I have been lost in a fog of Christmas stress and attempting to make time to work on some writing. I had this plan that I would get everything done that needed to be done in the weeks running up to Christmas, giving me Christmas Eve to unwind and write. A whole day of writing all to myself, out of the flat, while my Mother-in-Law looked after the boy.
Silly me, I forgot that Christmas doesn’t warn of its impending arrival for 364 days, it bounces out at you from around a corner, screaming in your face. All of this was not helped by the fact that our Christmas actually started on 21 December and dragged its feet along until, well, we have a 3-day break before the last hurdle is complete this weekend.
I knew this would happen, which was why I set myself the rule that come what may, if something wasn’t bought, cleaned, wrapped, packed or washed by 23 December then all be damned, I did not care. So imagine my dismay when I find that on 24 December I wake with a stinking hangover, some manner of annual illness that turned into tonsilitis when I had to ignore it for a week, and my Christmas preparations still to complete.
My parents had been packed off on a cruise from Southampton two days before so that part of Christmas was half-done, it should have been easy and relaxing. Yet, here I found myself stood in an immensely packed Sainsburys in Muswell Hill, loaded down with Prosecco and presents and staring at a toddler I recognised. Now was not the time to bump into someone I know enough for polite conversation but that I did. Then trudge back through the storm home to relieve my soaking bones with more washing and cleaning, drinks at the neighbours, followed by more drinks and bad sleep at home.
It was a lovely Christmas but it just lasted too long. Travel, family, and losing the plot a little about nappy changes. I really struggle to hand over any control of my son to anyone. I have a system and it works, I know where everything is and I never forget anything. I just assume that everyone else will have the system and things will get done. But they don’t and it doesn’t and I take a deep breath, bite my tongue and drink a lot of vodka until it all comes pouring out.
The routine has been put back in place now, the flat is clear of all people save until my folks return from their cruise on Saturday and we start all over again. I was feeling pretty shoddy about wanting my space and time back when, over a curry, I realised that this is how everyone feels. Everyone that isn’t selfish with their and their family’s time.
A part of our marriage course was to respect that both parties have different family experiences, different ways of seeing the world through our upbringings and that we should try respect both ways and maybe come up with new traditions.
Take mine, for instance, we were always at home at Christmas just the single family unit having nice family time. We had a bigger extended family party on Boxing Day – or later and longer when the family became more extended. Christmas Day was just for family. My husband, however, did the rounds of everyone as they all live in the local area, Christmas Day was for visiting and being visited upon.
That part of this season is what makes me so stressed. The best, most cheerful Christmasses I have had are the ones where Christmas Day was spent just with my husband. Although I am not sure if the same goes for him. I do feel bad for wanting special time with my husband and son on Christmas and Birthdays. We have come up with a special medium for the upcoming 2nd birthday. It is a balancing act of being happy with a situation and not offending anyone.
Aside from anything else, this Christmas season has made me realise how grounding I find writing. I tend to vent a lot with writing but I also need to balance that with more positive things.
I don’t normally make New Year resolutions but I have done a few this year:
- I joined a new yoga class starting next Monday. A term all paid for in advance and for that I can only thank the generosity of my grandparents who passed at the start of the year for their thoughtfulness in life.
- Every day I am not working, I will use all available nap time for writing. Not cleaning, washing or tidying but sitting down and writing.
- I will not sit and watch rubbish on TV or check Facebook every 5 minutes on my phone but will instead do something more productive with my evening.
- I will get my family finances in order. We are having a little experiment with that this year. Expect more on frugal living later.
- I am reconnecting with the world-proper. By that I mean searching out and buying more new music and not looking like a luddite because I no longer work in music.
I sometimes have to kick myself for wasted opportunities in the past and will not let that happen again. It is never too late to chase a dream.