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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hmmmm... humbug?

I do love Christmas and all it's glory... Food, festivities, presents, the good feelings, etc.  (I am spritual, but not a church-goer.) But I spent some time this season paying a bit more attention to some things...

A couple days ago I posted about simplifying the holidays.  I have some observances to go along with that... I grew up with a single mom. Dad came over a couple times for dinner over the years.  She and my grandma did all the cooking, etc for the holidays.  Grandpa came down for dinner.  Then, mom and grandma cleaned up.  My sisters and I took over cleaning up when when we were old enough.  My mom remarried a couple of times and each time we totally made sure the "man of the house" was not expected to help.  This, for some reason, has carried over to current day.  Even though we are all with spouses who are perfectly capable of helping in the kitchen, they don't.  Christmas eve, I prepared my share of dinner, we packed it down to my mom's, the women set out dinner, we cleaned up from dinner and my sister and I did the dishes.  Then, I came home, cleaned up the kitchen from said dinner prep, finished wrapping presents and stuffed the stockings (Lyndsey helped).  Today, same scenario, except hubby did take out the trash.  Where was my hubby during the rest of it?  Taking a nap, browsing facebook, changing channels on the TV.  The couple times I asked for help (hey, please grab the marshmellows and brown sugar out of the cupboard since you are standing right there) the look I received was almost pure horror.  He did it, but I knew he was suffering. 

So, nothing was really relaxing about Christmas.  I wanted to sit down and relax, but I didn't... I won't say I couldn't, but I've conditioned myself and my family that I will do it.  

So, here comes a new year.  For some reason, I always get the feeling that I can start fresh with some goals (the word resolution is too forbidding) for myself.  One of these is to let my family slowly be retrained to either help more or expect less.  Change is okay.  I am going to start slow.  If I cook dinner, when it is done, I will put my plate in the dishwasher (I clean up as I cook also) and then I will leave the kitchen area. The next night, if the kitchen isn't clean from the night before, I don't think much will be done for dinner... and so forth and so on.  I think if I start now, by next year, maybe the husband will realize that shared things are good.  I am gonna talk to my mom and sister and tell them we need to discuss what needs to change about next years holidays...  I will probably fill Lyndsey in on this plan, since she does a lot in the kitchen also. 

I did have a great Christmas, but it felt so busy that I couldn't enjoy it.  I'm not a grinch, but I'm more excited for the weekend than I was for Christmas...


  1. Perhaps.... And this is me speaking from experience here ... The oerson who needs I lern to expect less is you yourself. In my family, my mom runs herself ragged every holiday (we all help with cleanup, but the parties she plans are so elaborate that its just a huge amount if work). She gets so exaughsted she doesn't enjoy the party, which means we all sit there feeling guilty while her rack if lamb or whatever turns to ash in our mouths. Every year we beg her to let Somone else host, or just to trim the guest list down from thirty to just family. But she can't. I am the same, on a much smaller scale. I feel there are so many parts of the holidays that are mandatory and no one else cares enough to them or to appreciate them when I so them. But deep down I'm sure the truth is that - greedy children aside - everyone would breathe a sigh of relief if I did less housework and cooking and spent more time enjoying the party it watching Christmas
    Movies with them. I am the one who won't let go. I am the one who needs ti expect less.

  2. Ps please excuse typos - iPhone.

  3. I think you should tell hubby what you would like first. Otherwise, he may never catch on. Be sure to praise any little thing he does even though he should have been doing it all along. It is pathetic to have to do things like that but apparently that's how the male brain works. All women out there, made your boys do the dishes and clean the bathroom. It won't kill them. Have the girls mow the lawn and change the oil in the car. I bet the girls won't howl nearly as much as the boys. I wish you good luck and patience because you're going to need it.

  4. You need to tell him ... Happy Wife, Happy Life. Had dinner with one of my daughters twice this week, SIL smoked a turkey on Sunday, then BBQ's tri tips yesterday. Daughter did salad, rice and rolls, very relaxed and pleasant get together, She lucked out and got a good one that helps around the house. Makes for a more pleasant time for all.

    Maybe scale back, potluck with other family members, find a way you can relax and have a good holiday too.

  5. In your case, I think I'd ask once when you need something. ONCE. And then, like you planned, do YOUR stuff. If he/she/whoever can't be bothered to get the marshmallows, then don't make whatever you were going to make with the marshmallows.

    Also, I know this may sound mean, but you should read "Have New Kid by Friday". And then apply the advice to your husband (or anyone else). I found it very informative and although it was geared towards kids/adolescents, it would work for anyone of any age.

    Now that I've said that, I do have to admit that I usually leave my husband to relax before/during/after dinners, holiday or not. Not that he wouldn't help when asked (although probably with a bit of eye-rolling). But I really do consider the housework / meal preparing my job. He works away from home and I'm lucky enough to be a stay at home mom, so I figure those things are MY "job". Now if we BOTH worked away from home, it would be a TOTALLY different story and I would expect him to help with the domestic chores.

  6. I agree with the others; you do need to communicate about the new expectations. But that won't necessarily help. I asked Rick to do a couple things on Christmas, AFTER letting him sleep in while I got up and did all the barn chores, then came up and finished preparing a special Christmas breakfast (with my MIL's help). And he got downright nasty about my interfering with his TV time! Maybe I could have handled it better, but doggonit, where is it written that women should do all the work and men should get to stay on their backsides for special occasions?