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The Christmas Comedown

The Christmas Comedown, otherwise known as post holiday dysfunction at my home. I wrote about something similar last year and called that post The After Christmas Crash. I must not be alone in this aftermath effect of the hustle and bustle that leaves us feeling a bit like a deflated balloon after a party. Obviously, it is a reoccurring event that now I must find my way through each year.

Post Holiday Dysfunction

This is not a diagnosis in the DSM or even an actual medical term in any way. Its just my description of the feeling that comes after being hyped on Christmas cheer, chaos, and anxiety for weeks and then suddenly the crash happens. We are no longer amped up with this adrenaline, increased serotonin, or oxytocin that our bodies have produced to get us to Christmas day. The side effects of our bodies not producing the same amount of chemicals that our crazy Christmas countdown did leave us feeling in a slump.

The hustle bustle of the holiday season is what keeps us going. The days right before we are overstimulated and overwhelmed with all of our to-do lists. However, the days after, it’s almost like we are missing something. In my opinion, we are. We are lacking those stress responses that keep us energized enough to wrap 27 gifts in the early morning hours. We know longer have the alarm bells of moving elves, finding that last minute deal, or scheduling the seven Christmas visits we need to make.

Substitution or Satisfaction

As a mom, I know, there is always the next thing to start doing. Eventually, a new problem to solve will arise or a child will have something else for us to figure out. The slump of emptiness and unmotivated restlessness will fade away probably sooner than we realize. In the meantime, we are forced to find a way to either substitute the lack of endorphins or find a way to be satisfied with the slower pace.

Substitution

I will be the first to admit that relaxing and just allowing things to settle isn’t my strong suit. I wish it was. I’d love to be more like my husband who can find peace in a TV remote and a comfortable bed. For me, I’m looking for the next thing I need to do.

I don’t just relax very often. I feel restless, stagnant and pretty irritated when there is nothing to do. I can also admit that although I don’t want to get out, I want to not sit still. I don’t want to clean my house, but I want some tasks to do. I’m not sure that makes sense. However, I think that is me thinking that doing nothing is equal to laziness. I know there are many things I could do, but I am just looking to procrastinate those as I wait for the motivational push to actually get them done. That usually only comes with those stress chemicals our brains release when our back is against the wall.

Instead of relaxing into the moment, I overthink myself into this ball of stress and irritation. I find the fight instead of just allowing the battles won to be celebrated. I look for the substitution in order to get the fix of adrenaline and endorphins that my body became accustom to receiving during the stressful holiday season.

Satisfaction

Contentment is one of those things I long for, but to be honest, it also sounds boring. I want a lot, I expect a lot, and I do a lot to try to get what I want. However, I do want to learn to be present and just enjoy the now. I don’t want to plan out the next 5 years daily nor make lists of all the things I need to accomplish. I don’t want to plan for unlikely hypothetical situations or assume the worst. Hello anxiety. I want to be able to just be. No strings attached. Unfortunately, this is a skill that has been elusive to me for years.

I should be counting my blessings, celebrating my wins for this year, and enjoying some time where the kids all are happy and content playing with their new gifts and gadgets. How do I curtail this Christmas Comedown and post holiday dysfunction?

Combatting Christmas Comedown

You guessed it. My own concoction of how to combat this Christmas Comedown.

  • Take some time to do something for yourself.
    • Meditate
    • Buy yourself a gift
    • Read, write, or take a nap.
  • Enjoy time with family
  • Accomplish a to-do you’ve been putting off.
  • Get out of the house for fun instead of out of necessity.
  • Celebrate your wins.
  • Go on a date.
  • Exercise.
  • Meet up with a friend.
  • Have a dance party or scaryeoke.

The short and long of it is to do something fun both for yourself and with others. Enjoy your holiday successes or just celebrate that you survived another Christmas! Either way, it’s done and we have nearly a whole year before we have to be all Christmas Carol, the elf moving, Christmas magic making, PTO participating, merry and bright decking the halls Santa’s helpers again. Count your blessings. As always, we’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Shaking Off the Scrooge

It’s Christmas! For some it’s all falalala and a partridge in a pear tree. However, for others it’s anxiety, insecurity, and mood swings that are on full display. You guessed it, I fall on the latter side of the spectrum. Even so, I’m shaking off my scrooge and trying to be all merry and bright.

100% THAT Grinch

Let’s be clear, I don’t have the answers. Its honestly a bit hypocritical for me to even write this post considering my own inner scrooge has been showing up more so here lately than I had anticipated. It’s Christmas eve and I slept until noon and still haven’t taken my non Christmas pajamas off or finished my last minute errands. Yes I’m a 100% that grinch today. However, I have a plan to shake off the scrooge so I’m going to share it and hope it may help someone else do the same.

Yes, I know, the Christmas lists aren’t getting shorter or cheaper. Nor will your house clean itself. The elf on the damn shelf is still a priority. The money isn’t growing on the Christmas tree. Additionally, auntie is still going to be continuing her diatribe on how you eat, parent, and/or your spouse. So we have every right to be the bah humbug b!tches we become. The question stands, how do we make Christmas magic without the mayhem?

Shaking Off the Scrooge

Shake it off. It’s easier said than done! That’s the damn truth! There are Christmas lists that are miles long and the shopping that is endless. Add schedule changes, traveling, anxiety, and the debts you’ll be paying off until next Christmas. Obviously, we can’t forget dear auntie Gertrude picking that moment to tell you exactly how many calories are in the chocolate cupcake just as you’re stuffing your face. It’s no wonder we are 100% that grinch come Christmas morning.

The Anti-Scrooge Assignment

  • Take time for yourself. Pause. Take a breath. Meditate. It will ALL get done and they will ALL be just as happy and excited as they are every other year.
  • Look at the good stuff you’ve done! The tree is probably up, right? You’ve bought gifts. You’re going to get them wrapped or just say Santa got caught in an icestorm so he doesn’t wrap when that happens! You’ve accomplished so much more than you’ve given yourself credit for.
  • Take your time and delegate out the projects you are working on. Older kids can help out. Your significant other is able to do some running. If your single mommin this Christmas then let door dash be the baby daddy and help with delivering last minute items!
  • Be flexible. You know your plan, but no one else really does. It’s most likely not going to work out according to what you thought. Its OK! Roll with it!
  • Have a drink! It’s Christmas! I am not saying get sloshed and say screw the rest of it, but you can relax!
  • Let those kids have your presence. They don’t expect Mrs. Claus as a mom! They expect their mom to be exactly the person you always are.
  • Make lists. Chunk it up. And get it DONE. Put a stop time on your preparation and whatever is left over is just that.
  • Eat. The. Damn. Cookies. I’m awful about getting so busy with stuff that I forget I need food. Hangry is grinchy. Diets are for new years NOT Christmas.
  • Debt is not how you want to start 2023. Don’t make magic out of money you don’t have. I have $22 to my name and a truck on its final leg. Guess what? I am not about to open a credit card for stocking stuffers and crap my kids won’t even like next year. I’ll be a bargain shopping baddie and coupon my way to payday. It’s not worth stressing out my future self for today’s wants.
  • Finally, have a Merry freaking Christmas! This the freaking season!!! Remember it’s your Christmas too! Don’t make about everyone else so much you forget you matter too.

Christmas Magic

I LOVE Christmas! I really do. I have fond memories growing up of beautiful decorations, presents galore, and family gatherings. I took for granted those days. I wish I had known then how much work it took to make Christmas magic. I probably would’ve been a hell of a lot nicer to my mom!

One day, you’ll be appreciated for making Christmas magic even amongst the struggles. They’ll remember these days fondly. All of the Christmas headaches will be worth their smiles and eyes lighting up. Don’t forget to breathe. Be present and don’t just give presents! Mommin’ ain’t easy, but you’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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An Open Letter to My Daughter Becoming a Mom

Dear Sweet Little Love,

I feel like it wasn’t too terribly long ago that I looked into your beautiful baby blue eyes and saw this new life in you that made me a mom. A little nose like mine and strawberry fuzz that covered your crown. You were magnificent and I knew that I too was reborn that day. You made me a momma, and in your little face I had found my truest love to date.

I was only 19, barely on my own path and I was suddenly diving headfirst into a world that previously had involved the occasional messy diaper and few other minor inconveniences that my babysitting jobs entailed. I had no experience with your tiniest of frames at 17 1/2″ and 6lb 8oz you were much like a baby doll i had once drug around as a small child.

I was just a baby myself, much like you are now, my sweet little love. I was freshly plucked from my fast life as a teenager and tossed into this world of Motherhood. I was grateful beyond measure for a family that a seasoned pro ready to spoil her first grandchild and a poppa who thought you hung the moon. Foe the first time, I saw how hard it was to be the mom. It was an appreciation I hadn’t known prior to your arrival.

Here we are, a mere 18 years later and I’m standing the shoes your Nana once wore, without her here pushing me on. I watch as your still tiny frame tries to accommodate your own little girl. I never thought about being a Nona, Mimi, Nana, or a Mamaw past that “one day” assumption. Yet here we stand. Footsteps that I didn’t wish for you to follow. A path that’s hard to tread at your young age.

Everything will be harder. It will, however, be clearer. You’ve already decided certain aspects of this little person’s life that will impact their life for the future. A name, a nickname, where you’ll live and all things you want, hope, and dream she will be. However, who she is will be shaped and determined by the paths we as the family who surrounds her chooses to take. As you know, my little love, children are most often along for the journey chosen by those who raise her.

I hope with your own journey in mind that you know this much is true. I am here. I am still your momma even as you become a momma yourself. I can still kiss the boo boo’s, but I can’t take the falls. I can hold you as you scream, but no matter my desire I can’t shoulder the pain. I can guide you, show you and teach you the lessons I’ve learned but I can’t transfer the experience. I can be like the grandmother that was taken from you 14 years ago, but I will never be Nana you knew, nor the momma you are now.

Life has thrown us a lot of punches. We’ve taken the hits and learned to fight back. You and I grew up together, myself as much as you. I was forced to walk this road down Motherhood lane much on my own. I haven’t been the mother you deserved, nor always the one you needed me to be, but I’ve been the best I knew how to be. You, my little love, will too. Mommin’ aint easy, but I’ll be here for you, with you, and loving you through it as long as I live. You’ve got this, my sweet little love! You’re as tough as a mother. I can’t wait to see the amazing person you’ve created and watch you become the momma you never knew you were destined to be. I’m proud to be your momma. Soon, you’ll understand just what a mother’s love truly means.

☮️❤️😊 I love you!

~Momma

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After Christmas Crash

The ‘I’m over it’ face. The one that also tells my threefold to mind their mouths, momma ain’t in a playin mood. 😂

You are on a high during Christmas, I am anyway. My existence is fueled by caffeine, cuss words, the chaotic to-do lists, cookies, and that down home country cooking! Very little sleep, glitter everywhere and presents piled high. Anticipation is teeming throughout the house. You start getting bribes and promises that are only made to pave the way to the present pile. It’s exciting. It’s stressful. It’s worth it.

Then the crash comes promptly on 12/26. The day you thought would be a day where you could bask in your Christmas contentment instead becomes the day you have the Christmas comedown and crash. I’m suddenly drained as I’m no longer running off of the Christmas chaos and the need to tend to every stocking stuffer and the mad rush to finish strong! The fatigue hits like a ton of bricks yet still I try to push through. The wave of emotions of either failure or accomplishment come on strong. Suddenly I feel as if I ran a never-ending marathon for a month, made everything as good as it could be. I checked every list, twice, but somehow I didn’t win the love and appreciation I thought I would.

I’m happy that Defcon Four got everything they asked for {even if it didn’t all arrive in time for the grand finale} and that for the most part everyone seems happy with their newly procured presents. I’m left with the mess, to be a chauffeur as everyone spends their newly obtained fortune by shopping, and to try to recover my own financial security from my over extravagant spending.

The day after comes and I’m left without much of an agenda and too much time to over analyze every misstep along the way. I overthink every single reaction and the many ways I could’ve improved on the process to avoid the mishaps, lower my stress, and made my life easier and their Christmas better. I get a little bitter and self-loathing, which isn’t a good look. I try to isolate to avoid any issues that my edgy, irritability may spark. I fail, with gusto, because I pop off with even the slightest additional negative dilemma that is placed in my way.

‘I’m going to work on it’, I repeat in my head, as I try to make my rational thoughts take root. I meditate and focus on other tasks, but my energy feels off. It’s just the post Christmas crash and I’m unsure what the fix is to this problem. I’m not even sure if it’s common or if this is a bipolar thing. I’d like to excuse it either way, but at the end of the day I know im responsible for my every reaction, response, my attitude and my actions. I just lose sight of those facts. I hope you aren’t experiencing a Christmas crash! If you are or if you aren’t stay positive! You’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M