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Afternoon FAIL

By Heather Oman

It started out as a reasonably good day. Dh and I got some technical details hammered out with our new scanner, which plays a major role in the christmas gifts I’m frantically trying to finish before the magic free shipping disappears from Shutterfly. I pulled up my laptop, and went to town.

But then there’s the small child to take care of, and 3 broken DVD players (seriously, how can I have THREE broken DVD players in my house? It says so much about me, but exactly what it says I can’t think about because I’m too busy worrying about what it says about me that I’m still working on Christmas gifts that have to be shipped across the country a mere 10 days before Christmas).

So I set my shoulders, gritted my teeth, ignored my child and all the noises she was making, taking a mental note that I’d clean up any disasters later.

Then my computer froze, my work was lost, my son came home from school, needing food and transportation to an activity. There is no dinner, no snack, and he has to walk to his activity in the freezing cold because I have finally pulled out our portable DVD player and my 3 year old was watching Snow White with only her shirt on and we didn’t have time to wrestle her into her clothing before above-mentioned son had to be where he needed to be.

So, to sum up, I worked for 2 hours on a project that is lost, I’m late with this blog post, DH had to pick up dinner (I voted for Burger King, he’s making home-made soup—guess who was in a better mood during the dinner discussion), there are envelopes strewn about the hall from my daughter opening up every christmas card that came in the mail today, and there is a volcano of Fruit Drink Mix from the cannery spilled ALL OVER the kitchen because the above mentioned daughter was having fun with food storage while her mother was actively ignoring her in favor of making a digital photo project for her grandmother. Also, she is still half naked, and I have to go pick up above mentioned son because it’s too dark for him to walk back, and hopefully we’ll all get dinner before I have to head out to a Christmas book group where oh yeah I haven’t read the book.

So I apologize for not having something profound and moving to say. But if anybody else’s Christmas season is making them feel a little frazzled, just know that I HEAR YA, SISTER! and that sometimes, I wish I could curl up on the couch with a DVD half naked, too.

Okay, maybe just curled up in a fleecy blanket with hot chocolate topped with a scoop of ice-cream would suffice. I don’t need everything, you know.

How are YOU managing the stress of the season?

About Heather Oman

(Prose Board) lives in the south with her husband, her two kids, and her wiggly black lab. She is a licensed speech language pathologist, but spends most of her days trying to teach her own kids how to say please and thank you. She is a member of the Segullah Editorial Board, and is the founding member of the blog Mormon Mommy Wars.

23 thoughts on “Afternoon FAIL”

  1. I hear ya.
    I slipped on ice and broke my wrist this morning… which is not going to make things easier with my 6-month old.

    Counting my blessings (at the moment) that my husband is unemployed…

  2. Earlier today I saw a quiz on the Mormon.org facebook page about how we manage holiday stress. There were three options, and I picked the most stressed. Then I looked at the results, and I was among only 9% of respondents who felt that way. My first instinct was that the others were lying– isn't everyone stressed out at least until this week is over? Once my kids get out of school and the heavy prep is done I may feel differently, but right now I'm buried under a mountain of "to do" and I'd love to run away to Hawaii.

  3. I saw on Facebook today that a local friend was bored. Really…she used that word. I am quite overwhelmed with lots to do between now and the 26th (yes, the day after). They are all good things, in the right spirit of the season. Today my coping technique was taking a nap while my Littles were sleeping. Even though my list didn't whittle down during those two hours, I feel better equipped to deal with it now!

  4. I don't know. I do not feel stressed. I think I just have lower expectations. Mailing gifts? No way. I give gifts to people that I see. Making treats to deliver to neighbors and friends? Not likely. Caroling? Probably because I love to sing and so do my kids. Am I a slacker when it comes to celebrating Christmas? Not in my book:)

  5. Um, this sounds like nearly every day of my life. No wonder I have health problems. (I am hoping to get gifts ready to mail at the post office tomorrow . . . or Friday . . . )

  6. Sorry you had such a rough afternoon.
    I should be stressed, I know I should. I've just gone through my shopping list and realized I have a lot more to do. But I keep denying my stress and procastinating. And I read a book this afternoon. I am so good at denial!

  7. I'm with Tiffany. I'm in denial. If I don't think about it maybe it will all go away.
    Still have neighbor gifts to think of,
    Visiting Teaching gifts, visiting teaching to do, all my kids gifts to wrap, and no ideas for my parents gifts.
    Every year I tell myself I'm going to do it differently next year so I can enjoy Christmas.

  8. I tell myself I'll do it differently. I think I had it all done my Dec 1st, once. But I was addressing Christmas cards at Thanksgiving. When I am eating turkey and addressing Christmas cards, I know I'm on top of it. This year I knew I was sunk when by Thanksgiving, I didn't even have a picture for the card. sigh…

  9. Every year I promise myself I'll do better next year and it never really happens. My problem is I had two babies in December (what was I thinking)! And then one of those December babies married a girl with a birthday in December! By the time we get through the birthdays there isn't a lot of time left and I find myself struggling to feel the spirit of the season instead of the stress!!

  10. I have been feeling a lot of stress. In a 13 day period we had six concerts, two basketball games, a RS party (same night as a work party–we skipped it), YW in Exellence (same night as YM and cubs that we skipped), a ward party, pack meeting, an all day youth temple trip (which was cancelled b/c of bad roads), two Sundays packed with before and after church meetings and an evening Baptism Preview. I've not had time to wrap presents (thank goodness they are mostly purchased.) I've thrown fits b/c I feel absolutely no control–there isn't a whole lot I can skip. I feel almost totally at the mercy of whoever is in charge of the ward calendar–the b-ball and concerts were our own choice. At the RS party last night (which in hindsight I really should have skipped) she had us close our eyes and forget all the "to-do's" and focus on what we SHOULD be focussing on (her emphasis). I'll be honest that what I mostly felt at that moment was rage. Sheer rage–at the implied guilt trip that b/c we haven't managed to slow down and yet run twice as fast as usual we are failing this season. Today I'm feeling much better. I have concluded to just take it one day at a time, counsel with the Lord about what I should do that day, not run faster than I have strength and if I don't get to some things, oh well. (I'm just grateful that the next 10 days do not have any "extras" so I can spend some time wrapping gifts.)

  11. Oh Heather – I love this post. I had a day like yours yesterday. My kids went "swimming" on the kitchen table, one twin cut her hair, the girls lathered the boys in Aveeno, and my romaine lettuce (needed for the high priest group dinner) froze in the refrigerator and I was left scrambling at the last minute for items I didn't have but was NOT about to haul five toddlers into the grocery store for! And just so I could stop stewing about the whole thing, I blogged it all out last night. And I felt better.


    Did you? After posting this? It's just nice to now we're all victims of the frenzy at some point or another. I'm adopting a new motto. "Chip away (rather than kill myself finishing a project in a single day) and go to bed on time!" But not until after the holidays.

  12. How am I managing the stress of the season? Simple answer: I'm not.

    Some years are better than others. This is shaping up to be one of those "other" years.

  13. I told my extended family flat out that I was not cooking Christmas lunch, or dinner, and was planning a day at home with my boyos.

    As a result, the stress that I now DON'T have is amazing. And I'm actually really looking forward to a quiet day, eating cold Christmas ham, lychees, mangoes and pavlova.

    Oh, and I didn't even buy Christmas cards this year – skipped the guilt and the stress! Hope you get your hot chocolate at some point =)

  14. I love lists and I do truly have the need to feel in control. Each year I try to find a new way to simplify Christmas a little bit more. This year I decided to buy everyone that was not family the same present, so school teachers, church teachers, visiting teachers, friends etc are all receiving the same thing. It was a lot less to think about. A few years ago we moved house 10 days before Christmas and that year I did not get around to doing Christmas cards except those that were posted along with our new address to people we don't see often. I have kept this up and only send cards to distant friends and relatives, it saves me hours of writing and I really don't think our friends nearby miss them. Baking for neighbour gifts is not an English thing but I did do it last year, it was one step too close to insanity for me so won't be happening again.

    Apart from lists and simplyfying things lots of chocolate, naps, and talking through life with friends helps. My big worry this year is that my mil is coming to stay and I am way down her favourite person list.

  15. Thank you for the laugh and connection!! How am I handling the stress? By reading Segullah posts and comments instead of ordering a gift for my daughter, since the other one I ordered ON TIME, won't get here ON TIME!!

    I love Christmas. Really I do. Really.

    Oh, and I also need to buy envelopes for the Christmas cards and finish the address labels and do my Visiting Teaching, and…..

    I think I'll stop there and go back to reading blog posts.

  16. Yesterday I threw a tantrum in my driveway after the snowplow came and threw large chunks of snow in my way after I had spent an hour shoveling enough snow to get my car out to take my kid to school. It was a little theraputic to kick the stupid snow and yell at it and tell it off, but only a little. The day pretty much went downhill from there, being capped off with discovering my brother ate the last piece of Lemon Meringue Pie.

    This year we haven't done much for Christmas due to bad attitudes and not caring much, but it's all good. And I'm so blowing off the ward party, again…

  17. This post made me laugh because I also lost two hours of work on a digital photo book this week when 18-mo old turned off the computer. I'm making a book for my HS Sr. of all his childhood photos (it was originally for his 16th b-day…how's that for procrastination). And, I also went to my Christmas book group without having read the book, which is rare for me!

    My facebook status at the beginning of the week was something like: My mantra for the week is I am Superwoman and Santa and I can do this, at least I hope so.

    I still have two parties to give on Saturday, one for the Activity Days girls I teach and the other a game night at my house for a few families…today is all about gifts (digital scrapbook page) for the girls and cleaning my house!

    Plus we won't have any income until April because my husband is starting a new business, so when we tell our five kids it's going to be a small Christmas this year we mean it.

    But, despite having to go to my daughter's orchestra concert before book group last night, hearing Christmas carols on the radio brought me to tears as I reflected on my gratitude for the Savior (I was listening to Delilah! and she had just shared Guatamalan Christmas traditions).

    So, my stress levels calmed down from what I saw ahead of me this week. Thanks for your post (which I missed reading earlier).

  18. I forgot to mention last week's staggered stomach flu that knocked us all down (except my Sr. who stayed away and came home covering his mouth).

    And that I also have to bring homemade bread and cider to share with the RS sisters Sunday morning since I'm the second cnslr and both pres and 1st cnslr won't be there! But, I am Superwoman and Santa and I can do this!!! (I hope so!)

  19. And now that I've read all the other comments I remember I am still working on my Christmas letter, have to print the photo, visit teach and maybe do teacher gifts (I'm bad at that) and a few neighbor gifts…and still buy a few more gifts for my family and wrap all of them and pick up a woman and her two kids I visit teach who has no car and make gingerbread cookies back at my house…I can do this….and I have had insomnia too.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  20. I work full-time as a high school counselor in an at-risk school, so I've just been looking forward to the beginning of Christmas break. And my birthday tomorrow!! It will be a pleasure to be home and bake a little and be with the family and sing and eat and write letters. Or not! Stress is so not fun – I wish you all the best! Merry Christmas and God Bless!!


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