Alex Molton has a little moan about contracting the latest round of pre-Christmas germs and wonders whether December needs to be quite so crazy.
Having not had a proper cold for about three years, this week I have been floored by the latest round of lurgy doing the rounds at the kids’ school.
Feeling a bit iffy last week I should have packed myself off to bed for a rest. Instead I battled on and by Saturday was barely able to leave the sofa, missing our town Christmas light switch on, a craft fair I’d hoped to attend and a carol service I quite fancied to get myself in the festive mood. Bah. Humbug. Grumble.
Thankfully, I now seem to be over the worst, but with the mania involved in the pre-Christmas period it’s no wonder I fell over. Why on Earth are we trying to fit so much into one month? It’s not even just Christmas events, but work has been manic too, although I can’t see why most of it couldn’t wait until January, to be honest.
It does seem to be a season that is particularly punishing to mums, with most of those I know in charge of buying the presents, inviting the right people for the big day, organising social events and activities, and remembering the enormous and varied list of school events and special days for the children (mine are in two schools, so occasionally I mix up what is happening at each school – or like on the first day of term in September, their actual term dates).
On the other hand, I’ve had quite a few funny conversations with dads in the last few weeks – ‘I didn’t realise child X was doing a show and I had to go’; ‘I think we are getting them Lego for Christmas, but to be honest I’m not sure’. It does seem that they are experiencing quite a different December. I can’t help but wonder why we are putting ourselves under so much pressure to get through a giant to-do list in only a few weeks. And having had a few days out over the last week it’s made me less enthusiastic about jumping back on the hamster wheel, to be honest.
Particularly pertinent is that even when us mums are not well we still manage to get through quite a lot of life admin; lying on the sofa feeling like I’d been hit by a train over the weekend I still managed to hunt down some cool presents from the kids, check out the possibility of WSL football tickets for our daughter and organise a flower delivery for MiL’s big birthday. And I know I’m not the only one – friends recently have been working in bed whilst feeling poorly, or dragging themselves to social events, feeling like they can’t let illness interrupt their plans. Why do we find it so hard to just accept defeat, retreat to bed and just do nothing for a few days? It’s as though we expect the world will stop if we aren’t keeping everyone going and meeting all of our obligations. But we are only human after all.
Maybe we are all just thinking we need to whizz through the next few weeks to enjoy a few days of relative calm (hopefully) and a bit of rest and relaxation before the start of another new year. However, most mums I know are also likely to be stuck in the kitchen most of Christmas Day itself, basting, stirring, steaming and flambeing (big shout out to OH here to be fair – I am banned from the kitchen whilst the magic happens, then called in later for cleaning duties. Plus he always makes me an amazing vegan alternative to the turkey.)
Only two more weeks of crazy until we can all stay in our jammies, eat chocolate for breakfast (and every meal, if son #2 can get away with it) and open the fizz at 11am. Wishing you all a wonderfully jolly, silly, indulgent festive time. Be sure to take some time for yourself to restore, refresh and rejuvenate, ready for the madness of 2024; we have worked hard in 2023 and we totally deserve it.