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Holiday-Obsessed Moms Send Kids the Wrong Message

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The scent of pine still lingers in the air. The dry cleaner might get to Santa’s suit today, or maybe tomorrow. Candle wax is still warm and your first credit card bill from December’s spree hasn’t arrived. Is that a bit of fudge on your chin? Is that a half-eaten candy cane stuck to the bottom of your sock? Are you still telling people, “Happy New Year”?

Quick! Plan Valentine’s Day!

Before one holiday is dead, cold, and sent off with a spectacular Viking funeral, today’s over-achieving moms are expected to pounce on the next big holiday.

It’s easy to blame stores for stocking the next holiday’s accoutrements months in advance. My sister-in-law was at a store on Christmas Eve and saw St. Patrick’s Day accessories, which explains why everyone received Kiss Me, I’m Irish dishtowels. Just kidding. She shopped the day before Christmas Eve. But you can’t completely blame your local retailers. Stores order their stock sometimes a year in advance. They may not control when items are shipped to them. It’s like an Amazon diaper subscription that’s gone rogue. They just show up. Either you put out the merchandise, or the storage rooms overflow. That’s why if you come to my house, your drink will sit on a Size 4 diaper and yeah, our dogs are housebroken. Why do you ask?

But you can’t blame stores when you’re the Holiday Pusher on the corner, opening your blog like an overcoat: Psssst. Lady, come here. You haven’t even washed the champagne flutes from New Year’s Eve, but I have a savvy Valentine craft to do with your kids today! Don’t forget to pin and share!

When the focus is on holidays, holidays, holidays, holidays, holidays, moms send kids a message holidays are the only days that really matter. You work toward them with decorating, crafts, special menus, parties, and projects. Kids see where your energy is directed. They’re the ones who are shoved up to tables and handed glue sticks to make things for distant holidays they don’t understand or particularly care about.

Overachieving Mom: Kids, it’s February 15th! Time to make some glittery shamrocks.

Kid: Why?

Mom: For Ireland.

Kid: Why?

Mom: For St. Patrick.

Kid: Who was he?

Mom: A saint in Ireland.

Kid: Who?

Mom: He drove snakes out of Ireland.

Kid: In a car? Cool! Can I just make a car instead?

Mom: As long as it’s green, you have a shamrock steering wheel, and the snakes are wearing seatbelts.

Crafts are fun. Spending time with your kids and making things together is awesome. Kids could use more glue-sticky fingers than ones forming video game controller claws. But how about doing it just because it’s a regular old Tuesday and today has enormous value? It’s here, it’s now, it’s all you have. Try to do a craft that has nothing to do with the next big holiday. What is inspiring your kids? Not you. Your kids. Ask them what they want to make without mentioning a Saint, a bunny, a pumpkin, a tree. And when the holiday nears, try to keep it all in perspective. Rushing holiday preparations, especially when it’s a minor holiday (you’ll know it because there’s still school and work), means when the holiday actually arrives you’re already over it.

Life isn’t a series of gauzy magazine pin-ably perfect holidays separated by weeks to prepare for perfect holidays. Holidays might be the 1000-watt exclamation points, but it’s only when we take a pause—period—that we catch a breath. Teaching kids to rest, reflect, and renew before setting course for The Next Big Thing is priceless.

Author: gretchen

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