For our final playlist of 2020, we’re featuring creators who are making great content for moms and women, and whose podcasts deserve wider discovery.
Maybe your spouse or partner is just bad at giving gifts. Maybe your spouse or partner is not just bad at giving gifts, but kind of purposefully Grinchy about it. Maybe you’re just plain exhausted from performing all the emotional labor of shopping for your kids, your partner, your extended family and possibly in-laws, and not having anyone give you back the same amount of effort. Maybe you’re inadvertently making it harder on yourself by indulging in the Holiday Mom Syndrome blend of self-denial, running yourself ragged, and expectation.
Whatever the reasons you feel let down when you open your gifts, Mama: you are not alone, and what you’re feeling is not wrong.
Holiday-colored nails may seem kind of frivolous and silly, but mine give me a rush of satisfaction every time they flash past my line of sight – and to me, that’s time and money well-spent.
Listen: it’s holiday 2020 and we need to take joy where we can get it. As we head into the weekend, is there some small, simple thing you can do for yourself that will bring a smile to your face, over and over again?
My hand hovers over the fancier body wash I really like – on sale this week! – but I pause. “I should wait until January,” I think.
Sure, this holiday-month self-deprivation mentality is partly budget related. I spend a lot more in December, on anyone and everyone besides myself, than other times of the year, and tightening up discretionary spending where I can just makes sense.
But even right now, I could afford the body wash (especially since I’ve racked up so many ExtraBucks at CVS buying for everyone else!) And it doesn’t really make it any more or less affordable if I push the purchase off to January. Digging deeper, I know it’s not REALLY about the money.
It’s just a small manifestation of Holiday Mom Syndrome – the affliction by which we mothers feel we have to sacrifice all of our own wants and needs to make everyone else have a happy, joyful time, while also – and here’s the real rub – entertaining a deep-down fantasy that in the 11th hour, someone else will show up and make our dreams come true.
My favorite part of the holidays? Sure, I like the lights and the treats and the gifts and the general festive-ness, but if I had to choose just one thing to keep, the thing that most indicates “this is a special season”, it would be Christmas music.
In our family, we start listening the day after Thanksgiving (in non-COVID times, we’d typically be at my sister’s house lounging and playing board games) and it’s on an almost-constant loop for the next month.
I tend to gravitate toward Jazz Standard-era stuff with some choral and instrumental classics and a few folk renditions thrown in. I can be awfully traditional about my holiday music, and it takes me a long time to accept a new Christmas song or – worse – a new artist trying his/her hand at an old classic. It’s nothing against them, it’s just…not what I’m used to, and I admit, during the holiday I really like what I’m used to.
Right now most of us are in the phase I like to call “Emerging Christmas”, with wrapping paper and craft supplies and half-unpacked decorations everywhere.
But for every pristine Christmas tree photo you see on the Internet, remember that seconds beforehand, a mom was shoving bins and boxes out of sight.
Let’s not hold ourselves to an impossible standard; pulling off this much magic is hard enough without also trying to erase all the evidence.