It happens every year without fail. The build up to Christmas is so intense, yet prolonged. It feels like it’s never going to get here, like you’ll never be organised and ready to go. You can’t wait for the family to be off work/school, so you can all be together and have family time. Presents bought for everyone, wrapped and under the tree, plus a few extras in case Jacinta from down the road pops in with something for you and you’re caught unawares!
You’ve got enough bread bought to last through two nuclear winters and lots of little weird things you don’t normally buy like cranberry sauce and hot English mustard just in case that’s the one thing a guest wants to eat. You’ve got booze, Christmas puddings, vegetables, crisps and meats all stocked to the rafters.
Then finally it’s Christmas Day. At last, you’ve made it to THE day. You can relax and enjoy it right?
Wrong. It’s a whirlwind of perennial mayhem. Visiting relatives, presents, thank yous, eating, drinking, being merry, dodgy Christmas crackers, bad jumpers, kids playing, kids fighting over toys, kids being made to perform their party piece…
And ahem, while I wince and watch little Johnny sing the 12 days of Christmas and pray for it to end, I can’t pretend I didn’t do this as a kid too… yes… I was about six and on Christmas morning I posed proudly in front of my family, my Christmas nightie down to my ankles, unkempt hair to my waist, looking like a mini Janis Joplin or Stevie Nicks as I stood up in the front room with my new microphone on a stand and guitar around my neck that Santa had brought and belted out -
The heart is a pump and it’s gona stop and you’re gona die! to my room full of bemused and terrified relatives, who probably needed to hit the champs early that morning after my er ‘performance.’
Yeah… Stevie Nicks I was not… Where I got the song lyrics I don’t know… it was sort of my Phoebe/Smelly Cat moment. (And yes that is me mid flow in the pic above!)
The point is, for all its madness, I still love Christmas. It’s a bonkers day, there’ll be laughs, and tears and maybe even the odd row. But for all its faults and for all the effort that goes into it, I still love it… And maybe even more so now I’m a mum.
But what I’m starting to not love is the weird limbo of time between Christmas and New Year. As the amazingly witty Hurrah for Gin describes it, ‘you’re confused, full of cheese and unsure of the day of the week.’
Yes, it’s like limbo. Now before I was a mum, that sort of limbo was damn right fucking awesome. Sleeping til stupid o’clock, going for long brunches, battling the sales, eating a cheese board for breakfast and maybe even pouring Baileys on your cereal while watching Christmas movies all day.
In short you had no commitments, so you didn’t care that you had no bloody clue what day of the week it was.
Flash forward to motherhood and it’s a whole new ball game.
You still may not know what day of the week it is, but that doesn’t stop your kid waking up at the same time every day. There’s no lazy lie-ins, no rests. Dinners still have to be made, the washing still needs to be done and even after you treat yourselves to a few PJ days and trips out to overcrowded shopping centres or parks, you start to find yourself very secretly praying for normality to come back.
Your well-worn routine you love to hate is now out the window. Kids are cranky, full of smarties and have probably broken half their Santa toys. Your other half is getting under your feet as you try and keep a semblance of normality going, to no avail as you gobble yet more cheese and have that large glass of wine you know you’ll regret… and then you say it to yourself… I cannot wait for things to go back to normal… and yet I can guarantee a week into the dirge of January, I’ll be wishing I was back in the post-Christmas pre-new year Limbo.