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Mom's Time Out


Mary Angel

(12/2015) It absolutely canít be December already. I havenít even begun to think Christmas. I am stilling reeling over Thanksgiving and all of the preparation, cleaning and family that I had to get ready for. It is really strange since I am usually that overly Christmas-ready individual. So what is going on?

By the first week in October I have usually taken my girls (used to be all four kids when they were younger) to Toys R Us to make a digital copy of their Christmas list. We would linger in almost every isle and I would take pictures of every item they wanted with their face and the label of the item included in the picture. Then I would go home and make a spread sheet of the items, their cost and eventually who got what for whom. This year the beginning of October came and went, along with the beginning and middle of November. At that point I went into a little panic and took my youngest since I had to go to Frederick for an errand. She had a blast and we took quite a few pictures.

When we got home I didnít make the spreadsheet. I have gotten quite a bit of grief from my eleven year old concerning the fact that there doesnít seem to be any time to take her to Toys R Us. After another week plus, we stopped in several mini toy stores or department stores with toy departments and compiled an admirable list for her this year as well. I have also requested lists from both of my boys. Although at this point had not received any thing.
The week before Thanksgiving and the Grandmas start to ask for ideas for gifts to give the kids. After the third time of being quizzed I go into a little panic and explain to the boys that if I didnít get a list by the end of the day I was going to tell anyone who asked for ideas to just get whatever they saw. I donít know if it was the fear of Grandma picking anything she saw or the fear of Meme ordering something off of an infomercial that motivated them. By supper time I had a list from both of them.
Suddenly it is a few days before Thanksgiving and I have the pictures and the lists but no spreadsheet. Every year we have a tradition of going on a girls shopping weekend starting on Black Friday! No spreadsheet means that I would spend money I didnít have on things I didnít need, things the kids wouldnít want or possibly already have. I also came to the conclusion that the spreadsheet was somehow the reason I got so much shopping done before Black Friday. I resign myself to the fact that I may be pulling an all-nighter to get the spreadsheet done and be ready for some serious shopping.

So is my Christmas-readiness really thrown off just because of a spread sheet, maybe? It might also be because I started a part time job and one of the kids went back to public school. I had no idea how disruptive it would be to figure in another school start and end time and 24 hours a week for a job. I have had to rearrange many of my routines for the day. Before my daughter went back to middle school I was already struggling to come up with a regular schedule for my 24 hours and still have a regular schedule for homeschooling. When she went back to school it just got that much harder. I felt like I was finally getting into a routine and she started back to a school that had a start time the same time as our homeschool day. This meant that I had to adjust yet again.

Then my husband unexpectedly had to go out of town for business 8 out of 10 days in a row. Although he works a lot and therefore isnít always available to help, he is still an integral part of the family complex. There are times when I have two kids that need to go in two different directions, actually frequent times. So on top of all of the changes and adjustments, now I had to be in two places at once.

So to answer the question I posed earlier the answer would be no it isnít just the spreadsheet to blame. The truth is that life is full of the snowball effect. I took the part time job and things had to change. Then my preteen started back to school and things had to adjust again. Add to that my husbandís absenteeism. All of this happened when I normally would have taken the girls to make their lists and asked the boys to make theirs, then I would have sat down and asked them to pick their favorites for their actual list for Santa. After this tedious process there still would have been plenty of time for the making of a spreadsheet and all would have been bliss. However, with all of the chaos none of that happened and so here I am, disorganized and unprepared for the holidays.

Could you hear the BUT coming. But, none of that matters. I still love the holidays and they will come whether I am prepared or not. So I have decided to just do the best I can and wing it. All of this has made me realize how much I like being in control and how much I maybe need to let go a little more. If you take anything from my holiday ramblings I hope it is that you should enjoy the holidays with your friends and family and not worry so much about the small stuff. The small stuff really will take care of itself. Merry Christmas and relax!!!!

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