Tick-tock

Ugh. 4:30 and both the sky and my mood have grown dark.

Autumn got short-changed this year. I took my tree photos and tried to enjoy each crisp and colorful day, but a recent cold snap and the end of daylight savings seems to have accelerated winter’s arrival and once again I feel like I am being steamrolled by time.

Thanksgiving, which used to be my favorite holiday, is around the corner and instead of being excited, I want to stick my head in the nearest hole in the ground. And it seems half the world wants to just skip Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas; decorations and music and TV specials and catalogs full of toys are everywhere. This means that my boys will soon be amping up daily in anticipation of Santa’s arrival and that I will need to stock up on wine. Or Xanax. Or both.

I’m no Grinch, but frankly this is how I’ve been starting to feel:

grumpy cat

There are only 7 weeks left in the year. 46 days. 22 workdays to complete two major projects–and with the holidays and people’s vacation and the general speed at which things get done at the end of the year, let’s just say that will be a challenge. I also need to find time in those 46 days to decorate, bake, get presents, send cards; all while keeping up with the boys’ many activities and schoolwork and attempting to enjoy myself.

Ho ho ho.

I know I can’t be the only mom who feels completely overwhelmed by it all and yet I also know that in a couple of weeks my Facebook feed is going to be flooded with Elf on the Shelf pictures and cookie recipes and people who are “feeling blessed” and decking the halls and I am going to wonder how everyone else seems to be reveling in holiday spirit when I am bursting into tears if I hear Auld Lang Syne or Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas on the radio.

Part of my problem is my feeling that I need to do even more at this time of year to make up for the boys not having two parents.  I wonder if I will ever get over that. I wonder if I will ever be able to give up on my own dream of having someone to share all the preparations with, someone to help us decorate, someone to dance with in front of the tree, someone who will stay up with me on Christmas Eve and eat Santa’s cookies and survey the scene created out of love.

But trying to do more isn’t going to help matters. I need to be doing less, so that I can be a happier mom. Happier mom = happier boys.

Time is my nemesis. One I have to face unarmed, except for my sheer desire to slow everything down and make our moments count. I don’t have any great plan on how to accomplish this although I think it will have something to do with scaling back on expectations. Deciding on what (and who) is really important and only focusing attention on those things; hint: it is not the elf on the shelf.

I can’t change the weather or the fallen leaves or the number of tasks I have to complete at work, but I can wake up earlier and enjoy each daylight moment. I can set a schedule for the next few weeks and stick to it. And when the time comes, I can focus on the true meaning of Christmas and make sure that everything we are doing in preparation is done with love.

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