The holidays drive everyone nuts. You've got those special relatives and/or friends that spout off their laundry list of gifts they expect you to buy, the lines are long, people are cranky, you can never find a parking space, and then there's cleaning the entire house and making the seven course meal that will be devoured and forgotten about in five minutes. I must admit that I tend to get loopy and start to sing strange versions of Christmas songs to keep my sanity-- hence the title of this blog entry. I'm also guilty of making oddly shaped Christmas cookies that aren't "G" rated, and a glass of wine also has never hurt me during this season.
On top of all of this holiday cheer, you've also got to make sure the kids get to soccer, basketball, hockey, dance, karate, and/or whatever else they are into, figure out and do the school science project, make erupting volcanoes for the minor science project, research family trees that need Ancestry.com to complete because you discover that your grandfather really was the black sheep of the family, try to decipher math because it was never your strong suit, and pray to GOD that the only Spanish you know to help your daughter through her non-book class that was learned from Dora the Explorer will be enough for her to pass the sixth grade.
Then there's the lovely neighbors who seem to have all the time in the world to criticise you and your leaf-filled lawn that hasn't been mowed since the weather turned to a cool 80 degrees, the walls in your grandmother's house (that you are living in) haven't seen a coat of paint in 50 years, and it shows, the carpets need to be pulled up because they are old, and the bathroom shower needs to be renovated with new tile because the white subway tiles have now turned black in certain spots.
Now I know that I can't solve the theory of relativity, heck, I don't even think I could understand it-- math's not the strong suit. But what I can tell you is that you may have to dust off one word in your vocabulary that's known in every language. No needs to be used, and often with Fibromites, especially during this time of year.
No may not be a great word for teachers and principals to hear, but from my experience, it should be said even to them. My child is just starting middle school so I only have my past to compare, but I have already seen a lot of waste with time and resources. And if this is any indication as to what my child is in store for her for the rest of her middle school days, I can truly say that I'm disappointed.
I don't want this entry to wind up being a sound board for how I see where our nation is slipping in education-- that's not my intent-- but I must make my case because I think this is important. Many of us parents go along with what the teacher wants because we want our children to have a good grade. We'll go on Ancestry.com if they need birth and death dates if we have to. But, if we as parents are doing all of this for our children who aren't old enough to do this themselves, something winds up getting lost in all of this, and that's the child being able to learn how to do the project on their own. I'm sorry teachers, but once the parents step in it's no longer the child's project, it's the parents' and that's not learning.
This issue isn't right on so many levels for the child because it hinders their learning process on how to research things on their own. There are other things that it hinders, but I'm only dedicating a short blurb to this since my blog is on Fibromyalgia.
A child who is not 13 can not be expected to generate an account on a social networking site to look up family information. It's stupid and illegal to think otherwise. It also isn't right to ask parents who may work, or tend to sickly family members, or are ill themselves to pick up the slack in the project. I'm sorry if this sounds rude but we as parents have already graduated and when we were in sixth grade (at least for me and my husband) we did our own work thank you very much. And that work was appropriate for our age group-- sorry teachers! Now, I must say I am a Religious Education teacher and I can appreciate teachers' hard work, but this busy work has got to stop!
If you are ill with Fibromyalgia, or anything else for that matter, and these types of projects are taxing, it is best to talk to the teachers and the principal respectively. Sometimes they don't actually see what they are asking for is over the top until a parent complains. And if they don't understand why this is an issue, take it up with the school board. Education is important for the children NOT the parents who have already been schooled. Period.
No works for the neighbors too. Some of them just don't realize that you just don't have the time or money to do the things you know you have to (or even like) do. If they are nice neighbors they will be happy to help pitch in. If they aren't, well, a wise writer once said, "Fences make good neighbors."
Relatives can be a touchy subject when it comes to no. Some of them are sensitive while others can be psychotic. It's tough to deal with them, I know, I have a few black sheep grazing the family tables myself. I tend to either bide my time with some of the stranger ducks because I know they'll only be around for a day and then they're gone until the next major function, or I'll plan my event around their drama.
I was never a dramatic person. I'm an action, scifi, paranormal, or horror movie kind of gal. Overly dramatic people turn me off. But since I'm a writer, I can find some nice ways around the outcomes of dramatic meltdowns.
If you know the scenes from past experiences and have memorized the outcomes, try to make those work to your advantage. If Aunt Sally is always an hour late to dinner, then make sure you tell her that dinner is an hour earlier than you plan. She'll be on time, the food will be warm, and you won't feel like a heel for having the rest of the guests wait. If your mother in-law likes to plan the holidays at the last minute at your house, always make sure you are ready. I start a month in advance around here by getting all my "good" glasses washed, I vacuum the drapes, carpet, and other textiles, and then try and keep up with the daily "drops" of clothing, food, and paperwork. I also cook and freeze all my desserts and sides ahead of time so I'm not scrambling at the last minute.
The last thing I do is plan out my shopping excursions carefully. Every retail facility-- be they food or clothing is packed from the day after Thanksgiving to New Years and it's frustrating to anyone with time limits. I've said this before but it's worth repeating, Tuesday is the slowest day in retail, and therefore the best day to shop.
Many stores, including your food stores, will have caught up on empty shelves by Tuesday. Shipments also typically come in on Tuesdays due to the fact that it common knowledge in the retail industry that Tuesdays are slow. They all know it's a good recoup day. Try to shop on that day if you can. If you can't, Wed, Mon, Thurs, and then Fri, respectively, are your best bets. Also try to shop early in the morning or about an hour or two after the typical dinner time. These should be the best times to avoid a rush.
I know I have a problem shopping in a busy store. I tend to get confused very easily due to my personality AND Fibro Fog. I don't like to be in anyone's way personality wise. I just don't want to be a cause of frustration for the busy people. But because I am this way, I tend to avoid busy isles and I won't wait to grab the things I need because I forget to. I'm too busy trying to make everyone else's shopping experience nice. It then becomes too hard to remember what I need. At that point my Fibro Fog will kick in and then I'm completely confused and it becomes difficult to even read a label. This is why I avoid a busy store all together.
Avoid your migraines this holiday season so you can have as stress-free as possible holiday. You deserve that in your life! EVERYONE does!
Love and friendship,