Nov 20, 2008

Mommy's Got The Holiday Blues

Are you having trouble drumming up that holiday spirit? How is it possible to love the holidays and yet every year struggle to stay joyful? Are my expectations too high? Am I trying to fulfill visions of sugarplums that danced in my head as child? Am I too tired to be jolly, too stressed or is the economy getting me down? I can’t blame SAD we live in Florida, no lack of sunlight here.

Before I had my son, I used to think that the reason I was sad around the holidays was because I did not yet have a family to share them with. I used to think having children would make the season more complete. When I remembered my holidays as a child, so many traditions centered around the children. I wanted to have that as an adult. The decorations that somehow made it from year to year without breaking. The Christmas breakfast we ate at mid-morning after opening gifts. The yearly game of hide and seek my parents played with the gifts around the house. Watching annual holiday TV shows together, reciting the script that we knew by heart.

It’s ironic that the one thing I wished for every Christmas since I was a young woman, I now have and it’s still not enough. In fact, it’s a more profound sadness than ever.
Now what I struggle with during this holiday and every holiday since my son was born is balancing the tremendous joy I feel watching him create memories, with the sadness I feel knowing that time is passing by.

I look forward to the holidays and then start to dread each passing day as they come closer. Pretending if I don’t spend too much time thinking and planing, maybe I can delay the event altogether. Because if not, then it’s here and it’s over and we never get that year back.
But of course it doesn’t work, the 24 hr time capsule still arrives and after the day has passed, all I have is sadness.

Motherhood is often wrought with a melancholy that lies beneath the surface at all times. We can’t show it or talk about, because we are the enablers of seasonal celebrations. We are in charge of instilling the magic memories in our children’s hearts and minds, while fighting back tears watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” every year.

Starting now, this year I plan to really enjoy the whole season and not just focus on the one day. I think that may be the key for me. Plan to do small things a few times a week to celebrate the season. Maybe one day have a cookie baking bash and on another create a special handmade decoration for the tree each year. There aren’t any outdoor tree farms or hayrides in my area to visit, so I think perhaps we will have a day decorating one of the trees in our yard just for the birds. We can string popcorn and hang Spanish moss. The squirrels would probably like some pinecones dipped in peanut butter, if we choose a cool day, maybe they won’t melt.

As I’ve learned with everything I try to avoid in life, just focusing on what saddens me or frightens me, only makes the feelings more intense. Do I want time to stand still? Yes, yes I do! Intellectually of course I want my son to grow up and live his life. Emotionally, I want each day back to live again. I want him to always be my little boy to hold and cherish, but worrying about the inevitable is only robbing me of the memories we can create now that will give me comfort in the future. Not to mention, I don’t want my son to spend his childhood holidays with “sad” mommy.

I found a great post over at Live Learn Knit. Amy has written about a book that helped her put the holidays in perspective!

I know that some of you have very valid reasons to be sad this holiday and I hope you are seeking professional support.
If it’s a case of mild holiday blues, these websites may be able to help:

The Mayo Clinic- Holiday Blues
Web MD - Holiday Stress


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

It is indeed a bad time right now. The economy is very poor and this distresses everyone. I hope all those that feel down seek some help. Have a great day. :)

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I like your idea on focusing on the season rather than just one day. I know for me, my expectations for how things go are never met in real life, so I just try to go with the flow of what actually happens -- sometimes easier said than done.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, and I love your Spanish moss idea!

Nodin's Nest said...

Sandee: I agree, the professionals will have their hands full this year.
Holly: Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. I'm giving up on expectations entirely and hoping just for a sense of peace.

Cascia said...

Sometimes time just goes by way to quickly. Two of my kids are still little and I wish every day that I could keep them that way. Your post really hit home for me. I agree with you completely. I've been suffering from clinical depression and anxiety ever since I was a teenager and it gets worse during the holidays and the cold winter months. Hopefully this year will be different for me because this will be our first Christmas out here in sunny California. I like your idea of creating memories by celebrating the whole season instead of that one day. I think I may try that with my kids. I need to get my calendar out now and mark the dates that I am going to do Christmas activities with my kids. Thank you for sharing this post!

Karen said...

So, this is why I procrastinate! I don't want the event to be over and so I wait for it to begin. Thanks for the great post. It has been very helpful.

Nodin's Nest said...

Cascia: Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I hope you enjoy Christmas in California this year.
Karen: Your very welcome, figuring out the "why" of things is sometimes more helpful than the

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