Let’s get right to the point: my two younger boys are completely spazzing out this holiday season. Of course, right now as I type this, they are quietly upstairs playing a video game with the LOML so I wonder if I’m just imagining things. But I’m not. I know I’m not. My boys are wild lately.
Here’s where the guilt comes in: how much am I responsible for their behavior? How much is what I bring to the table and how much is the hype and excitement of the season? I know children mirror our behavior. I know when we are stressed out, it stresses our children out. I know, I know. But I can’t help but be stressed. I just finished hosting our colossal Calandro Crazy Christmas party that was attended by 165 guests. (That’s why it’s called crazy!) We have done this party for 12 years now. The history of this party is for another post. This post is about guilt. And why I’m covered with it.
For years I have said guilt is a useless emotion. What good comes from feeling this way? Guilt can cause you to do things you didn’t want to do. It can make you change your behavior, but I think guilt makes these things happen for the wrong reasons. Other emotions like love and empathy can motivate us and change us and not leave this sticky emotional residue in their wake.
Just the word makes me want to take a shower.
So here I am this Saturday morning reflecting on the past week of screaming matches, being ignored by my children, and consequences being laid down. M2 calls consequences “making stuff up”. Like I make up that he can’t have friends over because he is out of control when they come to play. Obviously, the consequences system is not working really well for him. What am I supposed to do? The party happened. I can’t make it go away. I can’t change that I feel I need to give my childrens’ teachers -all six of them- gifts of appreciation for the holiday season. I can’t change the desire I have to attend all three of their holiday performances at three different times at two different schools. I have obligated myself to help with a teacher luncheon on Tuesday. That was a weak moment of saying yes to something in October and forgetting what December is like. I’m hosting Christmas for my family who are coming in from out of town. I’m buying and wrapping gifts for all of them. Plus there’s the everyday things that still need to get done. Laundry, my heck, the LAUNDRY! I’m just stressed. And feeling guilty about it because my kids are affected.
Now for the bonus: the guilt brings more guilt for feeling the guilt. I know!! My logical self knows this is utter crazy making! But try to tell that to my emotional self that is running around the room screaming. She just won’t listen. And keep in mind, this is all happening on the inside. This is absolutely nuts. And that doesn’t help either. Feeling like I’m nuts? Yep, that REALLY helps with the whole guilt thing. So we’ve got a crazy, stressed out, guilt-laden mother trying to keep it together while her children bounce off the walls because the big man with the bag is coming down the chimney in less than two weeks. (LESS THAN TWO WEEKS! WHY AM I TAKING THE TIME TO WRITE THIS WHEN I HAVE SO MANY OTHER THINGS TO DO??!?!?!)
I’m taking the time because it feels great to get this off my chest. The more I talk about what I’m feeling the more agreement I get from other moms out there. Then I don’t feel like going back to bed and staying there for a month. You feeling this way, too? I’m right there with you. Guilt; stress; holiday season. Thank goodness this only happens once a year. It’s just the right amount of time for me to forget all the bad and remember the good so I can face it for another year. Hopefully, the years between childhood and adulthood will be enough time for my children to filter out the stress and be left with the love and joy of the season as well.
My emotional and logical self, together, wish you a wonderful, stress-free (HA!) holiday season!