Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Confessions Of A Maternal Humbug

(Reposted from almost the exact same time last year)

This season defeats me.

My mother never liked Christmas, though she made a valiant effort to hide that fact. She decorated the house and she made a dazzling array of cakes and candy. But her heart wasn't in it. When I was a young child, I didn't and couldn't realize that of course. But as I got older, I knew. It wasn't something that was articulated or even fully cemented in my childish mind. It was just an awareness that something was amiss. But I didn't give it enough thought to ruin my enjoyment of the season. Kids are just wired that way.

But I understand now.

Like my mother, I just don't embrace Christmas with the same enthusiasm that others do.

Maybe because I see it as just one more glaring example of how I fall short of the ideal when it comes to being a model parent. I don't bake cookies. I don't make candy. I don't do cutesy crafts. I decorate, grudgingly, but I put it off until my kids are afraid Christmas will pass us by altogether.

Why? I really don't know, but I think it's resentment.

Resentment that all of this is on my head. More work, more worry, more stress...all piled on me. Nobody blames the Dad if there aren't Christmas cookies. Nobody blames the Dad if Christmas cards are late. Nobody blames the Dads if the children don't have matching outfits for the family portrait. Nobody blames the Dad if the teachers' gifts are lame, or the class party is a flop.

Nobody blames the Dad for anything.

I'm supposed to make all this happen. I'm supposed to make wonderful and cherished Christmas memories for my children. I alone am responsible for the miracles wrought and Joy to the World and Good freaking Will Toward Men.

It's been this way for like...always, I realize now. The women make it happen and everyone else reaps the benefit of their hard work. The families enjoy the fruits of Mom's labor with single minded enthusiasm. It's EASY to be jolly when someone else is doing all the work.

Hell, even I could be jolly if I had a full household staff to do all the drugework, and then serve me something hot and frothy while I enjoy the twinkling lights and the festively decked halls.

I guess some Moms find it rewarding to be the engineer of carefully constructed Christmas cheer.

I find that it pisses me off.

And I suppose yuletide apathy is my way of rebelling against the onslaught of expectation.

Perhaps it would be easier if there were some snow. All I see here is the dead landscape, bleak and brown. For a gal who grew up in Wisconsin, Christmas south of the Mason Dixon is a little bit...incongruous.

You know what always cheers me up though? Little House on the Prairie. You know, that one where Laura sells Bunny to buy Ma a stove. Pa wants to buy the same stove, but Laura already bought the only one in Mr. Oleson's store? And then Ma and Mary make Pa a shirt out of the same fabric? So Ma pretends that she didn't get anything for Pa. She surreptitiously pushes the package beneath the Christmas tree skirt. And then...and THEN...Pa gives Laura a saddle that he made for Bunny not knowing that Laura sold Bunny to Nellie Oleson. When Nellie comes to get Bunny, Ma tries to stop Laura and Charles says, "It's her horse, Caroline. She has the right." and then Caroline says, "But she LOVES that horse!" and then Charles says, "But she loves YOU more."

Sweet weeping Jesus. Now that's what the hell Christmas is all about.

Not who has the brightest lights or whose Mom makes the most cookies or who got the teacher the most expensive gift or who got the most brand name crap.

My kids are older now. They see. I know they do. I know I can't fake or hide it anymore. I don't want them to think that I resent them. Because I don't. I would buy them the world if I could. I just don't want to decorate it or bake it cookies.

Is that so wrong?

I don't know. Maybe I just need to quit worrying and do it my way and just be okay with that. Maybe "enough" is just what I make it. And maybe...maybe I should just accept that Christmas isn't for me. Once, I reaped the benefit of all my mother's work and worry and that was my time.

I find it immeasurably sad that I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have then.


Well, whatever. I am who I am. Christmas at our house is what it is. It will have to be good enough.

Any of you Christmas freaks want to come decorate my house and bake my kids some cookies?

I'll make it worth your while (wink).


  • At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Apryl's Antics said…

    I loved this last year and still do. No tree here, yet, but it will be tonight and we will decorate it and there will be eggnog (a vice of mine 3 months out of the year).

    My MIL sent the outfits and I tried like hell to get a picture of the kids wearing them, so I could do a holiday card this year. Alas, the kids wouldn't stand still, the pictures were a wash, and I'm on the loser list again. Perhaps I will do a New Year card instead.....LOL.

  • At 12:11 PM, Blogger Margaret said…

    I'm not much of a Christmas fanatic because it is a lot of work and so incredibly commercialized. I do cookies and decorate a bit, but would be fine doing none of it. Especially this year--I'm really not in the mood with my husband's cancer diagnosis.

  • At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Julie said…

    The lights are on the house. Mostly. It got too cold to do the rest of the bushes because idiot me forgot that the rabbits ate the lights last year in their desperate efforts to eat the bark off the bushes. Also, the lights are on the tree. But nothing else. It's pretty. I'd love to leave it like that, but my five-year-old son asks at least eleventy million times a day, "When are we going to finish the tree, MOOOOOOM?" Sigh.

  • At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My Goodness!
    Certainly a heartfelt dissertation I must say. Now, if you will allow me, let’s look at this subject from a different vantage point.
    The alarm sounds loudly at 5:15am with its merciless ‘grinding alarm’. I reach over, to quickly extinguish the dreadful noise. I hope my wife wasn’t disturbed by the awful sound. I’m certain she heard it, but she knows she is free to sleep another 45minutes or an hour. For that I am grateful. I stumble into the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot (I know I could set the automatic timer but from time to time that timer lets me down.) As the pot quickly starts to gurgle I know that my first cup is well on the way. I make my way to the bathroom and quietly close the door behind me so as not to disturb my sleeping family. I grab my toothbrush to begin cleaning up for the morning (Brushing my teeth is second ONLY to insuring that the coffee pot is working properly). For a fresh clean mouth, I am MOST grateful. The only thing that could top the morning so far is a nice HOT shower. I remember my military days when, due to building placement, (At the end of the hot water line.) a hot shower was something dozens of us would gladly receive a wake-up call at 2:00am to receive. I promised myself then and there that I would ALWAYS, if it were within my power, have access to a hot shower whenever I wanted one. Aaaa… For this hot shower I am REALLY grateful! After showering and adding the necessary additions that one requires following ‘Cleanup’, I select which cloths & shoes I’d like to wear today. Will I choose a work uniform or business casual today? I might even choose to go to the office dressed a little ‘Spiffy’, just to make myself feel a little better. For the clean-up amenities and the selection of cloths I get to choose from, I am grateful. Now that I’m dressed, I turn off the light and grab my trusty iPhone and activate my handy “Coleman Lantern” app which acts like a flashlight, that will guide me into my wife’s side so that I may give her a kiss, before starting my day. Hopefully I don’t disturb her slumber yet again. If I don’t, I always feel better. I’d love to be there “sleeping in”, but I’d much rather she was able to catch a few more ‘winks’ than I. For my iPhone flashlight, as well as my wife’s peaceful sleep, I am grateful.
    As I quietly exit our home and hop into my (At this point rather ‘Hi Mileage’) truck. Its cold, but “Old Faithful” starts up “like a Brand New One” and I know that before long it’ll be nice & warm inside. For that, I am grateful. A few short miles down the road and I’ll pick up my first carpool buddy, Don. He & I work in the same office and are different in many ways but we enjoy each other’s company in the morning. A few more miles and we’ll pick up our other rider Carol. Always “Seemingly Grumpy” but with a genuine heart of gold. We ride into the office laughing & talking while saving quite a bit of money in gas. For my reliable vehicle & my riding friends, I am truly grateful.
    Once at work, I walk straight to the coffee pot to make sure there’s “more on the way”, but I see one of my co-workers (Probably Ken) has beat me to the punch. It’s nice and warm in the office and I shed my winter coat. I remember the 25 years that I remained outside most of the day working on phone lines, crawling under houses and climbing poles in the Winter and, during the Summer, up in hot attics.
    For my comfortable office job & pleasant co-workers, I am grateful.

  • At 6:30 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Anonymous...that's truly commendable. But who signed, addressed and posted your Christmas cards this year? Who decked the halls, made Santa a reality, fought crowds at the mall, searched high and low for that one gift that can't be done without? Who agonized over whether to give the teachers candles or gift cards this year? Who dropped countless balls of dough onto cookie sheet after cookie sheet? And who, I wonder did this ON TOP of their already numerous and endless daily chores? Was it you? If not, then I'm afraid your point eludes me.

  • At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think his point was simply that he's grateful for his family, the friends he has, and how fortunate he is to be able to provide for his family. Without knowing his situation, I'm reluctant to point out that maybe, just maybe, it was his contributions that allowed for the Christmas cards, decking of halls, special gifts, teachers trinkets, balls of dough and all the other material things that make the season bright. No one seems to thank the Dad for these things, because it's the Mom who pulls it all together -- rightfully so.

  • At 9:00 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Oh believe me...I'm as grateful for a paycheck as the next person. My husband lost his job twice within the same year. I am enormously grateful for his job and the fact that our kids can actually have a Christmas this year. But it seems like my friend anonymous is implying that because he is gainfully employed, he is exempt from carrying any of the yuletide burden. And his wife should be thankful for his cash contribution and willingly work her singular magic with great humility and gratitude. I wonder how any working Moms concur with that. I could be wrong of course. As I said, his point, if there is one, is lost on me, and I'm simply guessing.


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