Our Christmas and birthday season is now officially over. After the busyness and beauty of Christmas, most moms get to take a bit of a break as far as their job as the family coordinator of special occasions after they put away the Christmas decorations. But for me, the special occasion planning and execution just keeps on going! Jared's birthday is December 31st, then Ashton's is January 3rd, then the twins' birthday is January 14th. And this year, all four of these birthdays was a big birthday. Jared turned 40 and I wanted to make that extra special. Ashton turned 15 and his birthday was supposed to be sort of low-key with a nice day snowboarding with his dad followed by a simple party with some of his good friends - but he broke his arm while snowboarding and that made the day quite a bit more eventful! And the twins turned 10 which felt like a very big deal to them - double digits and all. Their birthday was on a Wednesday so we celebrated with lots of family stuff and then did their party on Friday evening since weekdays are hard for parties. So their birthday seemed to go on and on. But they were SO excited about it and it all turned out great.
I love all the celebrating. I really do. I love to really make birthdays special and feel like when you've got quite a few sibings, it's extra important to create a real "king (or queen) of the day" type of experience for the birthday person. They have to wait their turn and be patient and eat whatever is served every other day of the year so it's great just one day of the year to pretty much have everything be just the way THEY want it. But that adds up to a LOT of work for me and can feel sort of overwhelming when it comes right after all my big efforts to make Christmas special. I just wish it could all be spread out a bit more! (For a year or two, we tried celebrating 1/2 birthdays for Jared and Ashton since their birthdays are at such a tricky time, but it just didn't work out that way - we ended up needing to celebrate TWICE since they still needed something on their actual birthday...)
This year, right when we got doing with the twins' birthday celebrations, we went into a 4-day weekend which was great but which meant I had to put off some of my holiday/birthday catch-up even further. And then this weekend, we're off to a wedding for a nephew and that'll be another long weekend which I'm really excited about but which will put off catch-up even further.
But you know what? That's just how it is. I've contempted and tried doing things different ways but ultimately, it feels like the right thing to keep making these birthdays really special and to not work very much when the kids are out of school and I want to enjoy extra time with them and to go to this family wedding and enjoy a little family get-away as part of that. I accept the busyness and the overwhelmed moments as part of the life and priorities I have chosen.
I've got lots of blog posts to do to catch up (I really love writing out all my favorite things about each child on this blog for their birthday - makes a great motherhood journal and perhaps one day I'll gather all their birthday posts together into a special book for them - given that I don't scrapbook beyond some half-hearted baby books, I'm thinking this will be a great thing to give them when they head off to college one day).
I've got some exciting new projects for Power of Moms that I've been moving forward every chance I get.
I've got a house that needs to be cleaned and kids that need to be fed and laundry that never stops.
But rather than doing what I've done in the past - pushing my catch-up into afternoons when the kids could use help with homework and support from me on their chores or into time for quality tuck-in's or into the few evenings that Jared and I could spend together - I'm just going to do what I can do during the hours I can reasonably spend while the kids are at school or while we're driving to this wedding this weekend.
I need to be done with holding myself to a way higher standard of productivity than I would ever expect of anyone else and cut myself more slack. I need to spend more time prioritizing and praying about what is most important to do and saying "no" more often - rather than just rolling up my sleves and working super hard on whatever I've committed to (which is usually way too much). I need to commit to less deadline-driven work. I need to prioritize enjoying over getting things done more often. And I need to figure out how to feel less guilty about the "no's" I have to say to put relationships and enjoyment before accomplishment and productivity.
I certainly don't have all the answers. But I know some of what I need to work on. I accept that life will never be particularly simple for me. I've chosen paths that are essentially complicated and busy. I can stay on the paths that feel right to me without driving myself forward at a break-neck pace anymore. I can put more focus on the paths that matter the most to me (the motherhood and wifehood paths) while still moving foward on the other paths ata slower pace.
So there are my thoughts for today.