Holidays with Toddlers
So yesterday was not my finest day. I was, how do I put it…. mean, crabby, impatient, annoyed… let’s just say all of the above. The Sunday after a long Thanksgiving weekend, and I was mean mommy all afternoon because I wanted to finish decorating the tree and get all the Holiday decorations out and storage boxes put away, but of course all my little Associates wanted to do was take things OFF the tree, climb in and out of the mountain of boxes in our garage and stay up in the attic all day.
I knew I was being mean. They certainly knew it. Associate P was telling me to “Calm down, calm down Mommy. It’s ok. Look you have lots more ornaments that I didn’t break.” And of course, the CEO took notice.
I like to think normally I’m a better parent when the CEO is around, just like any employee is when their supervisor is watching them, but reality is I usually act the same and just make sure he doesn’t hear me whispering bribes or threats to the Associates. (kidding. kind of.) But today, he heard it all, and it was all pretty bad.
When things calmed down a little and we were making dinner while the Associates played in the other room he asked me what was wrong. I then let out my sob story of “I just want to be able to enjoy the holiday stuff like I used to. Now it is all work, that I don’t have time for and can’t get done with them running around. I can’t take my eyes off Associate A for a minute or he ends up covered in dirt from digging up half the flower bed.”
He looked me square in the eyes and held my shoulders and told me I’m crazy. That I have two young kids and I’m the one setting unrealistic expectations for Holiday decor, traditions, crafting and efficient shopping. And then he emphasized the point that I should, under no circumstances, ever take my eyes off Associate A. Even for a Minute. That kid is cray-cray just like his momma.
I know he is right – and it is so hard to admit when he is, especially if it means I was wrong. This was the end of an amazing weekend. We hosted Thanksgiving for our extended family, had a football watch party the next day, I had a girls night out Saturday night, and I did in fact manage to get 90% of our holiday cards mailed, lights up on the house, the tree decorated, a fun family outing this am, and even had time to empty and wash out the kitty litter box. WOAH. That is a detail I rarely do. I must have really been in the zone.
So I tried to end this amazing weekend on an up note, playing with the boys and not worrying about all the other Holiday to-do’s that had been running through my head all weekend. I am trying so hard to relive happy memories of big family Thanksgivings and decorating the tree with my family as a kid, that I’m focused on my enjoyment of these things, and making them perfect for me. Not my boys.
I dunno. I was a bit of a cleaning obsessed, Martha Stuart wannabe, not at all attentive momma the last few days, and looking back I can only hope they are young enough to either be oblivious or only remember the highlights… playing with cousins, singing Christmas Carols while helping me with the tree, and reading Dinosaur Rumpus a few hundred times.
After all, I only remember the good times. It is possible that my mother may have been high strung, bossy and impatient around the holidays when she was playing hostess, but that’s not how I remember it. I remember being thrilled she trusted me to dust the legs of the dining room table (very important busy work, right?!). And I remember my dad always letting me help get the decorations down and back up into the attic. I don’t remember him ever threatening to leave me up there.
So let’s go on assuming my parents are the saints I have built them up to be in my head, and that my little associates will do the same. After all, they did get to spend a lot of time up in the attic this weekend, and that is pretty darn cool.