Well, it’s Christmastime.
What’s that you say, it’s not even December??
Doesn’t matter. The second you put the turkey roasting pan back on the shelf it was officially “the season” and people started hanging lights and making lists with the frenzy of a baby shark.
What is it about this time of year that made it drag on forever when we were kids and then sprint by at top speed now that I’m an adult? Part of the frenzy is just trying to fit it all in… the gifts, the parties, the holiday cards, the pageants, the partridges AND the pear trees. I end up hitting January feeling like I’ve just run a marathon and only the fact that my thighs have actually increased in size (instead of the opposite) ensure me that this isn’t the case.
As a mother, I feel this intense pressure to make sure this time of year is perfect for my boys. It’s always been my favorite holiday and I want my kids to feel that too. I want them to look back someday wistfully and remember all the great traditions their mom tacked onto this holiday. My concern though, is that sometimes my need to make it special means that I’m probably overindulging them.
It’s something we worry about a lot… my husband and I make more money than our parents did and so we’re able to do things with our kids that we didn’t get to experience when we were their age. Both boys have been on an airplane several times… you know the first time I rode an airplane? When I was 17. They both have passports; I never left the country until I was an adult. They both know how to use an iPhone better than I do. They have better clothes, better shoes, better toys, better EVERYTHING than I had as a child and I’m terrified that they’ll never know how important it is earn any of these things.
I once saw Celine Dion say that there’s a difference between being spoiled and being a spoiled brat. I think she was trying to make excuses for the fact that her 8 year old had Bentley or something, but I agree. My boys might have too many toys but they’re really good kids, really sweet, well-mannered boys and they know I’d sooner throw them out the window of a moving car before I’d let them have a tantrum about getting their way. But it bothers me that my five year old thinks his life is over if we eat at home instead of going out to dinner like he wanted to. My four year old always wants to get a new game on the iPad and mostly, his daddy always let’s him. “It’s only 99 cents” Dave will say. But what’s the difference between 99 Cents and 99 Dollars if you don’t have a concept of either??
About six months ago we started doing chores. It’s a way to make them earn some of those things they’ve been taking for granted. I love that they have to do them just like I did. I also sort of the love that they gripe while they work… just like I did.
I think a lot about taking them to serve at a soup kitchen or something similar to show them how many people will struggle for their dinner today while they complain about having a home cooked meal. But I’m unsure if they’re too young, and whether or not they’d get the point. I want to do something to show them how blessed they are but I’m also nervous that it might confuse or worry them. I mean, you only get so long to really be a little kid and while I know eventually they’ll learn about the harsher parts of life I don’t want to take away the innocence that really only exists when you’re a child.
Does anyone else out there have this problem? How do you handle the holidays and getting too many toys on top of the toys you already have?? How do you teach your toddlers to appreciate how blessed they are?
For once I don’t have any conclusive thoughts on the matter. I’m just putting this out in the universe to see if I’m the only one that feels this way.