Sunday, May 3, 2009

Three 4 and Under--Holidays and Traditions

I was raised by a Mom who loves parties and celebrating. In fact, this year my mom had us over for St. Patrick's Day supper (even though we are not Irish), and threw a Valentine party for my kids as well as doing the one at school with her students. She always used to have us do May Baskets and big 4th of July picnics, Thanksgiving with all the trimmings, etc. I would love to continue many of those fun traditions with my own kids. I also get inspired by many women in the blog world and there are so many creative ideas to implement.
Yet one thing that became "relaxed" when #3 came into the family was holiday traditions. I mean, when it takes an hour just to get the kids rounded up and ready to go somewhere, I am plenty busy and tired just keeping them fed, dry, and clean let alone thinking up extras to do. Holidays can become so overwhelming because you have to do so many major preparations all at once: Either extra cleaning or packing for a big trip, preparing gifts or clothing, preparing lots of elaborate foods, church programs, etc. If you try to do too much you can easily burn out.
My solution?
In addition to being prepared and organized in advance and simplifying things based on my priorities of what are the most-important goals related to seasonal things, I'm realizing that I don't have to do it all at the same time. I can spread things out. The kids won't care! In fact, they enjoy it all the more! For example:
I really wanted to do a gingerbread house with Ali but didn't get one in December due to moving, having a fairly new baby, and having tons of holiday and church stuff to do and lots of family visits. It worked out WONDERFULLY anyway because I got 2 kits for $5 on after-Christmas clearances and we did one in February on a quiet, non-eventful day and will do one this summer!
I didn't find the princess dress cake until the day after Ali's birthday (of course!) So, instead of waiting another year to make it, I made it for my sister-in-law's bridal shower and she enjoyed watching!
We were going to do a "Celebrate Spring" day on the first day of spring and dye eggs, etc. Instead, we were really busy that day so we ended up having a big egg coloring day closer to Easter and even Daddy and Mommy got in on the fun!
We had planned to do May baskets, but ended up attending a fun hat-making tea party for moms and kids at Ali's preschool. Who's to say we can't do it in mid-May when some of our busiest days are over? The surprise will still be fun!
We didn't plan a huge Easter feast. Instead we ate at Subway after church and then went to my parent's house for a low-key picnic in the evening. I'm not one that absolutely has to have a very formal dinner for every holiday. I've often begged my mom to just order pizza on Thanksgiving to cut down on the stress!
We decided to only do a friends party for the kid's birthdays every other year instead of every year. Ali told all the little girls in her preschool she was having a birthday party so it was tough to tell her she really wasn't but she is excited for next year and she had a blast helping me make moon-themed stuff for her family party with us and Grammy and Boppa.
I thought it would be fun to host a mother/daughter tea around Mother's Day but we have a wedding and a graduation that weekend. So, sometime this summer I will probably get around to it and it will still be just as fun!
I'm not saying we get so lazy and unscheduled that we don't take the Christmas tree down until March or something like that. I'm also not saying that we don't celebrate the major holidays (Easter, Christmas, birthdays) on the actual day and go all out with special food and gifts. My point is that you can't do everything everyone else is doing, or even accomplish a lot of the seasonal things you would like to do. You will kill yourself trying if you do this when you have small children. So, I try to bite off bite-sized chunks these days. When my kids are all older, we will be able to throw fabulous parties and follow traditions more consistently, but for now, we can let some of the less important holidays and traditions slide or spread them out to do them on various days so that Mommy isn't overly tired or overwhelmed.


Anonymous said...

In the big picture, it wouldn't really matter if you didn't "take the Christmas tree down until March, or something like that." It wouldn't make you a bad mother and wife if you didn't "celebrate the major holidays (Easter, Christmas, birthdays) on the actual day and go all out with special food and gifts."

What matters is that you love your husband and children, take care of them the best you can, and take care of yourself.

Spoken with love from a mom with lots of life experience.

Heather said...

Excellent, Linds, I really enjoyed this post.

I responded to your comment today on my post about the rug. :)

It was wonderful to talk with you on Saturday! I'll get Justus' little crocs out to you soon.

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