Momfession #15: Bah, humbug!

Santa’s feeling a bit Scrooge-y these days.

I’m not sure why, but I am having a hard time getting excited about playing Santa this year. Last week, my husband and I went Christmas shopping. We paced up and down every aisle, randomly tossing board games and Dora books into our cart. But, although we picked out some great stuff, I just couldn’t get excited, and I started feeling guilty. What kind of terrible mom am I? How can I not be excited about shopping for my kids, and picturing their faces on Christmas morning when they open all of their gifts?

I’ve never been terribly materialistic (although I DO love a good cross-border outlet shopping trip from time to time…or at least I did back in my skinnier days). Now that I have kids, I find that I care even less about stuff than ever before. My kids have so many things, sometimes I feel overwhelmed. There are days that I feel downright disgusted with it all. And it’s not like we are constantly buying things for them either. Except for the tiny souvenirs we bought on vacation last week (one per child, less than $10 each) and some clothes, I can’t remember the last time I bought my kids anything. Instead, it’s the birthday party loot bags, the Halloween gifts from our neighbour, the crappy prizes they won at the fair this summer, the “have a nice vacation” toys from Grandma. I don’t remember having that much stuff when I was a kid. When did every little moment in life become an opportunity to shower our kids with presents?

But today, I realized that I’m not all bah humbug. This evening, as I was driving my almost two-year-old home from daycare, she started shouting “kiss-muss, kiss-muss!!” and pointing excitedly. Following her little outstretched finger I noticed a small snowman hanging from some lights on a storefront. I said, “yes, Kailyn…that’s a snowman and those are Christmas lights.” The rest of the way home, she stared intently out the window, shouting “ooohhh kiss-muss light!” every time we passed a house with decorations. As I watched her chubby face fill with delight in the rearview mirror, I felt something inside me. I started feeling a glimmer of excitement when I thought about cutting down the tree with the kids, decorating our gingerbread house, and having our annual Christmas Eve movie night in our basement. And I realized my problem: I was trying to get excited about the wrong thing. Yes, it is fun to give gifts but for me, that’s not what the holidays are about. It is about the magical glow of a decorated tree in our living room, the smell of Christmas cookies baking on a cold winter’s night, and the time we spend as a family making memories.

So, perhaps I am not a Scrooge after all. I just need to remind myself not to get too caught up in the materialistic side of the holidays and instead, just stop and admire the “kiss-muss” lights.

 

Momfession #14: Google parenting

 

Here are some of my recent Google searches…

“how to deal with the terrible twos”

“toddler only cranky at home”

“toddler won’t eat”

“6-year-old behaviour issues”

“calories in pumpkin seeds”

Yeah, I am a Google parent (and obviously also semi-concerned about what I am eating as I search for parenting advice online). When I was pregnant, I signed up for a group on babycenter.com and shared every ache, craving, and detail of my birth plan with all 200 members of “Natural Birthing Moms December 2009”. I lived miles away from these women and never met any of them face to face, but I took comfort that we were all going through the same thing. After I had my daughter, I sought advice anywhere I could get it…from my family, friends, random moms on the playground, and yes…Google. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a new mom and not be a finger tap away from mommy blogs, the latest research articles, parenting discussion groups, and “100 ways to entertain your seven-month-old”. Yes, some say we live in a world where we are overloaded with too much information. And it is true that I often have to wade through a lot of really ridiculous advice before I get to the good stuff (you would be surprised how many people seriously recommend giving a baby alcohol to make it stop crying/sleep). But I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Google is awake at 3am when I am listening to my daughter cough and wondering if there are any natural remedies that will soothe her. Google quickly finds recipes that allow me to hide vegetables in otherwise kid-friendly food. And Google doesn’t judge me when I search for “saggy breasts after breastfeeding” or “sex drive after childbirth”.

OK so I guess it isn’t all about the kids. Sometimes, I need a little reassurance about myself, too.