I'm usually pretty stressed out at Christmas. Anyone else with me?!?
We have this self-inflicted and society-perpetuated pressure to completely redecorate our homes, buy the perfect gifts and then wrap those perfect gifts with perfect bows, make cute homemade goodies for our kids' class parties, give lavish teacher gifts, attend a bazillion events between work and personal parties, church, school and community events, wrap our houses and yards with lights and greenery, and all while smiling beautifully for the camera to send the most amazing Christmas card to (or post the most amazing Instagram photo for) people we hardly ever see.
You hockey parents... you know who you are! But just in case you are wondering, my incredibly funny, hockey-loving, even-broke-his-leg-playing husband, Marc Minish, wrote this "Top 30" list. It's pretty spot on for the youngest hockey league in Huntsville (aka The Termites), though I'm pretty sure these ring true in hockey cities all over the country.
I ran across this draft post from last year’s football season. I thought it was too funny - and too fitting - as we are literally driving south right now for our annual Auburn trek.
Here’s what I started to write more than a year ago:
You see those two sleeping in their strollers behind me? Yes this is my spot for the Auburn homecoming game we drove down for. They both fell asleep on the stroll to the stadium from the tailgate, and now we're hanging out in the breezeway while they sleep it off. I'm sitting on the floor.
Where in the world is my shot of rum when I need it?
Guest post by Dadda (aka Marc Minish)
I borrowed the title of this article from 1 Peter, Chapter 3. Oh, be ye not afraid that I’ll go off on some metaphysical discussion about the meaning of the Bible or what Peter really meant when he spoke these words two thousand years ago. Peter, you understand, had a much deeper meaning to his message than I do today. Still, I have some important observations about modern suburban middle class life that you might find interesting. My observation might be particularly important to anyone with kids. I’m going to talk to you today about… pizza.
We didn't go anywhere exotic or even far away for Spring Break. In fact, we only took one day off from work. (I'm hording vacation time for when we move into the house we're building.) But here's the kicker - none of that mattered. We had the best family trip ever. And here's why...
It was all because of me.
I know that sounds a tad bit (or A WHOLE LOT) self absorbed, but hear me out.
I am a cautious mom. A hold-tight-to-the-rail-when-on-the-stairs-reminding mom. I have a hard time "being chill" when my kids aren't quietly tucked in their beds. I'm also a scheduling mom and one that follows the rules. Needless to say, when kids are just being kids, it goes against every grain in my body. My first reaction is always to stop [insert whatever less than desired behavior]. In my kids' eyes, I'm pretty sure this makes me a drag to be around.
For whatever reason, unbeknownst to me, something in me changed on this trip.
I didn't set out to be the fun mom on this trip. I didn't give myself a pep talk beforehand or mentally decide to take chill pill. I started off just like I tackle everything else - making detailed lists of what to pack and where to go, researching which days would be less crowded at which locations. Trying to figure out where the St. Patty's Day traffic would be and take my family the opposite way to avoid unruly crowd behavior.
But somewhere between Thursday night packing and stepping out of the car to go to the aquarium on Friday, my mentality changed. And it made all the difference. For me. For all of us.
I didn't even freak out when my husband, Marc, decided to take the two oldest across the swinging bridge.
I didn't even scream across the way for them to hold tight!
I would venture out to even call this family time away a vacation. Normally I'm of the mindset of going out of town with your kids is a trip - not a vacation. But this time was so different. It didn't fell like work at all!
Here are some more photo highlights.
I pray this vacation-mode Chantel will last beyond Spring Break... It sure felt good. Life is crazy busy enough to not add another layer of worry into it.
P.S. Just to keep it authentic - we did have some whiny times and a few hiccups along the way. When you have a 2-year-old, 4-year-old and (almost) 6-year-old, there will be some meltdowns. But they were few and far between - and a relaxed mama is way more equipped to handle those than a stressed out one!
Guest post by Dadda
My wife recently enjoyed a delightful and relaxing women’s trip to the beach. She enjoyed six days and five nights of bliss away from all of the daily rigors of life. When she came home she was rosy cheeked and smiling. For me, well, let’s just say that when she came home my appearance resembled something more akin to an over-the-hill prize fighter that had just lost a boxing match.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad my wife had time to get away, but I’m also thankful that she will not be leaving again anytime soon.
As we drive our family down for a weekend trip to our alma mater, Auburn University, for homecoming, I'm picturing us all in our orange and blue, highlighted by the afternoon sun, waving our shakers, singing the fight song in unison and cheering our team on to victory. It's such a beautiful moment.
But I know this will NEVER happen. I'm not that naive!
When faced with a weekend alone with the kids (the hubby went on a fishing trip to the gulf with his old college roommates), I thought to myself, "You don't have to suffer alone! Set up a family play date!" And a family play date we did - to see the production of Pinocchio by one of our local high schools. Extra points for exposing the kids to culture!
Ever feel like you're putting out a want ad when you invite people over... Or try to set up a play date? When you're first "dating" someone as a potential friend, you tend to scrutinize every text or email, or wonder if you're over-liking their Instagram posts. Do I have too many emojis in there? Or just the right amount?
Several years ago I read a blog post by Rachel Bertsche, author of MWF (Married White Female) Seeking BFF (obviously I borrowed her book title for my blog post title). She captures her attempts to make close connections with girlfriends after she and her husband had been living in Chicago for three years.
Wife, mom and full-time marketing pro. Diet coke addict. Auburn fan (and alumn). Christian - striving to comprehend grace.