My daughter spent much of the morning yesterday calling me Scrooge. And not just once. And not casually, or in passing, but in a loud and accusatory way that was harsh and antagonizing. But, I could hardly fight her on it because she was right.
We had dedicated our morning to cleaning house as we anticipated family in the late afternoon. As most moms agree, the only time the house really gets picked up is when company’s coming. It’s a big perk of entertaining! Knowing how happy I’d be once the house was clean, the cleaning wasn’t the issue. It was that amidst the tidying, I was reminded (again) that we don’t have any “place” for all the stuff we have and my mood began to take nose-dive. Our clutter issue is deserving of a post all by itself—truth be told, I’m working on a whole series about my personal battle with clutter so I won’t go into it—but I will say that “cleaning up” for Christmas in particular breeds all kinds of underlying anxiety for me. For as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t help but think about the day after Christmas and how I know we’ll be in worse shape when it comes to “stuff” than we were before Christmas; tis the season for more stuff coming into the house. And that makes me tense. And tense often means cranky, short-tempered, and yes, Scrooge-like.
Truth is, my holiday angst begins even before I even think about the day after Christmas. My stress starts in early December, at the first mention of Christmas. I feel the anxiety rise the minute the family asks to get the decorations out. Impending boxes and boxes of stuff coming down from the attic only to pile up around the stuff we already have out. And when the boxes get unpacked, it means a bounty of decorations in addition to all of our year-round home decor. Stuff on top of stuff. This begins the downward Scrooge spiral. I recognize this is all due to just a severe clutter problem but unfortunately with my inability to conquer it, it’s now become a whole house holiday hindrance.
So, what’s a mom with an inner-Scrooge to do? In my case, the easy answer would be to just deal with the clutter but it’s been a lifetime battle so I can’t kid myself into thinking I’ll be clutter free by Christmas. I used to try hard to hide my anxiety around the holidays but “stuffing it” usually only exacerbated it. My attempt at covering up the crabby never really worked. Just like “stuff”, once you’re full (with clutter or frustration depending on the situation) you inevitably overflow and sometimes even explode which, needless to say, is never good. Over the years I have slowly begun to admit my tendency toward Holiday tension. When the cranky comes, I let my family know (as if they need me to tell them). I ask for acceptance and understanding in exchange for my own attempt not to be volatile or short-tempered. I now fully admit that I’ve got a dark side to my holiday spirit but at least I know (and my family knows) where it comes from. I have also learned how to cope a little bit better during the season of “more stuff”. I make an attempt to clear out some space before the decorations come out (every little bit helps lighten my spirit), I do my best to put my blinders on to my clutter issues for December, I try to receive gifts and the generous spirit of others with a grateful heart, and I try to focus on the things that matter most; like Love and spending time with my family and I really try to remember how lucky I am to have enough “stuff” to make me crazy. There is a bright side to everything after all. Illuminating my dark side, helps to get me through a very stuff-ful and potentially stressful season. It’s my way of giving my inner-Scrooge a big holiday hug in hopes to call a yuletide truce for yet another year.
Does this resonate with anyone else? Have you got an inner-Scrooge that needs a little acknowledgement or dare I say some TLC?
For more about Tracey and how she elevates the everyday, visit her at traceyclark.com.
For the story about how she and her teen got here, take a peek at their first post at Reframed.
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