School started back up yesterday after my family and I enjoyed eleven glorious days off. We slept in and lived in thermal pajamas. I cooked Christmas dinner then shut the kitchen down because we had so many snack foods that were delivered from friends and neighbors. Also, I made exactly 30 pounds of Chex Mix, which totally counts as a meal.
As I was driving my youngest to school, the car slid on a patch of ice and we almost hit a snowbank. We recovered nicely and then he said,” Mom, I wish you had hit that snowbank so I wouldn’t have to go to school and I could stay home with you today.” That’s how bad the post-holiday struggle is — hitting a snowbank sounded better than the daily grind.
We’ve all felt like my son at one point or another after the holiday season. We’ve wished something would put the brakes on life so we could enjoy one more carefree day of letting it all hang out and do whatever the hell we wanted. Honestly, I kind of wish I’d slid into that fucker, too. I wasn’t ready for re-entry.
The post-holiday struggle is real, my friends. In fact, mine rivals any hangover I had in college — even the one I had after I’d started drinking strawberry daiquiris at 10 am and kicked back so many of those suckers I had a pink mustache for about a week.
Why does this happen? Why do good tidings and joy have to be followed by feeling like you put your insides through a blender and someone slammed your head in the car door?
I’ll tell ya why:
1. We are tired.
I’m not just talking about being physically tired (but so much that), we are mentally tired. Our kiddos have been bouncing off the walls for the past month with high fructose corn syrup dancing through their veins. We’ve spent too much time with family. We’ve wrapped our asses off and had a few fights with tape dispensers. We baked like Betty Crocker and decorated like Martha Stewart. We’ve consumed enough sugar and salt to preserve a beluga whale until the end of time. We’ve used every ounce of our precious energy to ensure those around us enjoyed our grand offerings, and we are tapped out.
2. We are broke.
We’ve all taken a spin through “I got caught up in the moment” town while strolling through our kids’ favorite store. We’ve all glanced at our carts knowing full well we’ve gone over our holiday budget but figured a few more things would make this year extra magical. And how many times have you seen something one of your kids just had to have, even though your shopping was done and you grabbed it anyway, then had to “even it out” by buying your other kids something to make it fair? Before you know it, you’ve just spent hundreds of unplanned dollars but you don’t give a shit because you can worry about it later. Well, now it’s fucking later.
3. We are coming down from a high.
The holidays are a time to do all the things, eat all the food, drink all the drinks, watch all the movies and stay up late every damn night. When the kids ask if they can stay up late and watch The Polar Express, and throw back some eggnog, of course, you say yes. It is fun! You want to live in the moment. The holidays only come once a year, so let’s live it up and make lots of bad decisions that we minimize in the moment because we love our children so damn much.
4. Our pants don’t fit.
Neither does anything else. It doesn’t take that many gingerbread men, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, or candy canes to put a little extra love on our handles. But buying new pants isn’t an option right now (see #2).
5. We have to de-Christmas.
This is just depressing. I don’t care if you’re ready to take down all the glitz and snowflakes or not, stripping your home of nostalgic ornaments and taking down Christmas lights is a special kind of nightmare. I hate you brittle, dry tree and decorations that don’t know how to keep their glitter to themselves.
6. There are bathing suits on display in Target.
And they are right next to the Valentine’s Day candy, for fuck’s sake. First, give me a damn minute to digest the fact I still have leftover stuffing in my fridge before I think about the next holiday. But more importantly, I’ve never met anyone who said, “I’m going to go try on a bathing suit today,” two days after they’ve eaten enough meat and pie to feed a small army. Who the hell thinks displaying bikinis that can only fit my daughter’s Barbie at the entrance of Target is a good idea?
7. We have to get into an actual routine again.
The thought of getting back into a routine might seem like a good idea after you have lived in your PJs for a week while chowing on chocolate Santas for 5 nights in a row. You might even look forward to getting dressed in actual clothes and styling your hair. But trying to get kids on board is the opposite of fun. They will fight the routine with every ounce of energy they have. And they know they have way more fight in them than you do.
8. Our homes are dirty and cluttered.
Since the last few weeks have been filled with spreading cheer and shit, that doesn’t leave much time for cleaning. The pantry and fridge are overflowing with junk and mysterious things. The toy box can’t even be seen under the mountain of new toys, and the bathrooms need a good cleaning since they’ve gotten such a huge workout with all the fruitcake, yule logs, and dips everyone has consumed. I can already tell the garbage man is going to give me the finger during the next pick up because a rage-clean is brewing and I’m about to throw a shit-ton of stuff away.
So, let’s make a new rule and give ourselves a month to recover from the post-holiday struggle. After all, it makes sense– we’ve been partying our butts off for the whole month of December. Let’s ease into January and declare it as a recovery month. Lord knows we all need it.
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