Thursday, September 11, 2008

I will NOT make myself crazy this year...

Fall is in the air, and looming ahead of me is typically my craziest season of the year, my death march through the holidays. Starting with Halloween, we then go through Birthday Party, Thanksgiving, Liv's annual Christmas Cookie Decorating Party, before we finally end with the holiday hubub of Christmas proper. We usually also take a family vacation during this time. On top of it all, I teach two online classes at the university here in town, with all of the end-of-semester madness hitting right between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Each and every one of these occasions presents temptation for the crafty mama. Don't BUY -gasp!- the Halloween costume - make it yourself! Don't BUY - gasp! - birthday invitations, make them all yourself, and make them stunning. Have the birthday party in your house, which you've decorated to the hilt. Give party favors in handcrafted little favor sacks. No pre-printed cellophane at THIS house! Take a jillion pictures on vacation, and then scrapbook them ALL. Hell, don't limit yourself to a two-page spread, make a whole damn scrapbook of one week. And Thanksgiving. And the cookie party. Don't BUY - gasp!- the cookies to decorate, make them ALL. And invite every child you know, and give them each a dozen cookies. And for Christmas? Well, you're just plain tuckered out so just try to show up and smile for it all.

I decided this summer that I would NOT do this to myself. Buy the halloween costume already made. Jeesh! You know, it's entirely possible for the child to wear a mass-produced costume on Halloween. And it's entirely acceptable to have the birthday party somewhere besides your house, so that you don't have the added responsibility of cleaning. Etcetera, etcetera...

These were my intentions, and yet today I've already caved. I bought fabric to make a little witch costume for Liv. I'm not sure what I was thinking. I could have bought a witch costume SO easily. And yet, there I was up at the fabric store poring through costume books and thinking, "Oooh, I could make it!" And it's not going to save any money, either. $12 for fabric, and that doesn't count the tights or the witch hat I'll still have to purchase. I'm feeling stupider and stupider as I write this....

This is how the death march begins. I'll probably still end up making the invitations for the birthday party, too. And the favor sacks. And cookies for the Cookie Decorating Party. Even so, we're moving ahead with plans to have the birthday party somewhere besides the house. And I'm going to keep reminding myself that my worth as a mother isn't tied up in how many hours I spent hunched over a sewing machine or how many rolls of adhesive I go through, and what my daughter wants more than a handmade costume or a homemade birthday cake is her mama able to be present in the moment, not tired or worried, just happy to be celebrating with her all the holidays that the next few months bring.

I will NOT make myself crazy this year...
I will NOT make myself crazy this year...
I will NOT make myself crazy this year...

8 comments:

TheTwistedPurl said...

Yes it is all fine to do all that. Do not make yourself crazy this year. Keep on saying it :) And good luck!

Lisa_in_AR said...

You are a wanna be Martha. Aren't you going to harvest the wheat to make the flour to make the cookies? Shouldn't you process your own film before you scrap. Oh yeah, and those cookies probably need some very obscure ingredients that you can only find in Calcutta...

Janna said...

As I'm reading this, I'm feeling pretty thankful that both of my kids' birthdays are in the Spring. Otherwise, I'd be crazy right there with you. I only have Halloween, which my kid has only worn store bought costumes for, and then Thanksgiving and Christmas. Somehow, I find myself taking on all sorts of added things to do too, though. I'm going to start repeating your mantra...both to you and to myself. I will NOT make myself crazy this year....

Oh Mandie! said...

Hahaha I do that ALL too! And I'm certainly open to any and all tips that you might have on how to stay sane this holiday season! Because I'm pretty much a raving lunatic pretty early on in the season!

People without kids with holiday season birthdays just don't know!!!!

Denise Felton said...

You know, in Year 3 of our family cooking-decorating tradition, I realized that what my children loved was playing with icing. So I started buying chocolate-coated and white-chocolate-coated oreos and big tins of those plain butter cookies. A lots of tubes and cans of frosting and gel.

I swear to you, they had just as much fun with this project as they had with the what-was-I-thinking homemade-miniature-gingerbread-house project. And I enjoyed it a lot more because I wasn't worn out.

Step AWAY from the merry-go-round and be good to Mama.

dogwood said...

Mercy, your timing of this post is impeccable. I just finished girly-ing up a little witch costume that my mom made a gazillion years ago... a black and hot pink spider web tulle overlay thing-y. I fear it's genetic.

ElegantSnobbery said...

LOL, Good luck with that!! I'm always crazy and the holidays are no exception. But last year, I went to the Hawaiian party section of the craft store and bought hula skirts and leis for $5. Tada! the girls were hula girls. Be easy on yourself!!

joanie said...

You're right, she just wants you! My son is 10 and this is the first year I had a party away from home - I CAN'T recommend it enough.
If you must make cookies make sugar cookies, they only have a few ingredients. Make the dough ahead of time roll it into a log and stick them in the fridge until you're ready to slice them up and bake at a later date.
Also, make party bags from felt - far less time consuming. I've make simple rectangles and used pinking shears at the open end to dress them up - use ribbon for handles, couldn't be easier!
Also, the easiest party invite ever is to scan one of Liv's drawings for the front of the invite and print them out on your computer.
I've tried to stop doing all of these things myself, but just can't control the creative urge - don't fight it, just simplify.