Life,  Motherhood,  Parenting

To the Masters of Holiday Ceremony, the Orchestrators of Joy…

You know what is a horrible combination?

Christmas preparations and PMS.

Just ask my husband.

Last night, I completely lost my sh*t when he simply asked me which pan he should use to melt chocolate. Totally out of the blue. It was like I was possessed. In my defense (and it’s really no defense at all), I had just stubbed my toe putting away the millionth item of Ivy’s that had migrated from her playroom.

The real truth of it?

I just didn’t want one more person to need one more thing from me.

I am tapped out.

And the sad thing is that he, my husband, was just simply trying to concoct a new dessert for he and Ivy. Every once in awhile, he gets a hankering to create some (sickeningly) sweet chocolate/cookie/candy combination.  And I ruined his jovial moment by hissing at him like a feral hyena off its meds.

So, I grounded myself. I put myself to bed. At 6:30. It wasn’t long before I could hear his happy whistling and banter with Ivy again, so I sighed with relief that I didn’t totally ruin his night. I don’t think…

(I’m sorry, my love. I’d tell you in person, but you’re still sleeping. And I’m also not sure if you’re speaking to me…)

If I had to summarize November through December each year, it would be very similar to the yodeling mountain man Cliffhanger game on Price is Right.  I’m happily yodeling uphill… yodel-ay, yodel-ay… and then I finally get to the top, exhausted and on edge. I teeter there and then I inevitably snap and crash down the other side of the mountain.

(I totally stole this analogy from my brother, who uses it to describe the social drinking of particular family members… whom shall remain nameless to protect the innocent – and the guilty.) 

So, let’s be very, very, very clear: just because you see prettily decorated pies on my Instagram feed, we are not over here living in a snow globe wonderland of Pinterest photos.

Trust me.

Combine the weeks (months!) of preparing for Christmas – the shopping, the decorating, the shopping, the shopping, the baking, the cooking, the shopping … with my severe PMS (PMDD) and we have the perfect recipe for a meltdown. And it’s not coming from my five year old.

The pressure.

I’ve been thinking about this seasonal pressure a lot lately. It’s no joke. I was talking with Brian yesterday and I asked him, “What is it like to just show up on Christmas?” I wasn’t being mean at all – I swear. We were actually laughing.

But seriously… what is that like?!

To just show up to Christmas, with presents wrapped, food cooked, desserts baked and not a minute spent on the exhausting thought and time that went into all of it.

Every family dynamic and responsibility is different and, with 100% honesty, I can say that my husband goes above and beyond in so many areas that I know many spouses don’t. I am incredibly lucky.

But, what I am saying is this:

People, give your partner a high five, a hug and a lot of gratitude if you’re getting a huge pass over the holidays. I’m serious.

You are not just getting wrapped gifts under the tree and some baked cookies. There is so much more to it.  There is time and effort and real thought involved that you may never realize.

And mamas and/or papas taking on the majority of the work? Give yourself a high five and a hug (and maybe a bottle or two of wine).  I promise you, this is not in vane. You are creating traditions and memories that will last a lifetime for your family. And (aside from the occasional psychotic break because your husband asked for a pan), you usually smile through it all every time  – and feel rewarded with each bit of joy you see on your kids’ faces Christmas morning.

You are a Christmas curating, memory-making, tradition creating, holiday rockstar.

(And I may have needed to hear that just as much as you.)

Take a deep breath and love hard this holiday season – and don’t forget to love yourself along the way.

Merry Christmas and Merry Everything!



  • Colette

    I’m with ya sister! My anxiety is always higher during this time of year. In-law overload, trying to please everyone. etc…
    Good thing it’s only once a year! Cheers, clink!!

    • Jen

      Yes! We put so much thought into it all – my anxiety is at an all-time high this year. Have a fantastic holiday, my sweet friend! CHEERS!!

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