Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Confession Of A Maternal Humbug

(Reposted from almost the exact same time last year)

This season defeats me.

My mother never liked Christmas, though she made a valiant effort to hide that fact. She decorated the house and she made a dazzling array of cakes and candy. But her heart wasn't in it. When I was a young child, I didn't and couldn't realize that of course. But as I got older, I knew. It wasn't something that was articulated or even fully cemented in my childish mind. It was just an awareness that something was amiss. But I didn't give it enough thought to ruin my enjoyment of the season. Kids are just wired that way.

But I understand now.

Like my mother, I just don't embrace Christmas with the same enthusiasm that others do.

Maybe because I see it as just one more glaring example of how I fall short of the ideal when it comes to being a model parent. I don't bake cookies. I don't make candy. I don't do cutesy crafts. I decorate, grudgingly, but I put it off until my kids are afraid Christmas will pass us by altogether.

Why? I really don't know, but I think it's resentment.

Resentment that all of this is on my head. More work, more worry, more stress...all piled on me. Nobody blames the Dad if there aren't Christmas cookies. Nobody blames the Dad if Christmas cards are late. Nobody blames the Dads if the children don't have matching outfits for the family portrait. Nobody blames the Dad if the teachers' gifts are lame, or the class party is a flop.

Nobody blames the Dad for anything.

I'm supposed to make all this happen. I'm supposed to make wonderful and cherished Christmas memories for my children. I alone am responsible for the miracles wrought and Joy to the World and Good freaking Will Toward Men.

It's been this way for like, always, I realize now. The women make it happen and everyone else reaps the benefit of her hard work. They enjoy the fruits of her labor with single minded enthusiasm. It's EASY to be jolly when someone else is doing all the work.

Hell, even I could be jolly if I had a full household staff to do all the drugework, and then serve me something hot and frothy while I enjoy the twinkling lights and the festively decked halls.

I guess some Moms find it rewarding to be the engineer of carefully constructed Christmas cheer.

I find that it pisses me off.

And I suppose yuletide apathy is my way of rebelling against the onslaught of expectation.

Perhaps it would be easier if there were some snow. All I see here is the dead landscape, bleak and brown. For a gal who grew up in Wisconsin, Christmas south of the Mason Dixon is a little bit...incongruous.

You know what always cheers me up though? Little House on the Prairie. You know, that one where Laura sells Bunny to buy Ma a stove. Pa wants to buy the same stove, but Laura already bought the only one in Mr. Oleson's store? And then Ma and Mary make Pa a shirt out of the same fabric? So Ma pretends that she didn't get anything for Pa. She surreptitiously pushes he package underneath the Christmas tree skirt. And then...and THEN...Pa makes Laura a saddle for the horse she sold to Nellie. And Ma tries to stop her and Charles says, "It's her horse, Caroline. She has the right." and then Caroline says, "But she LOVES that horse!" and then Charles says, "But she loves YOU more."

Sweet weeping Jesus. Now that's what the fuck Christmas is all about.

Not who has the brightest lights or whose Mom makes the most cookies or who got the teacher the most expensive gift.

My kids are older now. They see. I know they do. I know I can't fake or hide it anymore. I don't want them to think that I resent them. Because I don't. I would buy them the world if I could. I just don't want to decorate it or bake it cookies.

Is that so wrong?

I don't know. Maybe I just need to quit worrying and do it my way and just be okay with that. Maybe "enough" is just what I make it. And maybe...maybe I should just accept that Christmas isn't for me. Once, I reaped the benefit of all my mother's work and worry and that was my time.
I find it immeasurably sad that I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have then.


Well, whatever. I am who I am. Christmas at our house is what it is. It will have to be good enough.

Any of you Christmas freaks want to come decorate my house and bake my kids some cookies?

I'll make it worth your while (wink).


  • At 10:45 PM, Blogger Margaret said…

    I so identify with this post. I'm just NOT INTO IT. And those who decorate in Oct. and listen to carols in Sept. make me nuts. In fact, this evening I discussed with my husband whether we REALLY need a Christmas tree; it is so much work for me. (but also for him) Our kids will be here for the holiday, but not here to decorate or help with any of it.

  • At 11:50 AM, Anonymous barb said…

    Let it go. Do what you do. Forget about people who judge how well you do Christmas for heaven's sake!
    I find this season stressful mostly about the present giving for extended family.
    But for decorating, if the kids want it, let them do it! Yes we (the parents) had to buy the tree, but my kids (and yours) are old enough to haul up (or down) the boxes of decorations and put them up.
    I don't bake much during the year. On Christmas eve my kids and I make chocolate chip and cut out cookies from the refrigerated dough. We decorate with colored sugar and sprinkles. That's it and they are happy!
    We try to get to at least one Christmas concert or play during December. But if not, it's OK. This is more than my parents did and I don't remember feeling deprived.
    If you like Little House, spend some time reading the Little House books and see how simple and yet how joyful their Christmases were. We could all learn from them!

  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger Trenches of Mommyhood said…


  • At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Julie said…

    I've had too many deaths in the family during this supposedly joyous season. It's hard to get all woo-hoo when the people you loved most are gone, and all you can do is remember that they left between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every year I try to get in The Spirit, but it never works quite like I hope.

    We have snow. Lots of it. And adult beverages. You're welcome to join us, BA. Here's to next year!

  • At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I loved this post last year and appreciate and understand it even more this year. It's so nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    I'm not able to get to FB from work, so I appreciate your still putting some posts on your blog, even if they are repeats. =-)


  • At 11:58 PM, Anonymous chris said…

    sweet weeping jesus, indeed! girl, i've read you on and off for YEARS! and THIS piece could have come from my brain in one whole piece! you are a blog star! how cool! hope you had fun at amy's, i'm home, but i can't sleep yet. newly, chris

  • At 11:53 PM, Blogger Zak said…

    This is why I appreciate my girl so much - society expects her to do all the work. Women are overworked these days. I know I'm only focusing on a small theme of this article, but this was a great read. I thought I'd get bored, because it's a blog, but you know how to write. I might read more if you keep this shit up.


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