The holiday season is a marathon for us moms. Starting with the Thanksgiving turkey and ending with a champagne toast, we can’t seem to catch a break. This year came fast and furious for me due to the ever-shifting Jewish calendar that landed Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, only 7 days after Thanksgiving. That means I had to work at a rapid pace to purchase and wrap 8 gifts for each of my 3 kids (that’s 24 gifts if you are doing the math!) and any additional gifts for my husband, parents, and other extended family so they would be ready in time. And of course, the holiday isn’t just about gift giving – it wouldn’t be Hanukkah without also decorating our home, planning festive meals, and special activities to mark the event.
To make December even more spectacular, only a few short days after Hanukkah, my wonderful, and increasingly independent twins turned 5. That’s means a double birthday with double the cake, double the presents and of course dual celebrations – a birthday party with friends the Saturday before their birthday and an at-home celebration on the big day. All of these incredible events were before school even let out for winter break!
Then the bell finally rang, and the kids were officially off from school – for 14 incredible days (but who’s counting)! The next several days were spent at home making arts & crafts, playing board games, cleaning up messes, and making mac & cheese. A few days in, I decided I needed something to look forward to so I booked myself a relaxing massage for January 2nd. I thought of this as a special holiday gift to myself for making the holidays so magical for everyone else. While my oldest son would already be back to school by January 2nd, my 5-year-old twins would still have one more day before preschool started again. I figured what’s the harm in sneaking out for a little ME time and booked a sitter to watch the twins.
Fast forward thru Christmas, which we casually celebrate with my stepfamily, and New Years, which we hosted at my house, and I was counting down the minutes until that massage! That is, until the morning of January 2nd finally arrived. I woke up with the same nagging mom guilt that plagued me last year, and the year before … and really anytime I’ve put myself first. Why didn’t I choose to spend the last few hours of my twin’s winter break playing with Baby Alive or Scrabble Junior? Shouldn’t I be taking them to the Magic House or Myseum or somewhere special?
I wished that I could turn off the mom guilt that panged me in this moment. After wallowing in the guilt for a bit and debating canceling my spa day, I suddenly remembered the iconic speech America Ferrera gave in the Barbie movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed streaming over Winter Break. “It’s literally impossible to be a woman … you have to be extraordinary … you can’t be selfish … you always have to think of others … but never get a medal or a trophy and everything is your fault.” If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I highly recommend it and at the very least – watch this clip!
America was so right. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE A WOMAN! We as mothers, in particular, need to give ourselves more credit and remember how much we constantly put the needs of our kids first. Thank you, America, for reminding me that my needs are important too and I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking the ME time that I need every once in a while. I can’t promise the feeling of mom guilt won’t creep back in on a future occasion, but I’m more prepared now – I’ve saved America’s speech in my YouTube favorites so I can play it back on-demand and without fumbling. The ideal woman IS attainable – it’s YOU!
If you want to read more of Natalie’s articles, read her blog at fitnessfoodiestl.com and follow her @fitnessfoodiestl