Friday, December 28, 2007

Maybe I Need a Goal of Some Sort

I don't want to be a downer on a holiday weekend, but does anyone else have the post-Christmas doldrums? Is it the hangover that comes after spending the past five weeks planning, shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning, addressing, mailing, delivering, decorating, and entertaining--being the heart of it all in your house, being the one in charge of "throwing" Christmas, like you throw a party, because you're the mama after all, and for the first time you have a child old enough to participate in Christmas--only to have it end in a whirlwind of trashed gift-wrap and sleep-deprivation-fueled tantrums?

Is it the somewhat sad, but mainly tedious, prospect of taking it all down in another week, of throwing out the tree and wrapping up each of those many, many ornaments, venturing back into the storage closet to fit each crimson candle, each handmade stocking, into its precarious space?

Is it the soul-sucking experience of spending a full day at a nearby suburban mall in search of new jeans on after-Christmas clearance, only to--of course!--leave with the conviction that THEY DON'T ACTUALLY MAKE JEANS FOR A BODY SUCH AS YOURS. MAYBE NOT EVEN ANY PANTS AT ALL. APPARENTLY YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO GO AROUND WITH NO PANTS ON. BECAUSE PANTS THAT FIT YOU DO NOT EXIST.

Maybe it's the depressing realization that no one else is ever, ever going to come and do the dusting. They're just not. Ever.

Also those curtains, valances, rods, and holdbacks you ordered SIX WEEKS AGO for the guest room window, but that are still sitting, packaged, in the utility room where you stashed them when they arrived in the mail? No one is ever going to come and hang those curtains for you. Nor are the curtains going to hang themselves. Dang!

Maybe it's the fact that I'm out of eggnog.

All of a sudden I'm in a major rut, bored with running (!) and cooking and making grocery lists and reading magazines. Bored with relying on the not-very-flattering ponytail because, with a baby who wakes up by six each morning to nurse, I've got no time in the a.m.'s to do my hair. Bored with sleeping terribly. Bored with lack of career ambition or plans. Bored with weekends full of chores and errands instead of movies and brunch.

OK, OK--I realize it's unseemly to harp on a laundry list of complaints when (yes of course I know it's true) my life is actually, truly, a litany of blessings. (I mean, all I have to do is recall those two little girls of mine, all dressed in red and hugging each other before Christmas Eve church, to know that's true.) But come clean, people: don't any of you other mamas ever feel like this, when the holidays die down?

How do YOU energize yourself to face the new year with excitement, to pack away those Christmas ornaments with good cheer, not the overwhelming desire to take a nap? How do you get yourself out the door into the chill air of a winter evening to run those three miles? How do you motivate yourself to keep dusting the furniture, week after week after week? Any new-year tips would be greatly appreciated.

I'll tell you one person who's happy that Christmas is over, though: Genevieve, who is glad she doesn't have to wear a Santa dress with matching hat and booties anymore.


Elise said...

In my world, dusting is optional unless guests are coming over, and even then it depends on the guests. And as for the curtains, I believe that if you check your couples contract you'll see that hanging things is an ironclad part of the husband-duty clause. The jeans I can't help you with, because truly, pants are evil. And also shopping sucks. I (luckily) haven't hit the post-christmas doldrums yet, but I totally know the feeling. I tend to escape into a good novel as my primary therapy, but then I have a child who naps and is no longer nursing! Could you take a class? Maybe there's a yoga clinic with something not too spendy? Or maybe set up a new regular playdate to look forward to? I dunno. Those doldrums suck muchly. Hope you get through them to the other side soon.

Nonna said...

Sometimes the most important four words ever uttered are, "It pass!" Everything comes pass! And it will! As for Genna Rose, Nonna is sorry she burdened you with that gay apparel (the Santa dress) you had to don! But you look awfully cute in it!!

Shan said...

I have to add that once the hat and booties were removed, Genevieve happily wore her adorable Santa dress all Christmas Day. I even got some semi-happy photos, later on. She was the most adorable elf ever.

Anonymous said...

Vivi is too sweet for words. She's even adorable when she cries--that might be because I don't have sound on that!

Woman, your hair is so long!!

Shan said...

It is long. And that's with almost two inches cut off it a couple of months ago! See, when you've got NO time to wash, blow-dry, and style your hair every morning, you have to keep your hair long so you can pull it back each day! It's the lazy mama's hairdo!

Cathy said...

I always give myself a new personal project for January/February. It's the best way I have of coping with two more months of darkness and cold (March doesn't bother me so much; the ice starts cracking and the sap starts flowing). Two years ago, I taught myself how to knit. Last year I painted the living room and wrote short stories - one hour each day. This year, I thought about learning the ukulele, but I've changed it to mastering my Indian cookbook. You'll note a pattern - most of my projects are fun and frivolous. But the nice part is, Anya has been able to be involved in all of them in some way, and it has definitely made me less gloomy.

And I think you look wonderful in that picture!

Rob Hardy said...

Oh, I have lots of goals for the New Year: flossing regularly, losing weight, writing a novel, etc. But on New Year's Eve, we're getting together with another couple and cooking things in a deep fat fryer!

Worst post-Christmas ever: When Will was not quite four months old, he developed a fever so high on New Year's Eve that we took him to the ER. The doctor on call was worried it might be spinal meningitis, so he ordered an ambulance to take Will to United and Children's in St. Paul, were he (a not quite 4-month old baby) was given a spinal tap. It was just a really bad cold, which Clara also had. She spent two nights in the hospital in St. Paul, sick as a dog, unable to sleep at all, attempting to comfort an infant with an IV stuck into the top of his scalp.

Heidi said...

Dusting in my house is totally optional too, as Elise said, unless company is coming and depending on the company and the occasion. Running 3 miles??? Ha ha ha! That's *less* than optional; that's a definite NO!! (But I *do* need/want to get into an exercise routine I can manage to keep up w/ in 2008; isn't that *everyone's* *every-year* New Year's Resolution????

As for the post-Christmas doldrums, yes, I get that--esp. about taking down decorations, which we will have to do tomorrow b/c the weekend of Epiphany (the end of the "12 Days...") is too full for us this year. But also, it's a bummer that 2 of my 3 last days of vacation are spent tied down by the kiddos b/c Greg has to work. (I need vacation from *mothering* more than from so-called "work.")

Actually, my doldrums are kind of ongoing lately: all that you described about things around the house getting done *only* if the mama does them, PLUS the mama has her outside-the-home career as well, PLUS trying to give quality/quantity time to the kids, all EQUALS very little time for self... for the nourishing, rejuvenating sorts of projects, goals, frivolous activities I'd *like* to do. Your friends have good ideas.... I just don't know when *I* can fit them in!!!!!!

I have many good things going in our current situation (my job, Greg's job, our community, Logan's school, Gabe's daycare, close to parents, etc.), but I am in a *serious* rut as well.

donna said...

Dusting is totally optional in my house regardless of who is coming over. (We do vacuum whenever people are coming over, though.)

Pant shopping is insane. I have to hem everything. And do I have time to hem? Not really. (Thank goodness for my grandma who lives near to me!)

I work out after the kids are in bed. I love it. It gives me time to clear my head and I don't feel guilty about not spending time with the kids and leaving the kids with my husband so I can have 'me' time.

I know the rut you're in... I've been there many times myself. I think getting together with other mothers (with or without the kids) always energizes me.

dubois said...

Wow, thank you so much for your post "Maybe I Need a Goal". It is so encouraging to realize that I am not the only one out there going through this right now. If I have to be pleasant, entertaining, and industrious for one more minute I'm going to run screaming from the house! I can't even type this reply without my two year old pulling on my leg and saying "come mommy, come mommy" over and over again. I know that I'm so lucky to have this beautiful little boy that wants to be with me, but right now I just really want some freedom, some friends and some time ALONE!!! Ack. Anyway, thanks for the post.

Shan said...

So many of us are in this together, alone. Or in this alone, together. Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the most isolating jobs there is, in my opinion. And the fact that it's also really, really hard (or, I'll say it again: maybe it's not hard, but it's hard if you want to do it WELL) makes it even worse that it's so isolating!

My rut isn't/wasn't just about parenting, but about things in general. I'm slowly coming out of it. Cheers and strength to everyone else who might be struggling in a rut, too.