Enjoying the Downtime

Is it go, go, go, or ho, ho, ho? These days it seems as though I can’t keep up and I find myself wishing there were just a few more hours in the evenings to help me tie up those loose ends from the day. Don’t we all think this from time to time, if not daily? Lately, though, it has been a different story in my household. With the holidays quickly approaching I have found my work life slowing down and my home life picking up. Typically this would make me a panicky wreck, nervous for how we may meet our financial responsibilities and how we are going to afford all of the Christmas gifts we want to get for our kiddos. Of course this is nothing new to me, the holidays always slow down just to vamp back up after New Years, but I still can’t help getting anxious every year wondering if this is going to be the year it doesn’t pick back up.

This year is different, though. This year with my daughter in tow I have decided to try and enjoy the little things right along side of her. I have practiced slowing down and really taking in the festive lights and decorations at her pace and on her level. It has opened my eyes to so much and really made me feel grateful for this time to re-welcome the holiday spirit back into my heart.

Before my daughter was born, and even the year of her first Christmas, I found it quite difficult to get myself into the festive mood. Even things as simple as baking or buying gifts turned into chores that “must” get done, perhaps to show those around me that I was in the Christmas spirit, almost as if it was a test or a race. I found little joy in listening to Christmas carols or making plans to be with friend for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. These “chores” seemed to creep up on me, year after year building on one another until one day I realized the holidays were not fun anymore. They just became work and all the enjoyment I used to have was now replaced with feelings of “shoulds” and “musts.”

Well, I am happy to say that this year, for the first time in a number of years, I am looking forward to the holidays again! Yes, the Grinch has left the building and in its place is a genuinely excited mama, ready to celebrate this beautiful and magical season with my family and friends again. I think it has something to do with the look on my daughter’s face when she tastes a Christmas cookie for the first time or sees the holiday lights shining on the house up the street. Seeing all those firsts again with her make all the work and hassle of the holidays worth it, and leaves me sure that the years to come will be reminiscent of this special time.

It makes me wonder how many other new and seasoned mamas out there have thought about this same thing, perhaps how many have even gone through it themselves. I find I have a new appreciation and excitement for the holidays since the birth of my daughter and wonder if I will lose this excitement down the road once my daughter is grown. I would like to think I will always have fond feelings of the holidays. I think this is because having known the true joy of waking up Christmas morning and seeing the excitement in her eyes is a memory that does not fade with time.

For now, I will continue waking up in the mornings, excited and ready to bake Christmas cookies for the neighbors and our friends, ready to make Christmas crafts, and even more ready to sing carols. I am learning to savor the days and not waste the hours worrying about how we will make ends meet this month or what chores I “should” be doing instead reading Christmas books with my daughter. As I lay here finishing up this post, watching my daughter sleep in her crib, I know with every bone in my body that this is what Christmas is all about.

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