real life

"I'm here crawling to the very end of Christmas Day, while everyone else is just dandy."

I am staggering to the finish line that is Christmas Day. Wait, staggering is a bit generous. I think I’m crawling.

I am utterly, completely, bone-numbingly exhausted from this season of festive joy. That’s because somehow I’m responsible for making sure everyone else is experiencing the festive joy.

I don’t think I can handle any more kids’ Christmas parties. I’ve been told to “bring a plate” so many times that I’m now just taking it to mean “bring a paper plate and a box of Cheezels”. Who are these people who bake home-made sausage rolls, or prepare individual desserts of Freddo Frogs set in green jelly? How do they find the time?

I can’t choose another present. So much time and effort went into getting the right toys for my kids (starting early so I could order Slugterra toys from overseas online, finishing late when my son decided his new obsession was Plants vs. Zombies) that I have no mental energy for other people’s gifts. I’ve got to the point where I’m buying candles. Candles. The gift equivalent of throwing your hands in the air in defeat. Candles basically say, “Hey, you’re female and I feel compelled by social convention to buy you a present.”

I feel a bit shaky about the idea of going to my local Westfield for the last few things I’ve forgotten. I don’t know if I can withstand the sweaty crush of humanity – not to mention the despair in other parents’ eyes as they see the empty Hatchimals shelf. The queues at ToysRUs are something like the queues for bread in Soviet-era Russia.

I’m worried if I try to leave the car park on Christmas Eve, I’ll still be stuck there on New Year’s Day. I saw one mum post online that Kmart is not too crowded at 6am on a weekday at the moment.

Maybe I should give that a try.

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I need a break from school. After nearly 11 months of that mad morning rush (“Can you please put on your shoes? Put on your shoes, please. Put on your shoes. PUT ON YOUR SHOES!”), I’m looking forward to some slower mornings. But the last couple of weeks of the school year have been particularly intense.

On Monday I went to two separate end-of-year assemblies – one for the younger kids, one for the older kids – which meant I sat through the same principal’s speech twice. I deserved a trophy for that, but I didn’t get one. Then there’s the bag loads of exercise books and artwork that my kids have been bringing home for the past few days. Keep it all, and live amongst piles of clutter, or heartlessly throw out their entire year’s work? Too hard to make a decision right now.

I am frazzled from trying to organise a relaxing holiday. I need to plan clothes and activities for freezing weather and boiling weather because it will be one or the other. I know I will forget something crucial (the inflatable flamingo, the phone charger, the tweezers for getting out splinters), and then it will be all my fault.

Oh, and work? Yeah, yeah, end-of-year deadlines, but it just feels like an intrusion on everything else I have to get done right now.

When you’re a kid, it’s all about how many sleeps till Christmas. Now it’s the sleeps I look forward to more than the Christmas.

I don’t mean to sound Grinchy. I love Christmas and holidays and spending more time with the kids. It’s just getting to Christmas Day that’s exhausting.

Crawling. Crawling. Not… too… far… to… go.

LISTEN: You can hear all about how Meghan Markle is presumably also crawling towards Christmas on the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud... 

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