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Overachieving Moms are Ruining My Christmas


Last week I was interviewed on air by Christi Paul of Headline News.  We had a nice chat about why I just don't think every single day needs to be magical and over the top.  Headline News asked me to write an Op Ed piece, so I wrote "Overachieving Moms are Ruining My Christmas."

Photo: HLN

I don't know what it is about the Christmas holidays that bring out the over achieving moms.

As soon as “Silver Bells” starts playing on the radio that bar (made from a homemade candy cane recipe they found on Pinterest, I'm sure) starts rising and I am done trying to get over it. I'm quite happy languishing down here sipping my instant hot cocoa and eating my store bought cookies while buying presents online so I don't have to fight the crowds of holiday shoppers mainlining Christmas Blend coffee and jacked up on freaking holiday cheer.


29 comments:

  1. Oh my God, I love the description of the Elf OD-ing and Barbie watching. Totally something I would do :-) Too funny!

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  2. As always, such a laugh. Do you by chance have the link to the interview? I would love to see it!

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  3. Jen, I'm like you. I love Christmas and spending time with my kids but I'm not insane about things being perfect and magical. There are the OAM's and then there are just plain psychos. I was out to dinner the other night and got stuck in line by a psycho. She was staring at me directly with a huge smile so I finally smiled back and said Hi. That was obviously her cue to tell me her holiday rituals. She was giving the long drawn out story about how much she has baked..." I've already made 4.5 batches of sugar cookies and decorated them, 5.5 batches of peanut butter cookies but 3 kinds... kisses, blossoms aaannnndd peanut butter cups, 6.5 batches of chocolate chip" ( seriously every kind of cookie was so many and a HALF batches) the list was longer but you get the point. She then kept staring at me with her mouth opened wide and eyes bulging from her head. So I said ' wow, you have been busy" This was obviously a hint for her to tell me more. She has also baked 4 apple pies and has the crust baked and frozen for 6 more pumpkin pies. As this went on and on I finally said, " I don't really bake, if I had that many cookies in the house, I'd eat them every day and gain 20#'s by Christmas" Well obviously my mistake to say that because psycho then came out and was yelling at me " well I don't eat them , THEY ARE FOR CHRISTMMMAAASSS. I use them as gifts. I freeze them and NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO HAVE THEM UNTIL CHRISTMMAASS. And everyone loves Grandma's pumpkins pies and Grandma is dead and my mom can't do it anymore, so if i don't make the PUMPKIN PIES THEN NO ONE WOULD GET GRANDMA;S PIES AND EVERYONE WANTS GRANDMA'S PIES" So as much as OAM's annoy me, at least I am not afraid of them! Just thought I'd share! Merry Christmas!

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    1. I would have offered that lady a xanax laced "homemade" eggnog!

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  4. Great post. I got sucked into a cookie exchange this year, and let me tell you, baking 10 dozen cookies on Saturday was not my idea of a good time. I just wanted to go to the party! :-) Never again. The best thing our parents did though was NOT wrap gifts from Santa. I know this is a rarity, but since both of our parents did it, we are doing it for our kids. Makes Christmas Eve a LOT easier (especially since we spend the evening with family an hour away.)

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    1. I have never wrapped gifts from "santa" nor do we wrap special hand made gifts like my sons toy box, or my daughters doll house that their father made. If I can avoid it, I wont even use bows. They have yet to notice! Or only bows on the presents in the front because you all know we HAVE to take that famous "look at all the gifts around the tree" picture. Love ya Jen!

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  5. Ironic that the Elf on the Shelf popped up as an advertisement today. :)

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  6. I feel like it'd be a lot easier if moms just let moms live and let live. No need to brag about your homemade thus and such or your creative elf placement. Conversely, no need to feel guilty about putting in extra effort if it makes you happy. If you wanna be that over the top mama-cita, be her, but be humble about how "amazing" you think you are.

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  7. I was just talking about your blog to someone I accidentally met on Facebook about how nice it is to have someone who thinks like us. I had to laugh about your lights thing in the article because I'm the same way. Actually, I'm so lazy I just make my husband do them. Then when he calls me to give my approval, I'm all "Yeah, sure. Whatever."

    Oh, and those cookies look good in that pic. I sure hope some of the anal moms I know make some for me this year.

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  8. Thank you for reminding me that have to go the Doll Tree a last minute christmas party (that Ive known about since September) for my son's first grade class...

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  9. I decided this year to try to be more creative with our elf, Buddy, since my kids seem to enjoy finding him every morning. I have to admit, most of the mischief he gets into is variations of ideas I've gotten on the internet. I've had to come up with more answers to impossible to answer questions this year..."Mom, how old is Buddy? Do you think he got drunk from that beer?", when they found him in the recliner holding an empty Winter Lager, to "Look! Why are Buddy's hands TAPED to the ceiling fan?", when I stupidly turned off the fan and didn't notice the tape was visible. The lies were snowballing, and I couldn't keep it all straight. My new response is, "How the heck would I know? I'm not an elf."

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  10. I no longer do the cookie exchange....not since I got kicked out of the mommy group for being sarcastic....(really) I now have a cocktail exchange....my friends and I thoroughly enjoy it.... less clean up...and better conversations. :)

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    1. Your party sounds like way more fun anyways!!

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  11. This is my first christmas with a small human and OMG SO MUCH PRESSURE! and she doesn't even know what's going on yet!

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  12. Can I ask, who the hell are the people you know that put so much pressure to do things perfectly, or "overachieve" as you say? Or is it all made up for the sake of a laugh (which would make me feel better)? I'm genuinely curious. I am totally one of "those" moms/women that decks every corner of my home and does something creative with the elf every day. But I love doing that stuff, and it isn't stressful for me; it is my stress RELIEF! And! I have a friend that decided she just didn't want to decorate this year (for various reasons), and I told her good for you. F it, don't do it. Why? Because I wanted to support her decision not to, not make her feel like shit because she didn't! Good grief. If these people in your life are real, they deserve not only a throat punch but also a high five. To the face. With a chair.

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  13. Jen, you said "hire live reindeer to stand on their roof and poop “magical” droppings." Best. quote. this season!! I too often wonder what the world will be like for the little ones once there are blessed with, well, little ones. I kinda hope now that they do have to hire reindeer!! My seven year old wants a cell phone..and refuses to answer the house phone thanks to caller ID because "I don't know that number" Really?? kid you know two numbers those are mine and your dad's~~Answer the phone! I do not even know that she knows the proper way to answer a phone!?!?! Parenting sucks!! Cookies, however, do not.

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  14. I'll admit, I have a different paper for each child. I will also admit that I wrap the gifts so that the paper faces the same direction when the gifts are stacked. It started when I had 3 nonreaders and I liked the way the photos look so it just kind of stuck.

    I wrap for four kids and I have never once wondered which paper was for which kid. When you are trying to get everything under the tree, Santa gifts out (one per child - unwrapped) and stockings filled without getting caught, it is faster not to have to read the tags. But then I stack their stuff in different piles with the Santa gift in front, I don't just stack everything under the tree to be sorted later. Then on Christmas morning they sit by their stack, I make my self comfortable on the sofa with my camera and each of them take turns opening one gift at a time because I put too much time into buying and wrapping it all for it to be over in 15 minutes.

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  15. I was an overachieving Christmas mom last year. This year I don't have it in me. I overdid it last year and I want nothing to do with that crap now.

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  16. HA I saw the ELF ad on the side bar too. Thinking you had to balance score. ps I hate that thing and I get in all kinds of crap because I say it OUT LOUD :)

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  17. I usually have time to have a half-way decent Christmas at my house, but this year, with wedding planning, putting my house on the market and adopting a baby, I'm having the "eh, good enough" Christmas. I just wrapped about 20 gifts - by stuffing them into gift bags. Eh, good enough. A couple of my Xmas light strands didn't work this year; initially planned to get some more - but that would mean more shopping and time to actually hang the little buggers, so eh, good enough. I really enjoy cooking. With family coming in from out of town I usually bake up everyone's favorites, starting by baking and freezing in the weeks leading up to Xmas. This year - they're lucky I'm making a few kinds of cookies. Eh, good enough.

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  18. Glad my kids are all grown up....craziness!

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  19. Yes, this. :)
    The 'same paper for each kid' thing is crazy and the lady that said it all faces the same way....::cringe:: Wowzers, good for her though, for having that kind of time, and for taking her punch. That is WAAAAAAYYYY too over the top for me! :)
    Devan

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  20. I heart you! I heart you! I heart you!!! :)

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  21. Ya know, this goes right along with "Christmas has become too commercialized." This year I am going for a stress-free Christmas. I don't have my decorations up yet, nor my cards mailed, and I won't be putting any lights up outside. I feel GREEEAAAT! If it gets done, it will get done. If it doesn't... oh, well! Life is good. I'm drinking my cocoa while on the computer...

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  22. As long as you're having fun, be it with getting OCD about your wrapping paper or crazy with your elf or doing all your shopping online with your Swiss Miss, to each his own. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing! OAMs aren't always OAMS, We all pick and choose what we put more effort into. Whether you choose writing a blogg or making some traditional family cookies, it should be about what you enjoy and not some kind of crazy competition that you impose on yourself.

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  23. Preach it, Sister! I am so done with overachieving. I don't even go out shopping after Thanksgiving. (That's why I'm one of those freaks who likes the Christmas music to start early.) Sometimes I put lights in the windows, but rarely outside. My wreath is a pitiful thing I threw together one year before I had kids. Trying to make every moment magical is too much work. It takes away my Christmas spirit. I want my focus on the reason for the season. Doing both is quite beyond my capacity. Kudos to those moms who can do it-but I only know a few. Me, focus on making the moments magical in other ways-like reading or cuddling with my kids. That's way easier than cleaning up all the flour on the counter from the Elf's antics. And my sons remember time spent together way more than what we did with that time.

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  24. Please tell me you've seen the "elf on a shelf gone bad" facebook page? Seems like he's right up your alley! Love the blog!

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  25. I read through the article and there was a OAM talking how how you won't have the ~preeeecious meeeeemories~ of doing all these OAM super happy perfect sparkly yay yay stuff. I beg to differ.

    You don't need to do elves messing up a house or perfectly iced snowflake cookies to have good memories of Christmas. It's about spending time with the family, talking and enjoying each other's company. Some memories are made not through material or forced gestures but rather those little moments that are so special.

    Have a great Christmas!

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