January 2. The day when most moms sigh a big sigh of relief. The holidays are over. We made it. From Black Friday onward, we go to the ends of the earth for our friends and family to make the holidays wonderful. Shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, cleaning, party planning, budgeting, making travel plans, and somehow finding time to get a few hours of sleep at night to wake up and do it all over again. For about 6-7 weeks solid. It’s absolute insanity, but we do this to ourselves, year after year. Part of us enjoys the rush, and the other part of us cannot wait til it’s all over. If we can just get through to January 2, all will be just fine. Or will we be?
I sit here in January with what I call the “post-holiday blues.” Like anything in life that I put my heart and soul into, the holidays take a pretty significant toll on me. During the busy-ness of holiday festivities, it’s difficult sometimes to live in the “now.” If you are anything like me, you make your Thanksgiving plans, and while in the midst of those, you wonder where Black Friday shopping will take place and with whom, which door-busters you NEED to get (which are rarely even that great of a deal anyway) then you wonder how you’ll possibly wrap all the gifts, shop for all the people, go to all the parties, participate in Secret Santa #10 for the year, do holiday crafts with your kids, while also making time for the various family gatherings (which undoubtedly require driving all over the universe and back).
When will we shop for gifts for our children when we’re with them 24/7? What do they want for Christmas? How much do they need? How many gifts are enough? How many are too much? I stare at the budget and wonder how we will afford the gas, the gifts for our kids, the food for holiday potluck #37, gifts for the immediate family and extended family, gifts for friends and teachers, and somehow also find time to put up decorations inside and out to make our home more “magical” for our children. On Christmas Eve, we put baking soda and glitter on the bottom of my husband’s boots so we could make Santa footprints coming from the fireplace. We do these things and don’t think twice.
Do All The Things
Does this sound familiar to you? Some of us take the phrase “live in the moment” to a level of crazy. We need to do all the things. We need to make things as magical and “perfect” for our families as we can. We need to make the homemade egg-nog instead of store-bought. We need to wrap gifts with nice paper and tie them with bows. We need to send out holiday cards every year, and they need to go snail mail because social media is considered impersonal, to some. We need to have Christmas lights Clark Griswold style, and not just a small lit-up tree in the front yard. We need to have a real tree, and we need to go out to chop it down ourselves. We need to make every holiday dish from scratch, using organic ingredients when possible and it needs to be served in a way that looks appetizing and festive. As I write this list of “needs,” I want to recognize that I indeed know they are not needs, but they are “wants.” I want all of these things.
I have read several blogs this holiday season, recommending to their readers to “relax this holiday season and just enjoy.” This was the title of one blog that I read on Christmas Eve. This writer recommended getting a fake tree, ditching the decorations, and bringing a bag of chips to family gatherings.
I don’t know who these people are, but they are not me.
This is For You
This blog post is for all of you who are fierce, who give 100% of yourselves in whatever you do. I know, you are exhausted. You read the blogs that tell you to “relax and enjoy” and you laugh, just like I do. You’re sitting here like I am in January with this immense sense of relief that the holidays are over, but at the same time, you are wishing they would return so you could do it all over again with that immense amount of zest and punch you throw into most things in your life. It’s a game we play with ourselves that we don’t even realize, until we acknowledge that we can’t do it any other way. We will never take the holidays “down a notch” like some people suggest. We want to get-up-and-go (literally and figuratively), to experience the frantic Black Friday shopping, write the mile long shopping lists and bake and cook for the countless extravagant potlucks and holiday parties. We want all of these things because that is who we are. We strive for perfection, speed, success, thrill, excitement. We love with our entire hearts, more fiercely and passionately than we can explain. We want all of these things because we want things to be perfect, or as close to perfect as we can get. While we will never reach “holiday perfection,” I think some of you can agree that we keep working toward it, year after year. It’s why we are sitting here exhausted, nearly numb, on January 2. We give and give, do and do, go and go… and once it’s over, that’s it. We crash. We feel like we have climbed up the highest mountain, made it to the top, but then have nowhere else to climb. We’ve reached the sky and the only way to get back to reality is to go down. In January, we experience a crash that I call the “post holiday blues.” It doesn’t last long, but it feels intense for a short time. Well, friend, we made it. We not only “survived” the holidays, but we rocked them out and put our flare of crazy into them. That’s what we like about them. And anyone who is in our tribe recognizes and appreciates the level of crazy we put into the holidays. They love it because they love us.
As you sit here in January with the post-holiday blues with me, I encourage you to recognize and truly realize this: your passion, drive, and need for amazing is AWESOME. You are awesome. You have these emotional crashes because when you’re “on,” you are 100% on. There is no in-between, and I am not even sure there is a happy medium. You give all of your heart in all that you do and it can be exhausting. But that is how we roll. Own those post-holiday blues, be sad, be low, be tired… but promise me that you will acknowledge that you did a job well done this holiday season. I know you, and you will get-up-and-go again soon… and you will do that in your own awesome, passionate, determined, motivated way.