their first Thanksgiving. The meals that people had slaved over to serve their loved ones. People posting about the things they are thankful for. It was awesome to see. It was uplifting and grand.

Then… there were the other posts. Sites like Occupy Democrats, which I still have no idea why they keep appearing on my new feed, show up pushing an agenda. Some people on my friends list? Also posting pushing agendas. This is Thanksgiving. This isn’t the time to further divide; it’s the time to come together. That is the type of behavior I find more unacceptable than listening to people yell at me for refusing to participate on Black Friday.

Think before you post. Think to yourself: “Is this appropriate to post today?” In fact, you should think that every time you consider posting something on the internet. I have a challenge that I’d like to suggest. Starting today until the start of the New Year, try not posting something antagonistic. Don’t put people down. Let divisive language and politics die. Choose not to judge someone vocally. Don’t pick fights with anonymous people online. Break the habit so starting the New Year, we can start anew. Imagine the change that could happen. Imagine how much nicer the world would be.

Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t get days off, but don’t expect some long and poignant post today. Well, maybe you shouldn’t expect that most days. Today is Thanksgiving, a day that people set aside in hopes that it makes them feel grateful for everything that they have for at least one day a year. It’s a day that politics should be left out of. I’m sure Halloween has pretty gruesome history behind it, still going to celebrate that. It’s not about the past; it’s about where we move forward.

I’m thankful for every day. I’m thankful for my beautiful boys. I’m thankful for their successes and their struggles, because both make me a better mother and human. I’m thankful for my supportive family, who’s always there when I need them the most. I’m thankful for my husband, who always lifts me up when it feels like everyone else wants to take me down. I’m thankful that I have a house, food, and loved ones. I have a lot to be thankful of, which I’m very thankful for every day. We don’t need a single day to be grateful. We should be grateful every day.

If you are lucky enough to spend the day with family, remember how lucky you are. If you are working today, putting your life on the line to ensure the safety of others, thank you for your service. We are thinking of you, grateful for your selflessness. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be with family, be with the family you choose. Blood doesn’t mean family. Love does.

Happy Thanksgiving and remember the lessons of today every day of your life. Even in darkness, there is something to be grateful for.