The Holiday Season is a magical time that I look forward to each year.
Though, as excited as I get for the kids' two week winter break, let’s get real. It totally kicks my saggy, middle-aged ass.
I’m not sure how the holiday break unfolds in your home, but here is a sneak peek into our most recent holiday break that was full of chaos, madness, and blissful joy.
As I sit at my youngest child’s holiday concert I am reminded it’s the little things in life, like watching children singing carols, that are the most important. Events like this remind me to slow down and forget the hustle and the bustle of the season, allowing me to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.
As I sit unplugged and in the moment, watching the concert unfold, I see my child singing beautifully. He does this while vigorously rocking back and forth, and he falls out of his chair. Unscathed, he gets up off the ground, turns around, and proceeds to poke the girl behind him. This lasts for an entire song. At this moment I’m hoping no one realizes this child is mine. Then my son decides to abandon his class and walks up to our family, as we were in the front row. So much for no one knowing he was mine.
He hugs his sister, and my oldest decides to leap on top of them. The 3 of them all fall into a heap on the ground, rolling into the teacher who is playing the guitar and leading the concert. It’s at this moment that I realize once this concert is over it will be time to go home, and the Holiday break (two weeks from hell) will have officially begun. It’s the season of perpetual hope, so naturally I lie to myself. I say things like: the holiday break will be magical, my children will play and be merry. I even have a sign that motivates me.
We leave for home after the holiday concert. I feel confident as the first day of break is a half day of school, which means the first day of break is just that... a half day. It’s like we’re easing into the madness. This is a total false sense of security, however, as after two hours and nine minutes into our half day of vacation my middle child informs me she is bored.
The next day I’m looking forward to a morning of sleeping in and maybe getting to drink my cup of coffee in silence. I’m a stupid piece of shit because at 6am ...
6:02 am I begin to make everyone breakfast, but I’m barely coherent. My children gave me custom orders like I’m the Ritz Carlton room service... jokes on them! They’re getting cheerios and maybe I’ll remember to put in milk. I hear the hangry fighting ensue in the other room as they wait for food.
As the week progresses I try to pick up toys throughout the day, and encourage my kids to do the same when they are finished with something. They seem to be cooperatively putting away their toys, but the house is still a mess. It’s like black magic from hell enters my house when my kids are home, and the house is in a perpetual state of disarray. Almost like the toys are going through binary fission. There is always more to be cleaned up and there is no explanation of where it is coming from.
I’m at a loss and I just give up.
And it’s not just toys, but clothes. My youngest keeps disrobing each time he goes to the bathroom, and once finished he comes out with only some of his clothes back on. It’s 20 degrees outside, but my child is running around the house barefoot, in underwear and a white undershirt. I go into the bathroom to retrieve the left clothing to put into a hamper for future laundering. I find that my youngest has in fact clogged the toilet... AGAIN!
My two older children are fighting yet again, and it makes me question my parenting style.
I suggest we all play hide n seek, hoping they will all separate. Apparently our 2,800 square foot house does not yield enough hiding spots, because they all fight over one hiding spot.
I begin to walk away, ignoring my kids who are finally in separate hiding places, pretending to be looking for them in other rooms, but in actuality I’m not looking at all. I start to feel a little guilty as I turn on Netflix, but then I remember the mom in the iconic movie E.T. had an alien living in her house for 9 days and didn’t notice. At least I know where my kids are hiding, I was just choosing not to find them. I feel so smart.
Fast forward to the middle of the this blissful two week break. At this point I’ve been defeated by my three children, and am too exhausted to think. I have no idea what day it is, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’ve begun searching for the will to live. The kids are constantly telling me they are bored. I’m confused by this phenomena as they were given hundreds of dollars worth of new toys for Christmas between my husband and I, Santa, grandparents, and aunts & uncles.
My husband gets home from work and inquires what is for dinner.
The day has come for us to go as a family and see the annual holiday lights display at a local museum. I loathe myself for thinking we are actually decent for public viewing. After the 100th time of saying “get in the car”, they actually listen and I feel like I just won the lottery. Beggars can’t be choosers. We arrive at a local museum and the Holiday Lights display is full of beauty, fun kids activities, and happy families. My children whine and complain they are hungry (despite the fact they finished eating dinner 15 minutes ago), they are bored, and they are too tired to walk. More fighting ensues.
My husband and I are busy working on H-Bomb Ties in our home office. We hear intense laughter and giggling from our two boys in the other room. My motherly gut instinct tells me that if they are getting along they are definitely up to no good, but I am so happy to not hear fighting. They are FINALLY getting along! My middle child comes into the office to inform us that we need to check on the boys, because they are in fact up to no good. I go into the kitchen to investigate and find my oldest child has taken the faucet and begun spraying it into his brother’s mouth, who is about 10 feet away. When I ask what is happening, my youngest gleefully declares, “Look mom, we’re playing fountain... like we saw at the museum!”
Finally it’s time for the kids to go back to school. I excitedly enter my closet to put on fancy work clothes. The zipper seems tight and I’m wondering what is happening. After wearing nothing but sweat pants for the past two weeks I realize I’ve unknowingly gained some weight.
Despite my vile appearance I excitedly venture out into the real world for the first time in what seems like decades. I drop the kids off at school, I notice I’m doing a little dance in the parking lot. People are staring... but I don’t care.
As I drive to work I realize I will be in a building full of adults for the next 8 hours. There will be no whining, no crying, and only adult conversation. I can hear actual angels singing from heaven above, and am overcome with joy and emotion.
In the end, holiday break is a time when our family reconnects after a long year full of hustle and bustle. Between school, extracurriculars, and long hours of work, we find it hard to always be giving each other the best quality time. I do enjoy the days on break with my kids laying in bed, wearing pajamas, and relaxing (well, sometimes there’s relaxing). Even when there is fighting, crying, and yelling, there is also love, happiness, and a bond that is formed between our family during this magical time. We hope that no matter how hectic your family’s holiday break seemed, that it was full of blessings and joy (except for when it wasn’t, ha!).