It does not add up, my mother used to say. Or she would mutter, it’s just not logical. We knew then, that if we could not convince her of the logic necessity of having to go there or having to do that it would not happen. Me, on the other hand was slow on understanding the true meaning of those sentiments. I kept believing that the hours were longer and the time management magic was stronger around Christmastime. It had to, if not somebody would be disappointed.
There is almost no limit to what I would do if someone need ME to do it. What I learned was not to accept all the unaddressed questions and invitations fluttering like snowflakes in the advent air. Leaving work, church, family and friends out of the equity does not help. One year I realized that with four children and their activities we were supposed to bring coffee, cookies and ourselves to 24 different “oh how fun” activities. It just does not add up. Even with Christmas magic. The advent afternoons I wanted, with peace, creativity, family and friends were far between.
When Christmas finally came I had time to think. The root of this problem was not connected to Christmas, but first to not thinking and planning as a family through the year. Second we were running in every direction, not in the one direction each of us and us together needed.
The solution when something does not add up, is easy. Either I do not know how to add, or a I am adding something which cannot be added. The solution is easier to understand than to do, and has two simple steps.
To quit and to take charge.
Our children were allowed to continue with every activity they really wanted. We just listened more closely to what they were trying to tell us when they were not motivated, when they were tired. Then we stopped pushing. We still supported, drove, baked, applauded and paid, wherever there was a spark of joy to nourish, nowhere else. It turned out many of their activities had just happened, friends were doing it, they thought they would love it and so on.
2. Take charge
Instead of being irritated on somebody else’s schedules I volunteered and got to make the ones that suited me. I have been the parents representative at the school board and joined the PTA. Most of all I have tried to think of what I would have loved to do together with the children, and then we did it. We did not wait to see if there was free time in between what everybody else wanted us to do. Instead we invited others to share what we did.
Of course it is not like this anymore. We have not been rushing out after dinner with tired kid, coffee thermos and gingerbread for years now. Which does not add up either, one should get together. It is just the question of knowing why and having a say at the when and contributing to the how.
Believe me, I know better than most how frantic and exhausting it is possible to make the season of peace and goodwill. The main story on Indexyourlife in December will be my way to a Christmas free of tangles.
In December my brother and I write an advent calendar blog together in norwegian.You may visit at JULEFRYD or Christmas Joy. This year we will be writing or sharing thoughts and joys of gifts, giving and sharing. We will post there every day, and I will share some of that blog here on indexyourlife too.
All pictures at Indexyourlife are mine, if not otherwise stated.