Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holidays and time off

Here's a picture of my baby boy, all stressed out and maxed out tired and super sad about me trying to get him to take a nap. 

I won't take a picture of myself, but imagine that imagine, only on the face of a thirty year old mom. 

That would be me. 

Good gracious, having young kids is hard. I know that a lot of things in life are hard, and I don't want to play the pain olympics or anything, but this is not a walk in the park. This phase of life is tough though, which is such a shame, because it's also so sweet, and so fleeting. So, so fleeting. My baby turned 8 months old the other day - EIGHT months! I literally feel like I've blinked, and poof - gone. On the other hand, I know that I didn't blink, because that means I've closed my eyes, and Lord knows that's hardly true. 

I try to keep the holidays relatively low stress and low key. But, even for the most committed to that ideal (and I'm not just paying the "we keep things low key" phrase lip service. We really do.), things get busy and schedules get jammed. I'm desperate to make sure that my family knows that we're centered at home and good, fun things can come from being at home, but still - we go out, we try to have fun, there are parties to go to and people to visit with. We hit bottom last weekend with a disastrous trip to our cabin. Really, it was the worst I've had in the 30 full years of cabin-ing. Lots of screaming, no sleeping. My body feels like a tightly wound ball of stress, like I could crack in half with any more pressure. 

So, I'm taking the day off today. I really don't ever do anything like this, but I called in the reserves today (ie, my mom) and made a frantic, last minute call to the acupuncture clinic for some much needed time to myself. After acupuncture, I plan to do something  - anything - solo. Probably, it will be running errands, maybe even errands as unpleasant as mailing packages the week before Christmas. Either way, I'll be by myself. Sweet solitude. 

Why is it that taking time away just feels so..wrong? Knowing that I'm doing something for myself when there are a ton of other things that I should be doing feels unnatural. I don't want to be a martyr, but even if the kids were taken care of by someone else, there are a lot of things I should be doing at home. There's always a mess to clean, and with company coming soon for a week, there's a lot of stuff to prepare. And the kids aren't easy and both are especially attached to me, so I know that when I'm doing something for myself, I'm actually causing someone else to be doing additional work. It would be one thing if taking time off simply meant that that the other areas of my life simply stayed neutral, but to know that my having something positive makes something else suffer negatively makes me very hesitant. But, I've hit the bottom and I'm tapped out, so.... that's that.

In the meantime, we're hanging in there. Ellie's on her second episode of Frosty The Snowman this morning, after having seriously woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Dash is napping, and the dishes are calling me, but I'm avoiding the mess in the kitchen like the plague, and thinking of adding to the mess by making cookies. Baking has become a release for me, as has eating, and somehow I'm still managing to lose weight. Thanks breastfeeding, for that Christmas miracle. :)

Are you doing anything for yourself this holiday season? 


  1. Yes. This. On so many levels. I take time for myself, I feel guilty about the things I'm not doing at home. I stay home, I'm cranky because I'm tired and stressed and I need a break! It helps, though, to try to take a step outside yourself. If a friend of yours wrote this same post (me, for instance, I could have written that!), you would tell them that they deserve time to themselves, that it is even necessary for them to be a good, happy parent. So tell it to yourself. Taking a break IS part of your role as a mom. Recharging the ol' batteries is important and will make you happier at home. It's difficult, but you need it. Try not to feel guilty, because you're neglecting no one today. You're taking care of yourself so that you can better take care of your babies. And, to drive that nail home, I firmly believe that our children need to see us spending time by ourselves and doing things for us, so that they learn to take care of themselves in the same way when they're older.

    I hope you had a wonderful day!

  2. You have such a knack for articulating thoughts and feelings that I have every single day - the guilt of taking time to ourselves is the worst! Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone in this craziness :) Happy Holidays!