The headache. The mess. The constricting dread of having to face the direct results of your own decision to let everything go.
I am not referring to the morning after the company Christmas party. I’m talking about the muddled family time following the chaos we call “The Holidays.”
For me and my young kids, returning to a rhythm after the holidays is difficult. Last week was the first time we came close, and I’m hopeful this week will feel more “normal” (whatever that is, the memories are faint).
I attribute my kids’ erratic behavior to all kinds of things: too much processed sugar, lack of a set schedule, time with beloved extended family members who enjoy spoiling them, and yes, probably too much TV.
As easy as it is to diagnose the cause, you would think once you reverse those things, your kids’ behavior would improve. From my experience, however, the damage takes much longer to repair. It takes several days of patience, uninterrupted schedules and strict bedtimes.
Could it also be due to the downswing following all the excitement? The holiday decorations are stowed for another 11 months. The relatives have gone to reclaim their own homes and schedules. Although I am mindful of my resolutions to be more organized, to plan our weekly meals and to incorporate cleaning our home into my daily habit, I struggle with the follow through. The new toys have homes, but the pile of toys to donate remains untouched and therefore, to-do.
Certainly the weather and the short days play a part, as well. If your kids are little, we all know it takes longer to get everyone dressed to play outside than you spend outdoors. Throw a newly potty-trained kid in the mix, and you would much rather prefer to read books on the couch, too. Yet, I remind myself we all feel better after we’ve spent time outside, regardless of the weather.
What are your secret strategies to avoid a holiday hangover? Or perhaps to expedite the recovery? Please share them with this mama, as I recognize my ability to over-think and under-employ new tactics, but remain hopeful that 2013 will be a great year.
In any case, here’s to a return to normalcy: full of learning, bright smiles and efficient bedtime routines. And later, for the ability to imbibe just a touch, without experiencing a full-fledged hangover, holiday or otherwise.
Cheers, and happy new year!