the mamabird diaries
(This post originally appeared last year about this same time. I thought a refresher would be good.)
I’m not sure exactly how it happens. But we are all enjoying some leftover Halloween Butterfingers, a steaming cup of fall apple cider and a walk in the foliage and then OH MY GOD THANKSGIVING IS ALREADY OVER AND HOW AM I GOING TO ORDER MY HOLIDAY CARDS, BUY GIFTS, DECORATE MY HOUSE, TIP ENDLESS PEOPLE, HOST 23 PEOPLE AND I THINK I’M HAVING AN ANXIETY ATTACK.
Because I want to make your life better and calmer, I’m here to give you some suggestions. I would have called this post 9 Ways to Calm Your Sh*t Down This Holiday Season but I recently made fun of all the lists out there and it seems a little hypocritical. So follow these steps and get ready to get calm….
Pinterest is Dead to You (for the Holiday Season)
You know what happens to the mind when you see stuff like this…
Courtesy of Dining Delight
You begin to feel very mediocre and inferior. That doesn’t sound festive or fun! STAY OFF PINTEREST.
Develop Calming Strategies
When you feel that paralyzing anxiety that prevents you from doing anything productive, take a look at things like this…
Oh my gosh, how can you be stressed when you see PUPPIES!!
Or if you aren’t a dog person, how about this…
Or maybe this…
Or maybe this is more your thing…
Find calming, stress reducing images and stare at them while taking 10 deep breaths.
There is No Award for Getting It All Done Quickly
I once received someone’s Christmas card the day after Thanksgiving. It just made me mad that they were so efficient. You don’t want to make people mad do you? So take your time. Holiday cards received on January 5th are just as special as ones received earlier. Or stand out and send your cards on Arbor Day. Or even easier, slap a family photo on Facebook and bam – you’re done. What’s the point of technology if we don’t take advantage of it?!
Do the Worst Job First
Think of the thing you are most stressed about. It’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s figuring out all those tips. How much to give? Who to give it to? Wouldn’t it just be easier to hand out $20 to every person you see from Thanksgiving to New Year’s? Or maybe it’s figuring out what to feed all the people that are about to descend on your house. Whatever it is – do it first.
There is something so liberating about getting a crap job off your “to do” list. It will actually lower your anxiety level, freeing up energy to get other stuff done.
Do Volunteer Work
I know what you’re thinking… I just cut 250 turkey feathers for the Thanksgiving feast craft project! I have 3 paper cuts and no longer have any feeling in my fingertips – why would I need to do MORE volunteer work? But forget the PTA for a minute, grab your kids and go volunteer for a soup kitchen, collect food for hungry children or pick up litter.
There is something so wonderful about getting out of your own head and just doing something for someone else. And you will also be role modeling the kind of person you hope your kids turn out to be.
Make a Gratitude List
This will take ONE minute and you can write anything you want. You can be grateful for your family, the fact that you live in a world where your DVR can record 3 shows at the same time, someecards, Botox or that your grocery store is once again carrying that pumpkin spice creamer you love so much.
When you remind yourself of all the amazing things in your life, you stop freaking out so much about how you are going to make a turkey for 23 houseguests. (By the way, I have no idea how you make a turkey for 23 houseguests. You’re going to have to find a different blog for that.)
There is No Shame in Buying
Don’t remake the gravy three times from scratch. Buy it and be done with it. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of time in January to perfect your cooking skills when it’s cold and dark by 4:23 pm.
Get your Soul Cycle, Crossfit, Orangetheory or Zumba on. Go for a crisp fall walk. Play a tennis game. Put on yoga clothes and pretend you worked out. Whatever works. When you get your body moving, your head always appreciates it.
Final Stress Reliever!
Okay one more…
See? You’re calm. Now go kick some holiday ass.
I recently read an article titled, “What Happens When Daughters Start to Outshine Their Mothers?” and I just kind of started shaking my head.
The article was about how it can be difficult for women when their daughters blossom into beautiful teenagers at the same time they are desperately trying to hold on to their youth.
Here’s an excerpt… “Christina Daves, almost 50, of the Washington D.C.-area, agrees. ‘Back in the day my husband and I hosted so many parties, and I was always ‘the belle of the ball.’ Today, however, it’s her 15-year-old-daughter and her friends that garner the most attention. ‘I’m so proud of their beauty and confidence,” says Daves, ‘but it’s hard to know that all the men are looking at them and not me.’
I mean, what?!
First of all, I think this mother should be WAY more concerned that the men she is inviting to her house are ogling her teen daughter. And who the heck really feels this way?
The moms I know want their daughters and sons to succeed in every way possible. They don’t resent their children for blossoming into adults, they support and encourage them. If they are trying to hold onto anything, it’s only wishing their kids could still be little so they could hold them in their arms and try to protect them from everything.
Just the notion of this article seems so sexist to me. I mean, do you think someone is pitching an article right now about how 40 something fathers are so jealous of their son’s rock hard abs and athletic prowess. I really doubt it.
Here’s the thing about doing a story on anything. If you can think of a catchy headline, you can usually find someone to give you a quote that will fit it. It doesn’t actually mean the issue is sweeping the nation.
And this Washington Post story starts with a photo of Reese Witherspoon who is out enjoying an evening with her kids. And then she gets thrown into an article about daughters supposedly outshining their mothers (even though there is no mention of her daughter Ava actually doing this).
Can the aging process be difficult? Of course. For men and women. But society is particularly harsh on women. I recently heard a guy describe a woman as “over the hill.” A woman who happened to be his exact same age. Double standard, indeed.
But just because aging can be a challenge, doesn’t mean you resent your own kids for growing up.
My mother still looks at me the way I look at my own children…. with awe and amazement. These people I helped create are creative, passionate, quirky and amazing. And I am excited to see what they become.
Do I wish my skin was as flawless as my 22 year old self? Sure. But you know what? I guarantee I just saw different flaws back then.
Men and women are not a depreciating commodity. They grow and they change and they evolve. That is something to be celebrated, not attacked.
Last weekend I went to New York City with my 2 1/2 year old son. Which meant that I left my four other kids with my husband Rick. It was actually a nice chance for Rick to spend some toddler free time with the four older ones. And I think they really liked the quality time with their dad.
At least I know 5 year old Harlowe did. Because she wrote me this thank you note (transcribed by Rick)…
A child’s appreciation is a beautiful thing.
Prior to learning about the Paris attacks, I was feeling very good about humanity.
You see – in one week, I had lost my wallet and cell phone. In separate incidents. I didn’t even know I lost my wallet until I showed up at the Miami Children’s Museum and didn’t have it. And you’ll be surprised to learn they don’t let you pay for tickets with cheddar goldfish. Thankfully, my dad met me there and loaned me that money museums like so much.
The last time I could remember having my wallet was at a kids’ playspace 24 hours earlier. I was troubled by this realization.
I immediately called them. And they said, “Oh yes. You left it here. We’ve got it.”
Later that day, I picked it up and it still had about $100 worth of cash in it. Wow. We live in a wonderful world.
A few days later, I was visiting New York City and I left my cell phone in an Uber car in Manhattan. Of course, I immediately went to use my cell to call the Uber driver so I could try to get my phone back. Do you see why that scenario didn’t work out so well? (Hint: Because you can’t make a call on a phone you don’t have.)
I didn’t know what the hell to do. I finally used my computer to access my Uber account and then borrowed a phone to call the driver. And you know what?! He was already on his way back to me. Hallelujah.
When he gave me back the cellphone, I gave him $20 bucks because that seemed like the right amount for “THANK YOU FOR SAVING ME SO MUCH MONEY AND STRESS AND INCONVENIENCE.” Maybe I should have given him $40. Or one of my kids. Again, wonderful world.
But hold on, I have more. On the plane to New York City, my 2 1/2 year old son Cash was kicking the seat in front of us. Not a few times. Not a hundred times. About 40,000 times. Unless the woman in front of us was in a coma (which she wasn’t), it was very annoying for her.
I couldn’t get him to stop. I told her to pick anything off the JetBlue menu or bar and I would buy it for her. She declined and then proceeded to help me entertain Cash.
I was so touched by her graciousness.
We landed. And then I learned of the Paris attacks. And it broke my heart. It broke everyone’s heart.
If you lived in New York City during 9-11. Actually scratch that. If you were an American during 9-11, you know what the Parisians are feeling. It’s complete devastation, unbearable sadness and incredible fear. But what the French must understand is that this week, this month, this year, we are all French.
Americans don’t back down from anything. An attack on France is an attack on us. We should stop at nothing to defeat ISIS so that people around the world can live peaceful lives.
Because most people are gracious, loving and will do whatever they can to help some mom whose son is kicking the hell out of their airline seat.
Most people are good. And France, you are not alone. We are with you. And we always will be.
There is apparently a coffee controversy going on. It’s because the Starbucks’ holiday cup now looks like this…
It’s so offensive, right?! The so-called problem? No ornaments, reindeer, snowflakes, Christmas trees or other holiday symbols.
A group of Christian evangelists is accusing Starbucks of waging a war on Christmas by removing the holiday images.
“I think Christians are at a point that they are fed up with the PC police who are demanding that Christ, and Christmas, be removed from the public eye for concern that it might offend people,” said Joshua Feuerstein, who has posted on Facebook and spoken to the media about the issue.
Wow. Someone really liked reindeers on his coffee cup.
He also contends that Starbucks hates Jesus.
You know what Starbucks really hates? People who make coffee at home.
In response to the controversy, Starbucks has maintained they are a company that is committed to creating “a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity.” They also say the red cup mimics a blank canvas so coffee drinkers can create their own Christmas stories on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
I will totally do that once I can get the permanent marker off my wall where my 2 1/2 year old created his own “story.”
Nobody is waging a war on Christmas. Or at least winning that war.
I was raised Christian and when I started dating my future Jewish husband – I started to realize that Christmas is everywhere. From now until New Year’s, you can’t take three steps without tripping over Santa Claus. Christmas songs will ring in your ears. Joyous greetings of “Merry Christmas” abound.
If you can rest easy about one thing – Christmas is thriving!
I love the magic of Christmas. I really do. But perhaps it’s okay to wish someone a happy holidays because you know, they might not celebrate Christmas. And it’s not an assault on the Christian holiday – it’s just a nice cheery way of saying, “Hey, whatever you celebrate, hope it kicks ass!”
Because it’s a beautiful thing to be inclusive. And to honor the fact that not everyone shares the same beliefs. And to celebrate that no matter what each of us believes, we are in this amazing, crazy world together.
And I think that is the spirit of the holidays. Not some coffee cup.