Posts Tagged: Mom Advice

Tis the Season to be Jolly?

By Lisa Van Meeteren

Tis’ the season to be jolly….yeah right…you can tell that little “diddy” was written about a hundred years ago, before the advent of giant adrenal gland wrecking coffees, the smartphone, and computers that keep us plugged in 24/7. Perhaps when Christmas only lasted for two weeks it really was wonderful and jolly, but now those lyrics ring false when one day we’re carving pumpkins, and the next day ‘BAM!’ the Christmas season in all its stressful glory has begun. So three short Christmases ago I decided to tackle the holiday by avoiding the crowds of cranky, harried, adrenaline filled shoppers and finally conquer my “to do” list early…or so I thought….

The first week in November

I see the best gifts and I am in a good mood! I feel proud of myself every time I buy an item and smugly think, ha! I won’t be amongst the shoppers running around maniacally in December thank you very much. I hide my purchases in the top of my closet. Yes! Progress!

 

The end of November

I am done. DONE! Just have to wrap. And make cookies. And decorate. Oh, and buy new outdoor lights and hostess gifts for the next three parties we’re invited to. Oh and damn, I forgot about stocking stuffers…okay that won’t take long. Breathe. It will be fine. There are still three and a half weeks to go.

 

The first week of December

All of my decorating for Christmas is done! I am out admiring the Christmas decorations in the mall, or at least I’m trying to as my two year old excitedly points out Santa’s village to me. I am a little distracted as I drag him away from the reindeer and into a department store for more holiday shopping. I still need to find those hostess gifts, and stocking stuffers and then I will be done. DONE! I slow down as something catches my eye in a store window. The same item I bought for my husband is on display with a huge 50 PERCENT OFF sign plastered underneath. Why is it that every year, the same item I bought early goes on sale two weeks before Christmas? I take in the rest of display. Oh! He would love that wallet and scarf combo…where was this stuff in November? I drag my now restless two-year old into the store and buy the newly discounted item making a mental note to return the original.

 

The second week of December

Back to the mall to buy stocking stuffers with my toddler in tow, looking none too happy. This time I am armed with more gear then a soldier going into battle; toting along bags of snacks, his favourite trucks, and books. It isn’t easy but I knock the rest of the items off my list only having to stop twice for snacks (I forgot to bring some for me), once for a diaper change, and once to rescue the toy truck that my son somehow managed to wedge underneath a store display. I did it! I’m finished! I feel lighter on the way home, happily humming Christmas songs; unfazed by the person in the car behind me who blasts their horn as I slow down for an elderly woman walking in front of my car. I think of my daughter as we drive past her school, smiling. This is her first real year in grade school with two teachers…crap! I didn’t buy anything for her teachers. Oh no. I also need to buy the unwrapped donation gift for her classroom and then there’s the staff at my son’s pre-school. My good mood deflates faster than a pierced balloon. I’m not done.

 

One week to go!

The presents are wrapped! I haven’t started baking yet, but that’s okay, it’s safer for my pre-Christmas waistline. I am smiling as my daughter arrives home from school, and produces a new book from the library. “I love these!” she says.

“Are they as good as the fairy books?” I ask hinting about the series I bought her for Christmas.

She ponders for a moment. “The what?” she asks.

A tendril of panic starts to wrap itself around my insides. “The fairy books, you know the ones you’ve been asking for, for the past two months!” I laugh, a little too brightly.

“Oh those,” she shrugs. “Dunno. They’re still okay I guess, but these are way better.”

ARGH! I clench my coffee mug so hard that my nails dig into my palms around it.

“What’s the matter? Mom?” she asks.

“Uh, nothing.” I run upstairs to find the gift receipts so that I can return her books and remove them from under the tree. No big deal. I can do this. One week is plenty of time. I just have to finish that writing project I haven’t started still, continue toilet training my two and half year old, call the cable guy about our TV and…the phone rings.

“Hey honey, it’s me,” my husband says.

“Yes?”

He laughs. “Okay…just wanted to let you know my side of the family has decided to do a draw this year! You’re buying for my sister and I have Carrie.”

“In other words I have Carrie and your sister to buy for now too.”

“Thanks! That’d be great. Did you get Mason’s gift yet? They’re coming in a couple of days so they can pick up everything then.”

“What? Oh, crap forgot about him.” He is the latest addition to the clan, at five months old, and since he was only a blip on the embryo horizon the preceding holiday, I apparently erased him from my memory.

“Okay, gotta run and I’m going to be late tonight. We’re really busy.”

I hang up and try not to swear. My kids begin a game that involves tossing toy cars down the stairs to see which one will win. “SANTA IS WATCHING YOU!” I yell, running up the stairs. “Do you guys want Santa to come?”

“Mom?” My daughter puts her hand on my arm gently.

“Yes?” I snap.

“Even if Santa doesn’t come, I’ll still love him, and I’ll still love Christmas.” I hug her. I’m sure they are just acting up because I’ve been ignoring them to get everything done.

“Let’s go look at the lights,” I say. It is a tradition I started with the kids this year. We walk around the neighbourhood admiring the Christmas lights each of us pointing out our favourites.

“Yay!” Both children cry in unison. With all of the things I have left to do I shouldn’t really be going anywhere, but I suppose the list can wait.

As they run around the block excitedly pointing out inflatable snowmen and twinkling reindeer, their cheeks rosy and their smiles bright, I think, this is what matters. This is what makes the season ‘jolly.’ This is what the old carols are singing about. I breathe in the crisp clean air and erase my ‘to do’ list from my head. Things will get done, they always do, and if they don’t it’s not what I will remember many Christmases from now. No the rushing, the mayhem, and the ever expanding list of things that didn’t get done will be a distant memory but these moments of joy will be strongly etched in my mind. Yes, I resign; tis definitely the season to be jolly.

How do you deal with holiday stress and remember to be jolly?

 

About the Author

Lisa Van Meeteren is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 9. She works as a copywriter and has just completed a novel!

Putting Creativity back into Christmas

Our family is going overseas for the holidays this year.  I hate the thought of Santa having to turn up at our holiday destination because it means I have to lug oversized bags full of gifts both there and back. A family of eight has enough gear to drag around.

To avoid this situation, I had the children write to Santa and ask him to come to our house early in hopes of having their presents delivered before the trip. This system actually works well, except for the fact that I’m Santa and if you think it’s tough meeting a December 25th shopping deadline, try pushing it forward a month. Yeah, that’s the not awesome part.

Having said that – I think I nailed some great presents this year. Each kiddo in our family ends up with one big ticket item. I tried to think outside the “gadget” box and have come up with some awesome presents that my kiddos will love. Here are my faves:

1)      A mermaid tail. (Yes, you can actually buy mermaid tails online.) I have one kid who spends most of her time swimming in the pool pretending to be a mermaid. When she’s not doing that, she is watching mermaid shows and movies. I can only imagine how delighted she will be when she unwraps her very own mermaid tail (www.finfunmermaid.com) with a built in fin.

2)      An instant camera. Yep, what’s old is new again. Remember the old Polaroid cameras? If you have a kid who is an “in the moment” type, this camera might be a winner!

3)      Extra special Pokemon cards. It just so happens that a kid in our neighbourhood recently won the World Pokemon Championship. Believe me – it’s a thing, a BIG thing. And now the “Andrew Estrada Winning Deck” is available for purchase. My Pokemon crazed kids will go off the rails when this turns up under the tree.

4)      A Harry Potter Chess Set. One daughter has two loves: Harry Potter and chess. So why not marry them in a themed chess board? It’s a bit of an investment, but I’d rather put my money into a chess set than a lot of other things she could be begging for.

5)      A GoPro Camera. Do you have an adventurous kid? I sure do, and she’d like to catch all of her daring stunts on film. Some of these gadgets can run pretty pricey, but if you shop around, you can find one for a pretty reasonable price.

6)      Hey, let’s not forget mom!  I spotted this little beauty and immediately sourced a talented knitting mama and commissioned her to make one for me. I always get myself the best presents. I know me so well!

Have you found anything special Christmas gift ideas to get your kiddos this year? Are you anticipating anything surprising and fabulous this holiday season?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Not on my watch Waterboy!

I avoid behavior issues by keeping my kids on the ice!

Last week I had to step out of the arena during one of my daughter’s hockey games to take a phone call. As I was talking on the phone, I noticed a kid had plugged the indoor water fountain and was allowing water to spill over onto the floor. He was also spraying the water from the spout causing a tsunami like effect which also wet the floor.

There were about a dozen adults sitting in the lobby watching this go down. Clearly, none of them were his parents. As I was trying to wrap up my call, I looked at each one expecting someone to intervene and put a stop to Destructo-Boy. They all just looked blankly at me and did nothing. Water was everywhere and they just sat there like nothing was happening.

I cut my call short and immediately said, “Hey kid, cut that out – you’re making a mess.” Then he looked at me and said: “I don’t have to. You’re not my mom.”

Well, I must have shot him the look that only my kids can tell you about. Within a few minutes I had him on the floor with paper towels wiping up the water mess he made. I praised him for doing such a good job then went back to watch my daughter’s hockey game.

Clearly there are a few issues with this situation:

  • Where were the parents? While this is an issue that bothers many people, I actually don’t mind seeing kids wandering around unsupervised. But, if parents are going to let this happen, they had better be prepared to allow other parents to step in and address their child’s behavior with their own discipline technique or arrange for child care if they can’t supervise.
  • Why didn’t any of the other parents shut it down? What were they afraid of? Were they afraid that the kid would say, “You’re not my mom” and they would have no response? Or were they afraid he’d go running to his parents and get an earful for “parenting” their child?
  • I have to say, I was in complete shock when he spoke those words to me. Of all the children in my life – friends, neighbours, cousins, nieces, nephews – no one has ever said that to me. When I told my kids the story about my little water loving friend, their eyes all bugged out in disbelief that a kid would say that to an adult. They all wished they had been there to see my face.

How do you feel about dealing with other people’s kids? Am I the only one who expects you all to give my kids a swift kick in the butt if they are misbehaving? Heck, I count on you for parenting help. Would you have stepped in or left it to the parents to deal with?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Related Posts with Thumbnails