Remember how I wrote before Christmas about how sometimes the holidays aren't so jolly when you have kiddos that have some extra needs? I talked about how you pack extra things and need to have realistic expectations. I gave all of this advice...all things I intended on implementing myself. And I didn't follow my own advice.
I went into this holiday season feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. We have been through nearly two years of what sometimes feels like an alternate universe. I wanted so badly for my kids to have a magical Christmas and I would exhaust myself making sure it happened. My little has been making such huge progress I thought this was the year things would feel a little easier. They had to, right?
Christmas Eve came and I had developed this plan in my head. It was a nice day so the kids and I would go out for a hike. We were going to order food, drive around to look at lights, and I had made a saran wrap ball to play before the kids would so magically go to sleep like the angels they are. My husband and I would make final preparations, share a glass of wine, watch a movie, and go to sleep.
What actually happened? The hiking trail we drove 30 minutes to was closed for the winter. My oldest would then sound congested to me making me take him for a covid test just to make sure. The afternoon would feel filled with tension and breaking up one fight after another because the kids just were not being kind to each other. This would make me give up the idea of driving around to look at lights but I still had high hopes for our game that was filled with gift cards, candy, scratch off tickets, and more! The kids fought the whole time, the dog was barking nonstop and everyone was put in bed much earlier than anticipated. I found, myself saying all day, "Santa is still watching!" Trying to do and say everything I could to turn the day around. Nothing worked. About the only thing that went right was ordering food and at least having dinner on the table. The glass of wine and movie I envisioned with my husband turned into a 2 hour discussion about what to do next. Do we make a statement and withhold gifts? (the answer is NO!!! Don't ever do that!) Do we start the morning with a talk with the kids? Do we cancel all plans to go to grandma and grandpa's because we are fearful they will have a rough day there, too? Do we go to sleep and pray tomorrow is a better day? I went to bed feeling completely exhausted because I had not been taking care of myself, like I always tell all of you to do. The gym is my go-to for self-care but because I had abdominal surgery 3 weeks ago I have that on hold. My self-care for recovery 'should be' to get rest and take it easy and I have been doing none of that while trying to create a magical Christmas.
We chose to basically pray the next day was better and focus on showing up that morning as parents without the fears of another tough day, but with our own magic in our hearts. It definitely helped. The kids had a good day and we had a wonderful Christmas.
While it seemed to work, it had me reflecting on how I didn't follow my own advice. My little has in fact made huge progress, but there are still days that are overwhelming for her and it has an effect on our entire family. There are days where I'm going to have to be comfortable forgoing plans I may have had, which is hard to grasp because I so badly want to experience all the things with my kids. At times it feels like a punishment to the other 3 and then my mom guilt takes over. If you know about enneagrams, I am a classic 1, a perfectionist through and through. So to have my picture perfect plans for a magical Christmas foiled, you can imagine the spiral this put my own emotions on.
Anyone else feel like they are on this cycle?
I wish I had all of the answers. As much as I write because it's my 'job,' I'm also a mom walking this journey with each of you. For a long time I hid these things, always trying to present us as a family that is totally together. You know...that Facebook family you so often see posted. But days are hard. And if you've read this far I'm sure it's because you feel the same. I fully believe that if you can find a way to be vulnerable and real to what is actually happening, that is when you will see the biggest gains. Be truthful with yourself, friends. Find those select few you can really share and walk your journey with. People that won't judge you and just listen and let you cry if that's what you need. You don't always need to hold it together. These are the biggest lessons I have learned and work on every single day. As a gift to myself I recommitted to self-care by taking a nap yesterday.
Take care, friends. As the weather changes with the seasons, this too shall pass. Take a deep breath and focus on the things you absolutely adore about your kiddos...the things you wouldn't change for the world! Those are the building blocks that will help you move forward.