I'm beginning to regret posting Wayne Dyer's advice on coping with Christmas yesterday. Mr SM read it, and whenever I get shirty with anyone for totally messing up the kitchen, for example, he mutters under his breath "relax my expectations of others", or "joyful anticipation and wonder".....
I think I may kill him.
This Christmas is already turning out to be completely different.
#1, #2 and #3 are all on holiday. In the old days I would have created a crazy schedule - determined to make sure that we all had a great time. There would be panto one day, skating the next, soft play, trampolining, bowling.
All fuelled by buckets of Sauvignon Blanc (me) and Haribo gummy bears (them), and costing a fortune.
By Christmas we'd be on our knees.
This year I've planned very little. I've been (as Wayne suggests) letting the holidays flow rather than planning ahead.
I have to confess that this isn't down to suddenly having discovered my inner zen. I've been forced into the laissez faire thing by the fact that 3 hours of every day (at least) is taken up by hospital visits (radiotherapy every day, plus check ups).
This requires a rota of friends and Mr SM covering childcare, and means that I've organised little else.
And you know what? Here's a revelation: it really doesn't matter!
It turns out that #1, 2 and 3 are just completely thrilled to be at home and - with the right attitude - anything can be turned into a 'Christmas activity.'
When I got back from hospital yesterday, 6 eyes turned towards me and I was asked "what's the plan for today, Mummy?' (They know that I usually have a plan. Often with several subsections).
I took a deep breath and said (with manufactured enthusiasm) "we're going to the supermarket!" (It was the last day you could pre-order turkeys).
I expected dissent. Anarchy. But no! We all trooped off happily (to Waitrose, obviously. I may be 'going with the flow', but I'm not letting standards slip completely ;-))
Usually I'd avoid taking three children to the supermarket like the plague - far too stressful, and takes way too long, but yesterday we turned it into a game. We did girls v boy races. I'd give each 'team' a list of items and see who could bring them back to the trolley first.
Then I let them use the self check out machine. Yes, it took hours. There were many 'unexpected items in the bagging area'. But it didn't matter. We didn't have anywhere else to get to!
We ordered the turkey. We bought some extra Christmas decorations which we put up when we got home.
I got my chores done and we had fun.
I've realised that, with the right attitude, any activity can be festive and Christmassy. It's all about finding the joy in the everyday. Which reminded me of my post on 7 months sober (click here), and this fabulous motto:
Make the ordinary come alive, and the extraordinary will take care of itself.
Tomorrow's 'Christmas activity': taking the dog to the vet for his annual inoculations! (I'm not sure that he's going to be seeing the 'joy and wonder' in that one - he has been known to bite the vet).
Keep going, friends. We'll get there!