Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mrs F Questions Her Quest For Holiday Perfection

I'm hurtin' this morning. Baby just put me through night 3 of HELL. She's been waking up no less than 8 times a night and has left me in such a state of sleep deprivation that I'd be tempted to shoot myself in the head to make the general achiness and head fogginess disappear. Fortunately I'm not sure I'd have the energy to pull the trigger.

On top of all that this week has put me through the ringer trying to pull everything together for Kid's birthday and Halloween. Disappointingly my quest for holiday perfection has not waned in the past years. I'm still in need of some serious work on that front and really hope I can pull Christmas together in a more enjoyable and less stressful way. Thankfully Christmas doesn't involve icing a birthday cake... which with the "tornado" running around the kitchen and poking her little fingers into it... was more than a little challenging.

The whole week has really brought to light my issues. I make myself crazy with this stuff... and cannot let up no matter the personal sacrifice. Everything must be *perfect*. I need the house to be completely clean and organized for the big day (whatever that is). I need to make the day stand out and so I have to have special decorations. I make our cakes and decorate them... and NO it isn't fun to do that... it is fucking stressful to make a *perfect* cake. It is especially stressful with Baby underfoot (and pushing stools up to the counter where she can poke it and grab my legs while I'm icing it making it impossible for me to make a straight line! And no I couldn't do it while she napped...because that little maniac doesn't sleep. And I couldn't do it the night before because.... that's right... she took a 45 minute nap yesterday and that apparently was enough to recharge her until 11 PM!

It's enough to make me wish I had never learned how to decorate cakes. If I didn't know better I could just ice it up and present it with candles. Or do what millions of other people do and buy one for crying out loud. But now I feel like I owe my family a cake and at this point Kid expects it. It takes nearly 2 hours just to ice the cake... so after participating in Kid's school morning, then hitting the balloon store across town, it was already after 11. Then I had to make the icing and prep the cake. Then ice it. Then clean up all the cake mess, decorate the house, and clean up all the shit Baby had occupied herself with while I tried to ignore her. It was a NIGHTMARE. I never sat down. I never ate. For real. Why do I do this to myself?!!

The only upside is that I did get it all done. When Kid came home from school everything was perfect. Her pile of presents were waiting. The dining room and her bedroom were adorned with streamers (turns out you can throw those babies up in less than 5 minutes if you are really fast). The house was clean and her cake was waiting for her. She was pleased. And did feel that is was all done for her... and it made her feel special. It really did.

So how can I do all that and make her feel that way (which is the goal... and thankfully she was oblivious to the living Hell it was for me) and still enjoy myself? There isn't a thing (minus the cake... and even that wouldn't be so bad if I had time) that I'd want to take out of the picture. I still want a perfectly clean house. Is it just me or does everyone feel that way? ( I almost feel like I won't be able to enjoy the celebration if I don't have a clean slate.) I still want there to be some special decorations to honor the day and make the birthday kid feel loved and honored. So what can I change? Sure I could benefit from better time management... although with the wild one at my heels it really is next to impossible... I can only hope she's a little less crazy next year (wishful thinking I know). I could also use a more helpful spouse. Or do I just need an attitude adjustment?

Do you all feel this way?


Anonymous said...

I cannot offer you a solution only tell you that I am with you. I usually end up with some random pile somewhere in a bag or closet that will have to be sorted later and my bedroom becomes the dumping ground for anything that I run out of time to do. I would say to let yourself up over the cake. I used to handpaint something for every birthday and I finally realized that if it is stressing momma out the whole time leading up to whatever better for my kids to see a mom that is enjoying herself than the crazy I usually become before holidays and company. As far as sleep goes. Hang in there. I promise you that she keep you up just feels that way. Wish I lived close enough to come get her for you so you could do stuff...

Staci said...


That was like reading my own birthday perfection quest!

I do all of that too!


Julie said...

It will be this way until Baby is in preschool. I promise you that you will feel less stressed putting the whole thing together when Baby is away from you even just for a couple of hours 2 times a week. It will still be stressful as you kill yourself in those hours trying to get it all done. But at least you won't have a child underfoot who will sense your stress and make it worse.

It is totally worth it for Kid. Totally worth it. It sucks right now, but no one will remember that it was hellish for you. They will just remember how special you made them feel. (At least that's what I tell myself as I go nuts doing these things...and try so hard not to snap at the kids about "all I am doing for them!"

The cake thing is serious business for you, but you can't stop that. It is tradition. I always bake my cakes, too, but if you remember that photo of me with the blood red gingerbread house from years past, perfection is not something I got down with the decorating part.

The sleep thing is so damn hard. How do you keep your cool with her? I am sure I would lose it at some point and freak out and say really inappropriate things knowing that she does not fully understand the guilt trip you laying on her and won't really remember any of my shortcomings before age 3. I remember and it makes me feel sick, but it is my little secret:) I don't think Murphy ever heard me say "i hate you" under my breath when he was particularly difficult and annoying!

Renee said...

I am totally convinced that kids feel off of Mom's seems that when I'm stressing about getting something ready for company, holidays, etc. that is when the kids are at their worst...not to mention that I'm a procrastinator which doesn't bode well w/ two kids under foot when you're trying to get something done! Reading your post was like reading my own life story....tis the season :) Obviously, no good advice from me but hopefully it helps to know that you are not alone! :)

Mrs Furious said...

Here's where I'm at with the cake... from now on I'll bake it and make the icing and let the sibling "decorate" it. Then the pressure is really off... but we still made it. Especially when we're only having a family party.

I wish Kid's b'day wan't also a holiday that requires so much effort... it is too much! But there's no changing that ;)

And I'm going to be more thoughtful in how I'm handling Christmas. Stay tuned for my strategy plan...

Thanks for all the support. I am happy to know I'm not the only one killing myself over this stuff.

Dana said...

Can I just say that I have no advice, but I've been there?

I work from home nearly full time (and have a part-time job outside the home) and find it impossible to work and keep the house clean AND rear a child. My husband tries to help, but seriously, I have 3 months of mail and magazines and newspapers piled up in a corner. It's awful.

Add an *energetic* (to put it nicely) 4-year-old to the mix and there are days I dream of running away with Donnie Wahlberg. Err...just running away. :)

Hang in there. We love you and we're here for you.

Mrs Furious said...

"I dream of running away with Donnie Wahlberg. Err...just running away. "


Lori said...

Well, if it's any consolation, I think your cake was GREAT! I'm sure kid really appreciates what you do. You can see it on her face!
I have a tiny bit of advice, as my kids are practially grown!
I am totatlly obsessive. To me presentation is everything. I put so much pressure on myself to do,get,run,& make everything perfect. I "now" barely remember the event. It took the fun out of the holiday.
Breathe, enjoy the moment. You can't get it back and they grow so fast. Remember that perfection is in the mind of the beholder! They think you Rock the world. They know no difference.
Great idea to let them help you decorate. Will take the pressure off!
Tell Mr. F. that you need to "SLEEP." Maybe he can take them on a little outing while you nap.?!

Wow, that sounds Bossy.
Not my intention ;)

Redneck Diva said...

Aw...sounds like you sing the Mother's Anthem quite well!

Around my house we experience something we call "Christmas Eve Tired" - that feeling we associate with being utterly exhausted after having traipsed to many a family gathering on Christmas Eve only to come home to tucking in three hyped up kiddos THEN put together/put batteries in/set out Christmas gifts. My husband and I both have dozed off while installing batteries at some point over the years. Just this evening as we were in the car headed from football game to bluegrass singing I laid my head on my husband's shoulder and said, "Honey, I'm Christmas Eve tired." He said, "Boy, don't I know..."

Here's my only suggestion, from one SAHM perfectionist to another: Find a sitter for Baby on party days. I had to do that when our youngest was little. She was SO much more into things than the other two ever were and I HAD to have her gone on days when my perfectionism was in overdrive. It helped my stress level immensely.

Hang in there!

Mrs Furious said...

Redneck Diva,
The sitter idea is GENIUS! Now if only I had a sitter...
I'm going to work on that before I get full swing into Christmas.

Not bossy. I know I need to lighten up on some of this stuff. I was making a video about the other night while I was still grumpy and stressed and decided it was too much of a downer to post... my point being that I shouldn't be so grumpy and stressed on such a joyful occasion!

Kiki said...

Big {{hugs}} for you, wish I could be there to hang with Baby while you get your stuff done, walk her around the block and entertain her while you get some sleep and help you in any way I could.

I know you have a plan, but I still wish I could help...move to Charleston and I'll drive down anytime!!! Take care friend!!!

Marie said...

Hmmm...I was going to suggest the "bake the cake and let the kids decorate it" idea. But at the same time, baby will be a little older next year, and by the next year will be big enough to allow you to decorate at will (ok, maybe wishful thinking...but soon she'll be as big as kid!). And the cake is beautiful. And I'm all about tradition and great childhood memories..(even if they cause mommy to drink a little ;-)

So in the end, if it was me, I would continue with the craziness... (yeah, not much help really..)

Teresa said...

I do the EXACT same thing and feel about the EXACT same way about it! :)

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